Buffalo Bill Cody c1880s Cabinet Card Photo with Lucretia Borgia Rifle

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We sold this item at auction for $350
 in November, 2023.

Buffalo Bill Photo Sold at Online Auction

In 1885, the iconic Buffalo Bill Cody donned his cowboy attire, immortalized in this antique cabinet card portrait.

The photograph, taken by renowned celebrity photographer D.H. Anderson at 785 Broadway, New York, is a testament to both Cody’s legacy and the historical backdrop of the Wild West.

D.H. Anderson’s studio holds historical significance, having once been the location of Matthew Brady’s final studio, The National Portrait Gallery. This transition from Brady’s renowned studio to Anderson’s captures a shift in the photographic landscape, mirroring the evolving narrative of American history.

Buffalo Bill Cody, born as William F. Cody in 1846, emerged as a legendary figure on the American frontier. His moniker, earned through supplying buffalo meat to railroad workers, reflects his prowess as a skilled buffalo hunter. Cody’s frontier experiences extended beyond hunting, as he served as a scout for the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars.

Lucretia Borgia: Buffalo Bill Cody’s Springfield Rifle

The Springfield rifle, fondly nicknamed “Lucretia Borgia,” became a distinctive element of Cody’s persona.

This firearm, captured in the 1885 portrait, is a tangible link to Cody’s adventurous life and military contributions. The rifle itself could serve as a captivating focal point, symbolizing both the challenges and triumphs of the American frontier.

Transitioning from the rugged landscapes of the West to the heart of New York City, the Broadway address of Anderson’s studio becomes a historical crossroads. It not only encapsulates Cody’s image but also signifies the intersection of two eras in American photography.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Buffalo Bill’s journey went beyond his role as a frontiersman and soldier; he transformed into a captivating showman. The creation of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” show marked a pivotal chapter in his life. This extravagant spectacle showcased cowboys, Native Americans, and sharpshooters like the legendary Annie Oakley. The inclusion of reenactments of frontier life brought the essence of the Wild West to audiences worldwide.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show was not merely entertainment; it played a crucial role in shaping the romanticized image of the American West. In an era of rapid industrialization, Cody’s extravaganza provided a nostalgic glimpse into a bygone era, immortalizing the spirit of the frontier.

Antique Wild West Photography

During the Wild West era of the 1870s-1890s, photography played a pivotal role in documenting the frontier life and shaping perceptions of the American West.

As pioneers, settlers, and Native Americans ventured into uncharted territories, photographers like Matthew Brady and Timothy O’Sullivan captured the rugged landscapes, colorful characters, and dramatic events of the time.

These photographs provided a window into the reality of life on the frontier, preserving moments of triumph and tragedy for future generations. Photography not only served as a historical record but also fueled the imagination of people around the world, romanticizing the allure of the Wild West and its untamed spirit.

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