About the Archive
The William F. Cody Archive is a scholarly digital archive that offers an unequaled opportunity to see the historic evolution and idealization of the American West through the eyes of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, presenting researchers and visitors an insightful perspective of America and the world spanning the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. William F. Cody painted his public life in broad strokes—frontiersman, showman, bon vivant, raconteur, gentleman, entrepreneur—while his private life was often in shambles—a troubled marriage, extra-marital affairs, the death of three children, and mixed financial success. His show, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, presented aspects of western life: attacks on stagecoaches, pony express rides, shooting exhibitions, and Indian dances. He paid his performers, no matter what their color or gender, for the value of their performances. He knew to give his audience an idea of the West and of the closing frontier as they wanted it to be. He perpetuated the myth of the West with grace and style, recognizing the difference between himself and his public persona, knowing that the one was necessary to support the other. The dichotomy of the man is not always apparent, but his effect on the world is.
The William F. Cody Archive documents Cody's interactions with individuals ranging from statesmen and royalty to noted military and literary figures who sought his opinions on policy questions concerning the American West. His lesser-known roles as a community founder, businessman, rancher, and investor speak to political, economic, and environmental policies affecting western development during his lifetime. These experiences are represented by a variety of archival material: memoirs and autobiographies, correspondence, business records, published and unpublished writings, photographs, video and audio recordings, promotional and Wild West material, newspaper and magazine articles. The Archive aims to identify and make available as much of this material as possible, drawing on the resources of libraries and collections from around the United States and around the world. The William F. Cody Archive is directed by Jeremy M. Johnston (Buffalo Bill Historical Center), Frank Christianson (Brigham Young University), Douglas Seefeldt (Ball State University), and Katherine Walter (University of Nebraska).
- Project Staff and Information
- Project Staff
- Archive Changelog (record of changes to the Archive)
- Methodology and Standards
- Conditions of Use (Coming Soon)
- Editorial Policy Statement and Procedures (Coming Soon)
- Encoding Guidelines (Coming Soon)