A Digital Research and Scholarship Platform fostering new work examining the regional, national, and international reach of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and his broad impact on an emergent mass culture.
Tag Archives: Transnationalism
The C-SPAN 3 broadcast of our panel discussion is now online :
A roundtable discussion featuring Jeremy Johnston, Buffalo Bill Center of the West; Douglas Seefeldt, Ball State University; Frank Christianson, Brigham Young University; Michelle Delaney, Smithsonian Institution; and Riva Freifeld, Documentary Filmmaker. Fifty-Fourth Annual Conference of the Western History Association, Newport Beach, CA, October 17, 2014.
This 90-minute coverage provides an overview of the diverse activities of The Papers, outlining completed, ongoing, and future projects. One highlight appears beginning at minute 17.50 in the broadcast … a very brief digital representation of the 552 venues in which Buffalo Bill’s Wild West performed during the three British/European tours of the exhibition.
The Papers of William F. Cody/William F. Cody Archive welcomes you to view this panel discussion and invites your valuable questions or comments!
Beginning in 1889, Buffalo Bill crossed the boundaries of the Atlantic, taking his Wild West Show overseas to perform for crowds of spectators throughout Europe. He carefully advertised his shows, constructing months-long advertising campaigns to create enormous anticipation in the towns and cities on his tour. After his shows, the memories of the cowboys, cowgirls and Native Americans remained topics of community conversation for years; stories of the show often treated like a prized possession, handed down from one generation to another. As one witness to a show in Trieste, Italy recalled, “Buffalo Bill took us to the world of the cowboy, the Indian tribes—the red skins— . . . It was a whole new world for us.” Buffalo Bill’s last tour ended in 1906, but Italian interest in the new world of the American West continues to the present day.
This paper examines the relationship between the American Exhibition of 1887 and the Wild West London season as cultural exports. I argue that 1887 tour marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in transatlantic culture even as the US and Britain were experiencing a period of high nationalism. By examining the 1888 version of Cody’s autobiography, particularly The Wild West in England, I will discuss how the frontier came to be defined in both nationalist and transnationalist terms. Cody’s autobiography demonstrates the role spectacle and ritual play in articulating a sense of national identity. Continue reading →
In 1910 former President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt traveled throughout Europe where he received three honorary doctoral degrees, delivered a number of significant speeches ranging from such topics such as the history of Western Civilization to the conduct of British imperialists and their subjects overseas. Despite the academic and diplomatic nature of his visit, most Europeans viewed Roosevelt as the cowboy president. Roosevelt noted that the kings and queens of Europe were interested “about my life in the West, evidently regarding it as an opportunity to acquire knowledge at firsthand and at close range concerning the Buffalo-Bill and Wild-West side of American existence.” Roosevelt found his diplomatic mission enhanced by Europe’s response to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.