As a scholar of American Indian Studies, I specialized in images and representations of American Indians. I used to regularly teach a class on Images of Indians and I always included a segment on Buffalo Bill or Col. William F. Cody. I’m not sure why I was always fascinated by him; maybe because I’m from Colorado and we used to go see his gravesite on Lookout Mountain, or because I read so much about him, or because he made the first movies about American Indians that used American Indian Actors, or because the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show is still running at EuroDisney in France or the fact that Edison filmed the Wild West Show and you can watch it on YouTube. Clearly, there are so many reasons that this historical figure is still so fascinating.
So, a few weeks ago, when my Dad gave me our family’s collection of Postcards from Indian Territory, I was mesmerized when I found in the collection a postcard of Buffalo Bill. In fact, this one postcard is THE one that made me look at the rest of the collection. It makes me wonder, did Eula and Frank Morris (my great-grandparents and the subject of the Postcards from Indian Country blog) visit the grave of Buffalo Bill? He was buried there on Lookout Mountain in 1917; at that time they lived in Amarillo, Texas. Turns out the postcard, made by Sanborn Souvenir of Denver, would have been made around the 1920s.
Well, I discovered there are other possibilities. Perhaps they saw him on his tour and later visited the gravesite when they moved to Colorado. A quick check of the Buffalo Bill schedule shows that The Wild West Show played in Chickasha, Oklahoma in September 1912 (they lived there then) and Amarillo, Texas in October 1915 (they lived there then). So perhaps when Eula and Frank (William F—coincidence?) moved to Colorado they went to see the gravesite where they bought the postcard after having seen the Wild West Shows. I know this is pure speculation, but it could be the case.