Centennial Symposium


In both popular and scholarly consciousness, the life and times of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody have come to represent a key phase of the American past. From his early life through his various professional phases including the decades of the Wild West tours, the Buffalo Bill phenomenon reflects fundamental currents in American culture during the period from 1850 to 1920. Buffalo Bill’s narrative focuses scholarship on the American West on the relationship between material history and its popular mythologies. The 2017 centenary of William F. Cody’s death provides the occasion for scholars, both established and new, to reexamine his legacy and consider new directions in scholarship. The Buffalo Bill Centennial Symposium will be held August 2-4, 2017 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. For more information, please email Jeremy Johnston, The Hal and Naoma Tate Endowed Chair; Curator of Western History, and Ernest J. Goppert Curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum; and Managing Editor of The Papers of William F. Cody.

Buffalo Bill Centennial Symposium Registration

Full registration (including meals):
All three days: Members $180 | Non-members $200 |

One-day registration (including meals):
Wednesday, August 2 only: Members $40 | Non-members $50
Thursday, August 3 only: Members $70 | Non-members $75
Friday, August 4 only: Members $70 | Non-members $75


Buffalo Bill Centennial Symposium Program (Registration required)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

8:00 AM-11:00 PM Symposium Registration

9:00 AM Welcome and Overview — Bruce Eldredge and Jeremy Johnston

9:10-10:40 AM Session 1: Interpreting Buffalo Bill
Jeremy Johnston, Chair

  • Paul Fees — Buffalo Bill and the Museum
  • Steve Friesen — Lakota Performers in Europe
  • Peter Hassrick — Art in Cody: The Whitney/Cody Legacy

10:40-11:00 AM Break

11:00 AM-12:30 PM Session 2: Becoming Buffalo Bill
Paul Hutton, Chair

  • Jeff Broome — Cody’s Role in the Battle of Susanna Springs, Known Today as Summit Springs
  • Nicole Etcheson — Buffalo Bill’s Civil War
  • Robert Palazzo — Captain Jack Crawford and Buffalo Bill:  Similar But Not Equal

12:30-2:00 PM Session 3: Luncheon Keynote

  • Patty Limerick — The Persistent Power of Paradox: Buffalo Bill Cody’s Life as a Field Guide to the History of the American West

2:30-4:00 PM Session 4: Childhood, Girlhood and Performing Identity

Laura Arata, Chair

  • Julia Bricklin — Lillian Frances Smith: Adolescence, Gender, and Performing Identity in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
  • Monica Rico — Annie Oakley: Performing the “New Girl”
  • Martin Woodside — Considering the Frontiers of Childhood

4:00-4:30 PM: Break

4:30-6:00 PM Session 5: Roundtable Discussion: The Legacy of Buffalo Bill at the Center of the West
Jeremy Johnston, moderator

  • Ashley Hlebinsky — Cody Firearms Museum
  • Karen McWhorter — Whitney Western Art Museum
  • Chuck Preston — Draper Natural History Museum
  • Mary Robinson — McCracken Research Library
  • Rebecca West — Plains Indian Museum

6:00-7:30 PM Reception

7:30 PM Dinner on your own


Thursday, August 3, 2017

8:00 AM-11:00 PM Symposium Registration

9:00-9:10 AM Welcome from Jeremy M. Johnston

9:10-10:30 AM Session 6: Promoting and Consuming the Wild West
Christine Bold, Chair

  • James Connolly — The Wild West in the American Heartland
  • Michelle Delaney — Art and Advertising Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
  • Joe Dobrow — Jumping Jehosaphat! The Wit and Marketing Wisdom of Major John M. Burke

10:30-11:00 AM Break

11:00 AM-12:30 PM Session 7: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Abroad
Bob Rydell, Chair

  • Frank Christianson — The Special Relationship as Popular Culture: The Legacy of 1887
  • Tom Cunningham — Black Elk in Naples?
  • Gregory Hinton — After Hours: Buffalo Bill in London

12:30-2:00 PM Session 8: Luncheon Keynote

  • Arthur Amiotte — Transformation and Continuity in Lakota Culture: The Artwork of Standing Bear and Arthur Amiotte

2:30 PM-4:00 PM Session 9: The Wild West and European Nationalism
Frank Christianson, Chair

  • Jamie Horrocks — Cody, Wilde, and Transatlantic Celebrity
  • Nicole Perry — The Beginning of a Love Affair? Buffalo Bill in Germany
  • Bob Rydell — “It Looks Like Peace in Indian Country”: The Journey from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West to the Hague Peace Conferences in 1899 and 1907

4:00-4:30 PM: Break

4:30-6:00 PM Session 10: Roundtable Discussion: New Approaches to Cody Studies
Michelle Delaney, Moderator

  • John Fillwalk — The Wild West Show in Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Jeremy Johnston  — Collaborating with George Beck and Buffalo Bill
  • Douglas Seefeldt — “The Last of the Mohicans Realized in London”: Visualizing the Wild West in Britain, 1887-88
  • Rebecca Wingo — Curating Buffalo Bill from Digital Archive to Digital Exhibit

6:30 PM Session 11: Dinner Keynote

  • Louis S. Warren — Buffalo Bill in the Borderlands


Friday, August 4, 2017

8:00 AM-11:00 PM Symposium Registration

9:00-9:10 — Welcome from Bruce Eldredge, Director and CEO of Buffalo Bill Center of the West

9:10-10:30 AM Session 12: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in Public Memory
Douglas Seefeldt, Chair

  • Laura Arata — Mickey Mouse Cowboys: Memory, Authenticity, and Disney’s Wild West
  • Shannon Murray — Celebration, not Re-Creation: Indian Village at the Calgary Stampede
  • Alyce Webb — Pawnee Bill’s Original Wild West Show: Education and Community Across 130 Years

10:30-11:00 AM Break

11:00 AM-12:30 PM Session 13: The Wild West in the European Visual Imagination
Peter Hassrick, Chair

  • Emily Burns — Parisian Frontiers: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and French Masculinities, 1889-1906
  • JR Henneman — Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and the Fine Arts Galleries of the American Exhibition in London of 1887
  • Emily L. Voelker — Portrait of an Oglala in Paris with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, 1889: Capturing Intercultural Encounters with the Camera

12:30-2:00 PM Session 14: Luncheon Keynote

  • Christine Bold — Buffalo Bill and “Dime Novelitis”

2:30-4:00 PM Session 15: Multicultural Legacies of the Wild West
Patty Limerick, Chair

  • Ch. Didier Gondola — Buffalo Bill Cody in Kinshasa: Westerns, Violence, and Masculinity in the Heart of the Tropics
  • Danielle Haque — Arab Performers and the Wild West
  • Alessandra Magrin — The Enduring Legacy of Buffalo Bill in Italian Cinema: From Silver Screen to Spaghetti Western

4:00-4:30 PM Break

4:30-6:00 PM Session 16: Roundtable Discussion: Buffalo Bill’s America and the Future of Cody Studies
Frank Christianson, moderator; Louis Warren, comment

  • Arata; Burns; Haque; Horrocks; Perry; Volker; Woodside

6:30 PM Session 17: Dinner Keynote

  • Paul Hutton — Buffalo Bill and the Frontier Myth