Title: Buffalo Bill's Wild WestAmerica's National Entertainment | America's National Entertainment

Date: 1886-05-31

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Buffalo Bill's Wild West

America's National Entertainment


4th Season.

WASHINGTON, May 31, 1886.

Circulation 500,000.



Born 1846, February 28th, in Freeport, Ill., the family being descendants of the early Vermont settlers; went out with the First Illinois troops; served through the entire rebellion; was the youngest enlisted soldier in the Army of the Cumberland; wounded three times; is a member of Post 11, G. A. R., Department of Massachusetts; went on the stage in '68; has acted before every English speaking public in the world.

The Amusement Department will be under the personal supervision of this eminent actor, whose successful career is now a matter of American Stage History. Years of continued success as a caterer to the amusement-loving public of this country, Australia, India and Europe, both as actor and manager, is a guarantee that the "Wild West" will be presented in a manner and style commensurate with his well-known managerial ability and artistic judgment. Mr. Salsbury long ago invested heavily in the cattle business in Montana, and is now part owner of one of the largest and most valuable ranches in the Northwest. During his repeated visits to the same he became impressed with the scenes and episodes witnessed, and thought of the feasibility of presenting them as far as practicable to the citizens of the East. An interchange of opinions with Mr. Cody disclosed a similar intention, so that to the fertile brains of Messrs. Cody and Salsbury we are indebted for the first conjuring up of this novel project. They spoke of it years ago, and Salsbury went to Europe to see if it would be [advisable to take such a show on the continent. Meanwhile with] Mr. Salsbury's knowledge, "Buffalo Bill" started the enterprise to see if it could be made successful in this country. Last year's experiences were proof that it could, and now all hands will join in getting up a "Wild West' show that will be remarkable in all respects." —Denver Republican.

Across the Continent with the Fifth Cavalry.

Captain George F. Price's history of this famous regiment recounts its experience from the time it was known as the Second Dragoons to the present, giving the historical record of its officers, among whom are numbered many of the most distinguished military leaders known in our national annals, such as Gen. Albert Sydney Johnson, Gen. Geo. H. Thomas, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. John Sedgwick, Generals Hardee, Emory, Van Dorn, Merritt, Carr, Royall, Custer, and others of equal note. Besides alluding in many of its pages to incidents, adventures, and conduct of the favorite guide and scout of the regiment, W. F. Cody, ("Buffalo Bill"), Captain Price completes a narrative of brave men and daring deeds by "flood and field" with following biographical sketch (page 583) of W. F. Cody. "Buffalo Bill."


Buffalo Hunt in the Wild West.


"William F. Cody was born in Scott County, Iowa. He removed at an early age to Kansas, and was employed as a herder, wagon-master, and pony express rider. He went to Pike's Peak during the excitement which followed the discovery of gold in Colorado, but, failing of success, returned to Kansas and became a trapper on the Republican River. In the fall of 1861 he was a Government scout and guide at Fort Larned, Kan., and in 1862 served as a scout and guide for the Ninth Kansas Cavalry, being chiefly employed in Arkansas and South Western Missouri. In 1863 he enlisted in the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, and served in Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Kansas, and participated in several battles. He was made a non-commissioned officer and served as a scout for his regiment after the battle of Tupelo. He was honorably discharged at the end of the war, and engaged in various business pursuits until the spring of 1867, when he made a contract, for a monthly compensation of five hundred dollars, to deliver all the buffalo meat that would be needed for food purposes for a number of laborers on the Kansas Pacific Railway in Western Kansas, and during this engagement-- a period of less than eighteen months-- he killed four thousand two hundred and eighty buffaloes. This remarkable success gained for him the name Buffalo Bill. Cody would ride his horse, whenever possible to the right front of a herd, shoot down the leaders, and crowd their followers to the left until they began to run in a circle, when he would soon kill all that he required. Cody again entered the Government service in 1868 as a scout and guide, and, after a series of dangerous rides as bearer of important dispatches through a country which was infested with hostile Indians, was appointed by Gen Sheridan chief scout and guide for the Fifth Cavalry, which had been recently ordered from reconstruction duty in the Southern States for a campaign against the hostile Sioux and Cheyennes. He joined a detach- ment of the regiment at Fort Hays, Kansas, and was engaged during the fall of 1868 in the combats on Bearer and Shuter Creeks and north branch of Solomon River. He then served with the Canadian River Expedition during the winter of 1868-'69, and became deservedly conspicuous for cheerful service under dispiriting circumstances and the successful discharge of important duties. He marched with a battalion of the regiment across the country from Fort Lyon, Col., to Fort McPherson, Neb., during May,1869, and was engaged en route in the combat at Bearer Creek, Kan., where he rendered an important and brilliant service by carrying dispatches from a detached party to the cavalry camp after a soldier courier had been driven back by the Indians; and again at Spring Creek, Neb., three days later, where, when the advance guard under Lieutenant Babcock was surrounded by a large force of the enemy, he was distinguished for coolness and bravery."


Cody was appointed chief scout and guide for the Republican River expedition of 1869, and was conspicuous during the pursuit of the Dog Soldiers, under the celebrated Cheyenne chief, Tall Bull, to Summit Springs, Col. He also guided the Fifth Cavalry to a position whence the regiment was enabled to charge upon the enemy and win a brilliant victory. He afterwards participated in the Niobrara pursuit, and later narrowly escaped death at the hands of hostile Sioux on Prairie Dog Creek, Kan., September 26, 1869. He was assigned to Fort McPherson when the expedition was disbanded, and served at the station (was a Justice of the Peace in 1871) until the Fifth Cavalry was transferred to Arizona. He served during this period with several expeditions, and was conspicuous for gallant conduct in the Indian combat at Red Willow and Birdwood Creeks, and also for successful services as chief of scout and guide of the buffalo hunt which was arranged by General Sheridan for the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia.

Cody was then assigned to duty with the Third Cavalry, and served with that regiment until the fall of 1872, when he was elected a member of the Nebraska Legislature, and thus acquired the title of "Honorable." But, accepting the advice of Eastern friends, he resigned his seat in the Legislature and also his position of scout and guide at Fort McPherson, and proceeded to Chicago, where he made his first appearance as an actor in a drama entitled "The Scouts of the Plains," winning an instant success.

He continued in the theatrical business until the beginning of the Sioux war in 1876, when he discharged his company, hastened to Cheyenne, Wyo., joined the Fifth Cavalry, which had recently returned from Arizona, and was engaged in the affair at War Bonnet (Indian Creek), Wyo., where he killed in a hand-to-hand combat the Cheyenne chief, Yellow Hand. He then accompanied the Fifth Cavalry to Goose Creek, Mon., and served with the Big Horn and Yellowstone expedition until September, when business engagements compelled him to return to the Eastern States. Cody abundantly proved during this campaign that he had lost none of his old-time skill and daring in Indian warfare. He enjoys a brilliant reputation as a scout and guide, which has been fairly earned by faithful and conspicuous service.


Crossing the Plains.

William F. Cody is one of the best scouts and guides that ever rode at the head of a column of cavalry on the prairies of the Far West. His army friends, from general to private, hope that he may live long and prosper abundantly.

Should the wild Sioux again go on the war-path, Cody, if living, will be found with the Cavalry advance, riding another "Buckskin Joe," and carrying his Springfield rifle, "Lucretia," across the pommel of his saddle.


"Of ten men employed as scouts nine will prove to be worthless; of fifty so employed one may prove to be really valuable, but, though hundreds, even thousands of men have been so employed by the Government since the war, the number of really remarkable men among them can be counted on the fingers. The services which these men are called on to perform are so important and valuable that the officer who benefits by them is sure to give the fullest credit; and men honored in official reports come to be great men on the frontier. Fremont's reports made Kit Carson a renowned man. Custer immortalized California Joe. Custer, Merritt, and Carr made William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) a plain's celebrity 'Until Time Shall Be No More.'"


JOHN M. BURKE, General Manager.


There is probably no field in modern American history more fascinating in the intensity of its interest than that which is presented on our rapidly-extending frontier. The pressure of the white man, the movement of the emigrant train, and the extension of our railways, together with the military power of the General Government, have, in a measure, broken down the barriers behind which the Indians fought and defied the advance of civilization; but the West, in many places, is still a scene of wildness, where the sternness of law is upheld at the pistol point, and the white savage and outlaw has becom [e] scarcely less dangerous than his red-skinned predecessor.

The story of our country, so far as it concerns life in the vast Rocky Mountain region and on the plains, has never been half to[ld]; and romance itself falls far short of the reality when it at[te]mpts to depict the career of the little vanguard of pioneers, trappers and scouts, who, moving always in front, have paved the way—frequently with their own bodies—for the safe approach of the masses behind. The names of "Old Bridger," "Kit Carson," "Buffalo White," "Wild Bill," "California Joe," "Texas Jack," "Buffalo Bill," "Maj. North," and scores of others have already become identified with what seem to be strange legends and traditions, and yet the lives and labors of these men form a part of the development of the Great West. Most of them have died fighting bravely, and all of them, in their way, have been men around whose exploits contemporaneous writers in and out of the army have thrown the halo of heroism. Our most distinguished officers have repeatedly borne tribute to their usefulness and valor, and to-day the adventures of the Army Scout constitutes a theme of never ending interest. Keen of eye, sturdy in build, inured to hardship, experienced in the knowledge of Indian habits and language, familiar with the hunt, and trustworthy in the hour of extremest danger, they belong to a class that is rapidly disappearing from our country.

[In the Eastern States, or even east of the Mississippi, the methods of these people are comparatively unknown, and it is] for the purpose of introducing them to the public [that this] little pamphlet has been prepared. Hon. William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill"), in conjunction with Mr. Nate Salsbury, has organized a large combination, that, in its several aspects, will illustrate life as it is witnessed on the plains—the India [n] encampment; the cowboys and vaqueros; the herds of buffalo and elk; the lassoing of animals; the manner of robbing [mail] coaches; feats of agility, horsemanship, marksmanship, archery, and the kindred scenes and events that are characteristic of the border. The most completely appointed delegation of frontiersmen and Indians that ever visited the East will take part in the entertainment, together with a large number of animals; and the performance, while in no wise partaking of the nature of a "circus," will be at once new, startling and instructive.

JOHN M. BURKE, General Manager.


Indian Fight in the Wild West.


Curtis Guild, Proprietor and Editor of the Conservative Commercial Bulletin, Boston, writes:

"Raised on the frontier, he has passed through every grade and won fame in each line, while to be proficient in one brings celebrity sufficient to gratify most ambitions. Thus it is he holds supremacy in fact, and receives from his associates an adoration surpassing even his public popularity. Visitors to the camp early the other morning found him joining in every frolic, game, and contest with each and all, and generally excelling. In shooting, in running, in jumping, in trials of strength, feats of agility, horsemanship, handling the ribbons behind four or six, riding the vicious, manipulating the revolver, etc., tackling each specialist and coming to the front with a generous modesty admired by the defeated.

"No lover of the human race, no man with an eye for the picturesque, but must have enjoyed the very sight of these pioneers of civilization. Never was a finer picture of American manhood presented than when Buffalo Bill stepped out to show the capabilities of the Western teamster's whip. Tall beyond the lot of ordinary mortals, straight as an arrow, not an ounce of useless flesh upon his limbs, but every muscle firm and hard as the sinews of a stag, with the frank, kindly eye of a devoted friend, and a natural, courtly grace of manner which would become a marshal of France. Buffalo Bill is from spurs to sombrero one of the finest types of manhood this continent has ever produced. Those who had expected to meet a different class of men must have been pleasantly surprised in these genuine sons of the plains, any of whom was stamped with the natural easy grace and courtesy of manner which marks the man who is born a gentleman."


Commencing MONDAY Every Afternoon Only At 4 o'clock. Rain or Shine

May 31


Buffalo Bill's Wild West.

John M. Burke, . . . . Editor.


HON. W. F. CODY—Buffalo Bill.


It has been my good fortune for a number of years past to contribute something to your pleasure from behind the footlights of nearly EVERY THEATRE IN AMERICA. That I did not fail has been attested by the uniform success that has attended me from the beginning until the present hou [r] . What began with fear and trembling on my part, soon ripened into an UNBROKEN ROUND of TRIUMPH from seaboard to seaboard. For this I have to thank a generous public, who condoned my faults as an actor and endorsed me as the representative of a class of men that are rapidly PASSING FROM THE WORLD'S HISTORY, under the restless march of progress on this hemisphere. As that representative it has always [been] my ambition to leave an impression that will serve as a guide and instructor to the present and rising generation. To do this more effectually I have hit upon a plan that I have taken great pains to elaborate, and herewith present for your approval. After much research and infinite trouble and expense, I have collected a mass of material which I have incorporated under the title of BUFFALO BILL'S WILD WEST, for the purpose of giving an open-air entertainment that shall be a true rescript of LIFE ON THE FRONTIER as I KNOW IT TO BE, and which no fictitious pen can describe. To give an idea of the vastness of this aggregation would require more space than the limits of this article will permit. But I wish to impress on the public's mind THIS FACT, that EVERYTHING ADVERTISED as a part of my entertainment WILL BE THERE. Those who visit my exhibition will see an undisputed NOVELTY IN EVERY FEATURE, true to life, faithful in fact, interesting beyond measure; affording besides pleasure and excitement, valuable instruction, differing entirely from any exhibition now before the civilized world. A NOVELTY! An Epitome of SKILL, NERVE and DARING that will live in the memory of all as the WONDER OF THE CENTURY. A glance at the names of the men I have associated with me is a sufficient guarantee that the acme of excellence will be reached in every department of this vast enterprise. I desire to remind the HEADS OF FAMILIES that ladies and children can attend my exhibition with PERFECT SAFETY and COMFORT, as arrangements will be made with that object in view. Everything as advertised will be done, and a performance TRUE IN EVERY DETAIL will be given, RAIN OR SHINE. Hoping to greet you when you visit the WILD WEST and that I may have the happiness to GUIDE you through Three Hours of FRONTIER LIFE, I remain, yours respectfully,

W. F. CODY ("Buffalo Bill").

Late Chief of Scouts, U. S. A.


Major John M. Burke,

Dear Sir—I take pleasure in saying that in an experience of about thirty years on the plains and in the mountains I [have seen a great many guides, scouts, trailers and hunters, and Buffalo Bill (W. F. Cody) is king of] them [all.] He has been with me in seven Indian fights, and his services have been invaluable.

Very respectfully yours,

Eugene A. Carr,
Brevet Major General U. S. Army.




"North Platte should be congratulated on the possession of a citizen whose prominence of position is not bounded by his township, his county, or his state, but whose name is a household word, whose pictures are familiar to, and whose character is known, not only throughout the nation, but has adorned pages and interested readers of foreign works and publications. We allude to our fellow citizen, Hon. W. F. Cody, whose sobriquet of "Buffalo Bill" represents a popularity only bounded by the area of American territory, and to which we, who live by his own fireside, may testify his worthy possession and to the modesty of its wearing. His late return from a successful presentation to the East of some of the animated daily scenes and incidents that go to form the passing history of "The Wild West," should be noted as an event of importance, as it marks a new era in the history of amusements, that for originality, adherence to truth in "holding the mirror up to nature," and a fidelity to fact that is the "true aim of art," has so far only been found in this exhibition. The reception accorded to his "show that is not a show, but an illustration," in the cities of the East, notably Boston, Chicago, New York, Newport, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Cleveland, must be gratifying to all in North Platte, in fact in Nebraska, where in the incipiency of the scheme over a year ago, he demonstrated by courage, pluck, and perseverance its feasibility, by its introduction in the festivities of our national birthday celebration and on the following natal day presented it on the shores of the Atlantic, to the plaudits of over 25,000 delighted Bostonians. The magnitude of the undertaking, the minutiæ necessary to organizing, the bringing together from all points the best marksmen in the world, securing admirable and fitting representatives of the cattle trade, getting wild buffalo, elk, steers, mules, ponies, specimens of the red terrors of the prairie, and other features of interest, known only to the pampas of the West, necessitating special trains of cars for transportation, and driving the strange cavalcade through confined Washington street, Boston, in six weeks after leaving the Platte, was an accomplishment that stamps Cody as a wonder in energy, and gained for him the admiration and encomiums from the entire press of the East, recognition from the elite of American society at Newport, encouragement from representatives of education, and the endorsement of his methods by the S. P. C. A. and its noted president, Professor Henry Bergh.

It is the scene of a lifetime on the border thrown into two hours, and no one should fail to see the representation of life on the border, now passing away before the advance of civilization, and soon to be gone forever--N. Y. Advertiser.

It is a great show and full of dash and daring too.--N. Y. Herald

... all Railroads, Boats, &c

This established standard exhibition, eclipsing all efforts to combine merit, instruction, and pleasure in the presentation of the natural scenes, incidents and history of the frontier, with genuine characters and pioneer celebrities, will soon appear in your city.

Augmented in Every Feature! Improved in Every Particular!



(HON. W. F. CODY,)



Buffalo Bill
Rocky Mountain & Prairie Exhibition

The Cowboy Sheriff of the Platte.

Buck Taylor
King of the Cowboys.

Dick Johnson
The Giant Cowboy.

Miss Lillian Smith,
The California Huntress; Champion Girl Rifle Shot.

Miss Annie Oakley,
Champion Markswoman.

The Greatest Jumper in the Word.


"Pony Express."

Capt. Fred Mathews
Old Overland.


The Cowboy Kid.


Antonio Esquivel,
Champion Vaquero of Mexico.

Idaho Jack.


Champion Roper of Wyoming.

Texas Cowboy.

Broncho Bill.

Eddie Goodman,
The Boy Shot.

Interpreter, 50 years with the Sioux.





20 Pawnee Warriors. 20

Only Survivor of Custer's Command.

20 Mountain Crows. 20

10 Lady Riders, 10

10 Mexican Vaqueros 10

The Famous Wild West Cowboy Band.

Colour Bearer, SERGT. BATES and "The Old Flag"
The identical one carried in America and Europe.


Grand Indian Camp


Blanket Indians,





Brawny Braves of Bloody Records
from the Virgin Wilderness of
the Land of the Setting
Sun, showing a


Instructive, Interesting and Thrilling.


Many Types of the Pioneers and Vanguard
of Civilization,

Celebrated Scouts,
Veritable Cow-Boys,
Mexican Vaqueros,

Representatives of the Rugged Life of
Primitive Man.


Heroes of the Dug-Out, the Cabin, the
Ranch, and the trail, whose lives
have been passed in



Relic of the Sanguinary Border!

Corral of Indian Ponies, Herd of
Wild Buffaloes, Band of Elk,
Pack Mules, Burros, Deer,
Antelopes and Coyotes.



Combined for an Effective Illustration of Wild Western Life.




Buffalo Bill chasing Meat into Camp.

In which this Novel and Realistic Exhibition will equal




This instructive and meritorious Entertainment can be attended by Ladies and Children with Pleasure, Safety and Comfort.


Grand Street Parade Opening Day
at 10.00 A. M.

Admission, 50c. Children, 25c.

W. F. CODY (Buffalo Bill) & NATE SALSBURY, . . . . Proprietors


JOHN M. BURKE . . . . . General Manager

ALBERT E. SCHEIBLE . . . . . Ticket Agent

FRANK RICHMOND . . . . . Orator

JULE KEEN . . . . . Treasurer

CARTER COUTURIER . . . . . Advance Agent

JOSH OGDEN . . . . . Advertising Agent





Mr. Cody is a great lover of man's best friend among the animal kingdom, the horse. The peculiar career he has followed has made his equine friend such a sterling necessity as a companion, an assistant, a confidant, that he admits, as every frontiersman and scout does, a great deal depends, even life itself in innumerable emergencies, on the general sagacity of this noble brute. For the purposes of the trail, the hunt, the battle, the pursuit, or the stampede, it was essentially necessary to select for chargers, with which to gain success, animals excelling in the qualities of strength, speed, docility, courage, stamina, keen scent, delicacy of ear, quickness of sight, sure-footed, shrewd in perception, nobleness of character, and general intelligence. History records and a grateful memory still holds dear numberless famous quadruped allies that Buffalo Bill has, during his long career, possessed, and many are the stories told on the frontier and in the army of "Old Buckskin Joe," "Brigham," "Tall Bull," "Powder Face," "Stranger," and "Old Charlie."

"Old Buckskin Joe" was one of his early favorites, who, by long service in the army scouting, became quite an adept and seemed to have a perfect knowledge of the duties required of him. For this reason, when ordered to find and report the location of the savages in their distant strongholds (at times hundreds of miles away, over a lonely country infested by scouting parties of hostiles, liable at any instant to pounce upon one) "Old Buckskin" was always selected by Cody to accompany him on the trail when the work was dangerous. Mounted on another horse, he would let 'Buckskin" follow untrammeled, even by a halter, so as to reserve him fresh in case of discovery and the terrible necessity of a ride for life. Quick to scent danger, he instinctively gave evidence of his fears, and would almost assist his saddling, or quickly insert his head in the bridle, and once on his back Joe was always able to bid defiance to the swiftest horses the Indians possessed, and the longer the chase the further they were left in his rear. On one occasion his master descried a band of one hundred warriors, who gave them chase from the headwaters of the Republican River to Fort McPherson, a distance of 195 miles. It was at a season when the ponies were in good condition and the savage band, though thirsting for the scalp of their well-known foe, "Pa-he-has-ka," (the long-haired scout), dropped behind, until on the last fifty miles, but fifteen of the fleetest were in pursuit," Buckskin" leaving them out of sight twenty miles from the fort.

This ride, famed in army annals, caused "Old Buckskin" to go blind, but the gratitude of his master was such that "Joe" was kept and carefully attended to until his death, which occurred a few years ago at Cody's home, North Platte.

"Tall Bull," a strong American horse of extraordinary speed, [from the Indian chief, Tall Bull, when h] e killed him, (a horse evidently previously stolen by them) not only left a name that lives in song and story among Carr's command as a race horse, but after replenished his owner's purse with heavy winnings, and was the only horse ever known swift enough to keep alongside a herd of antelope and stay with them till his rider had killed all he wanted of these fleet-footed [drawing] gazelles of the prairie. Many other tried and true ones have enhanced his love for their race, the last of the famous old-timers being owned and ridden by him in his daily exhibitions with the WILD WEST for the past three seasons, traversing the continent five times, traveling thousands of miles and never missing a performance. "Old Charlie" possesses all the virtues that go to form a noble horse. "Charlie" is 17 years old, was broken in by Mr. Cody and has never been ridden by any one else (except Miss Arta Cody, an accomplished horsewoman) and for many years has been the participant of all his master's skirmishes, expeditions, long rides, and hunts. Has been ridden over all kinds of rough country, prairie dog towns, mountain and plain; has never stumbled or fallen, being beyond a doubt one of the surest-footed animals man ever rode, and for endurance it is a second "Buckskin Joe," if not better. On one occasion, in an emergency, having carried his master over a road ONE HUNDRED MILES IN 9 HOURS AND 45 MINUTES, rider and trappings weighing 243 pounds. "Old Charlie's" great point is his wonderful intelligence, which causes him to act in a manner as to almost lay claim to judiciousness. In the most lonely and unattractive place, or in one the most seductive to equine rambles, when his master removes saddle and bridle, he can t[r]ust "Charlie" to stay where he is left, wrap himself in a blanket, take the saddle for a pillow, go to sleep contented, knowing his faithful steed will be close at hand, or after browsing fully, will come and lie close beside him, sink into slumber with ear at tension, one eye open, and at the slightest disturbance arouse him to meet the threatened danger. All the Indians in the country, keen as he is to scent them, intuitively as he dreaded them, could not make him leave or stampede him until his owner is mounted, challenging in this respect the instincts of the highest class of watch-dog.

He is a splendid example of the tractibility of his species and a fine exponent of the practical nature of the frontiersman's invaluable companion, by the perfect repose he exhibits in pursuits and scenes so foreign to the experience of most of his kind, showing an avidity to join battle in the stage-coach attack, in which he joins without saddle, bridle or rider; singling out his master, keeping close to him throughout the fight, exhibiting anxiety for his welfare. Thus daily in the "WILD WEST EXHIBITION" does he endorse, before the public, the writer's eulogy, and in Buffalo Bill's great shooting act on horseback, assist his master to present a western picture of horse and rider such as was ne'er dreamt of by the novelist, never depicted by the painter.


Title: Buffalo Bill's Wild WestAmerica's National Entertainment | America's National Entertainment

Publisher: Cody and Salsbury

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, MS6.3274

Date: 1886-05-31

People: Richmond, Frank, -1890

Editorial Statement | Conditions of Use

TEI encoded XML: View wfc.mem00022.xml

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