Title: Untitled [Yesterday the opening of the American Exhibition]

Periodical: The Sportsman

Date: May 10, 1887

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Yesterday the opening of the American Exhibition, of which the Wild West Show forms so important a part, took place at half-past three, at which hour the Grenadier Guards' Band, under Mr Dan Godfrey's conductorship, played "Hail, Columbia." Canon Farrer then offered up prayer, and Lord Ronald Gower read an address, in the name of the Committee of Welcome, to which Col. Henry L. Russell suitably responded, this part of the proceedings, however, losing some little interest from the fact that several of the speeches were read. "The Star-spangled Banner," "Rule Britannia" being played by the band, Miss Lillian Nordica charmingly singing the solos. Mr J. R. Whitley read an address, and the opening ceremony terminated. It was rumoured in the building that through the bursting of the boiler it was found impossible to set the machinery in motion, but the mishap did not militate against the success of the ceremony, those present trooping on to the "Wild West" long before the whole of the speeches were delivered. The scene under the huge corrugated iron velarium, which runs nearly two-thirds round the arena, was a brilliant one. Lady Dalhousie in blue, Lady Bective and Lady Down-, Mr Henry Irving, Sir Henry de Bathe, and s Terry in an oatmeal-coloured costume, occupied prominent positions. Amongst others present were Mr Leopold de Rothschild, Mr Toole, Mr Thorne, the Turkish Ambassador, and Mr Bancroft. The pretty Princess Victoria of Teck, Cardinal Manning, Mr Wyndham, Mrs John Wood, Mr John Clayton, Mr Walter Slaughter, and indeed almost everyone who is known in London's innermost literary and dramatic circles were also to be seen. The first part of the programme consisted of a grand processional review, which was followed by the introduction of individual celebrities. A picturesque sombrero-crowned figure in the person of Mr Frank Richmond did excellent duty as an animated programme, and prefaced each event with a few ringing words, which were distinctly heard in every part of the vast assemblage.

Following came a race between a cowboy, a Mexican, and an Indian, on ponies, the latter coming in a bad third. The following item, an illustration of the old-fashioned "Pony Express," was one of the best on the programme. Even more vigorous, however, was the attack on an emigrant train by the Indians, and its defence by frontiersmen, the picturesque figure of Buffalo Bill standing vividly out amongst the dashing cavalcade of riders who gallop to the defence of their compatriots. A delightful "Virginian Reel on horseback by Western girls and cowboys," daintily danced by their equine aides, was loudly applauded. Then came Miss Annie Oakley's shooting, which our own gun clubs would find it difficult to beat; the cowboys' fun, a ladies' race on horseback, and the attack on the Old Deadwood stage-coach by Indians [.]

Title: Untitled [Yesterday the opening of the American Exhibition]

Periodical: The Sportsman

Source: Buffalo Bill Center of the West; MS6, William F. Cody collection, MS6.3681.005.02 (Oakley scrapbook)

Date: May 10, 1887

Keywords: American frontier American Indians Band of the Grenadier Guards (Great Britain) Cowboys Cowgirls Emigrants Firearms Historical reenactments Horses Indians of North America Mexicans Pony express Sharpshooters Stagecoaches Star-spangled banner (Song) Traveling exhibitions Wagon trains

People: Godfrey, Dan. (Daniel), 1831-1903 Gower, Ronald Sutherland, Lord, 1845-1916 Oakley, Annie, 1860-1926

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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