William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody ALS, 1915
Cody, William F. "Buffalo Bill" (1846-1917). ALS, 1p, 8.5 x 11 in. on Sells-Floto Circus/Buffalo Bill's Original Wild West stationary, dated at Streator, Illinois, Aug. 3 (1915), addressed to his cousins, signed "Will."
Cody writes: Well we have had it worse than ever with rain. The day we opened in Chicago. The great disaster of the brimming over of the Great Lake occurred and we have lost or Chicago engagement entirely. We show people are all [bent up?]...Cody then mentions that Johnny Baker has been with him and that two of his business partners are desperately trying to close a deal to sell their mining lands to a Mr. Kirkigard(sp?), but nothing yet has come of it. Cody closes with: We lost yesterday on account of floods and just got this town $12.36. That's the kind of luck we are playing. Love, Will.
The famous showman was in dire financial straits at the time he wrote this letter. He had already been forced to sign on with Sells-Floto after having his once-thriving show seized and auctioned off, and his mining investments had failed to pay off. Photographs from this period show the toll of the stress in weight loss and rapid aging. He would be dead in less than 18 months.
Light, even toning. The large ink spot at the beginning of the second paragraph appears to be from Cody's pen at the time of writing. Creased in the lower right corner and two very small tears in the top edge.