Buffalo Bill Signed Letter Collage

Presented is a unique autographed collage celebrating William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. The collage features an original typed letter signed by Cody and dated to April 21, 1897.

In the letter, Cody is writing to Gen. Wm. H. Graham at Fort Hamilton inviting him to the Wild West Show on April 26th at Madison Square Garden. Cody says," I would be greatly honored if you would accept the use of a box on that occasion." The letter was typed on illustrated letterhead for "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World" and is signed “W. F. Cody” in black ink at the bottom. The letter is framed with the matching transmittal envelope, picturing Cody and Salsbury in the logo. Nate Salsbury was Cody’s Vice President and Manager.

William F. Cody (1846-1917), nicknamed Buffalo Bill, was a well-known scout for the Army and a buffalo hunter for the railroads, which earned him his nickname. Cody had gained national prominence thanks to a novel written by Edward Zane Carroll Judson. Writing under the pen name Ned Buntline, Judson made Cody the hero of his fanciful dime novel The Scouts of the Plains; or, Red Deviltry As It Is. In 1872, Judson also convinced Cody to travel to Chicago to star in a stage version of the book. Cody broke with Judson after only a year, but he enjoyed the life of a performer and decided to make a living on the stage.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was a circus-like pageant celebrating life in the West. Audiences loved Cody’s reenactments of frontier events, including spectacles such as a staged Deadwood attack, a Pony Express relay race, and the spectacle of Custer’s Last Stand at the Little Big Horn. Even more popular were the displays of western outdoor skills like rope tricks, bulldogging, and amazing feats of marksmanship. The show ran for over thirty years, from 1883 to 1915.


This signature is in very good condition. The letter measures 8.5" x 7.25." Dated “Brooklyn, N.Y. Apr 21, 1897” at top. Typed on illustrated letterhead. The signature by Cody is crisp and clean, in black ink. No fading to letterhead design, slight fading to typed letter contents, as expected with age. Letter’s paper is healthy with no tears.

Matching transmittal envelope picturing Cody and Salsbury in the logo is in very good condition. Envelope is slit carefully across the top only. Stamped with a 2 cent red stamp with George Washington’s profile. Handwritten notes denote when letter was received and replied to along the right edge of envelope.

Both the signature and envelope have been archivally mounted and framed in a custom-built wooden frame. Framed dimensions are 43”H x 20 1/2” W x 1 1/2”D.

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