Pawnee Bill Photograph Album

5.25 x 7 in. album, string-tied spine. With forty-two 3.75 x 4.5 in. images of Pawnee Bill's (Gordon Lillie) performers tipped on to pages, most with Pawnee Bill Wild West in negative. Images of trick riders, buffalo, Indians, cowboys roping steers, sharpshooters, stagecoaches, acrobats, a performing bear, even a concession stand and a monkey riding a mule. Scenes both "backstage" and in the arena.

Lillie grew up reading dime novels about the West, including Buffalo Bill Cody. His family moved to Kansas at the time the Pawnee were being moved to "Indian Territory." The young boy spent hours with them, learning the language and culture. He later became a teacher for the Pawnee and interpreter for the Indian agent. When the agency received a request for Indians who wanted to join Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, Lillie recruited six Pawnee and went along as interpreter and performer.

He met his future wife, May Manning, in Philadelphia. After they were married, her family encouraged him to form his own show. He formed several companies, each successful for various periods of time (the first went under in a year). By the early 1900s, the show became a serious competitor to Buffalo Bill's show, and eventually Lillie bought out Bill, but retained him as a partner. The "Two Bill's Show" was traveling for a five seasons, closing in 1913.

Condition:Covers off, some toning and soiling of outer pages as a result. Overall images are fine.

Estimate: $3,500 - $5,500


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