|Exceptionally rare and historically important, original, 1884 Program from the first year of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” with fantastic, chromolithograph covers. This exceptionally rare and wonderful program from the premier season of Buffalo Bill’s Traveling Extravaganza measures approx. 7” by 9 3/4” and contains 32 pages of text and illustrations relating to the show which was embarking on its very first season.
The covers of the Program were chromolithographed by Forbes Company of Boston - the same lithographer that produced the earliest and most highly sought after Buffalo Bill advertising Posters of the period. The front cover of the program is beautifully chromolithographed and features a portrait of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody on horseback on the open plains. Cody is wearing his trademark fringed buckskin jacket and pants - the "uniform" of the "Scout of the Prairie". He holds a rifle in his right hand and in the distance a train of Conestoga Wagons head toward the Rocky Mountains. The rear cover is also chromolithographed and features an image of Buffalo Bill acting as a Scout for a company of U.S. soldiers and a second image of Cody on horseback standing on a ledge overlooking an awe inspiring canyon. At the lower left hand corner is an image of a Native American Indian War Shield decorated with the image of an American Buffalo (Bison).
The Program is fully titled "Buffalo Bill's Wild West / America's National Entertainment" with further text on the title page that reads "Led by the famed scout and guide. Buffalo Bill (Hon. W. F. Cody). / Capt. A. H. Bogardus, Champion wing shot of the world. / Major Frank North, The pilot of the prairie. / "Oklahoma" Payne, The progressive pioneer. / "Buck" Taylor, King of the Cow-boys. / "Con" Groner, The cow-boy sheriff of the Platte.". The Program was printed by The Calhoun Printing Co. of Hartford, Connecticut in 1884 and was the very first Program issued for Buffalo Bill's Wild West.
To say this Program is exceptionally rare may be an understatement. Of the less than a handful of examples we have managed to find reference to we found that the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana includes a copy but that copy lacks the chromolithograph covers (Graff 785). The William F. Cody Archives includes scans of each page as well as the covers of this Program, but we are unsure if the archive includes this example or if it is held elsewhere. There is presently an example offered for sale in the catalog of a highly reputable bookseller with a damaged cover (price is $2500) and this bookseller states that the "only bibliographic sale record in the trade" is from Catalog 128 of the famed Western Americana bookseller Edward Eberstadt which was issued in 1951. The example offered here is exceptionally well preserved - complete and intact with no damage or repairs to the delicate chromolithographed paper wraps.
Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody) started a Wild West Exhibition in 1883 with Doc Carver under the name "Rocky Mountain and Prairie Exhibition". The partners argued and split up after a very short time, and in 1884 Buffalo Bill teamed up with Nate Salsbury and Captain A. H. Bogardus to put the "show" on the road under the name "Buffalo Bill's Wild West". This was the fabled Wild West Show which lasted until 1909 when it was joined with Pawnee Bill's show under the name "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pawnee Bill's Far East".
This fantastic, original 32 Page, Wild West Show Program includes many illustrations of the performers and performances that made up Buffalo Bill's Wild West in the 1884 Season. We will not go into great detail regarding the content of this historically important Program from the first season of Buffalo Bill's Wild West but direct those interested to click here to view images of each page along with the full text of the Program.
This exceptionally rare and historically important, 1884 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Program is printed on a very delicate and highly acidic paper stock and bound in its original, chromolithographed paper wrappers which are in excellent condition - intact and sound with no edge chipping, edge tears, significant damage and no repairs of any kind to either the front or rear wrap. There is some very light soiling to both covers as can be seen in the scans below, but overall the delicate paper wraps are exceptionally well preserved and the Program displays beautifully. The interior pages are in very good to excellent condition - complete and tight with no significant wear or damage of any kind but with uniform age toning as one would expect for a publication printed on this type of inexpensive, highly acidic paper stock. Overall this is an exceptionally well preserved example of this exceptionally rare and delicate 1884 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Program is worthy of a place at the center of even the most advanced Buffalo Bill collection or library!
This 1884 Program from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West traveling Extravaganza is exceptionally rare and THE most highly sought after of the yearly Programs for the Show. This wonderfully preserved Program is sold here, as always, without reserve and with the confidence that it will attract the serious attention that it justly deserves!!
chromolithographed paper wraps.
Overseasshippping is extra and cost will be quoted at bidders request. Massachusetts residents must add 6.25% sales tax.
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