The Life of Hon. William F. Cody Known as Buffalo Bill the Famous Hunter, Scout and Guide. An Autobiography.

  • (Buffalo Bill) Cody, William F.
  • Hartford, Conn.: Frank E. Bliss 1879


SKU: 6286 Category: Tags: , ,


FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR, 8vo, pp. xiv, [17]-365, [1] + steel-engraved frontispiece portrait. Numerous illustrations within pagination, a number of them full-page. Bound without the (conjugate?) dedication leaf and final leaf of contents. Original dark brown textured cloth, spine and front board blocked in gilt. Some spotting and soiling, initial leaves foxed, a few creases and light edge-wear in places, a small dampmark to frontispiece, one plate loose. Binding rubbed and slightly shaken, extremities a touch worn, a little abrasion to endpapers. Initial blank inscribed ‘To J. Anderson, from W.J. Cody, Buffalo Bill, Dec. 2nd, 1882’.


The scarce first edition of William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody's first autobiography, exceptionally rare inscribed by the man himself. The text was probably ghost-written by Prentiss Ingraham, author of dozens of Buffalo Bill dime novels, and it is reported that only a few thousand copies were sold, most of which would have undoubtedly been read to destruction. Cody had by 1879 achieved some fame but it was a few years later that he founded his Wild West show that established the iconic depiction of the American frontier, the format of the rodeo, and the mythologisation of the cowboy figure; a further autobiography (also ghost-written) was required by the time of his death.
This copy has lost (or never had) two leaves of preliminaries but retains an early inscription in Cody's hand, to a J. Anderson in December of 1882, the fertile period when Cody was creating his formative show: in July of 1882 Cody had staged 'The Old Glory Blowout', and the 'Wild West' itself began in May of 1883.
We have been able to trace only one other inscribed copy in commerce, the Doheny copy inscribed to Joseph Gordon Bennett, which sold for $1650 in the 1988 Christie's Doheny sale and again for $3575 in the library of Richard Manney at Sotheby's a few years later.

Location & Opening Times

3a & 4a Haddington Place, Edinburgh, EH7 4AE

Opening Hours

Open seven days a week, 11am - 5pm

On Thursdays late night opening until 8pm