Buffalo Bill Cody

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody

The year 1883 neatly divides William Cody’s former life as a hunter, scout and guide from his later career as a showman. He was 37 in this year of transition.

The early life of William Frederick Cody (1846 to 1917) was colorful, adventurous and, thanks to Dime novels, exaggerated. He fought for the Union Army in the Civil War at 18. By 21, he earned his lifelong nickname [...] Click here to continue reading.

Apocryphal – definition

Apocryphal – Definition

Apocryphal, the adjective form, means “of doubtful authenticity,” according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Apocrypha, the noun form, means “writings or statements of dubious authenticity,” again according to Merriam-Webster.

Apocrypha is actually a Greek word that means something closer to “obscure” or “hidden away.” The original meaning of the word, the Apocrypha in the proper noun sense, refers to religious texts outside of the traditional or accepted religious canon. Through connection with [...] Click here to continue reading.

Gardner, Alexander

Alexander Gardner (1821 to 1882)

Alexander Gardner was born in Paisley, Scotland on October 17, 1821. As a young man, he was interested in socialist ideas, especially the concept of cooperatives, the creation of a business venture operated by and to serve the needs of a particular group with a common interest. After the family moved to Glasgow, Gardner apprenticed himself to a jeweler and silversmith at the age of 14. After reading about [...] Click here to continue reading.

Robert Spring – Forger

Robert Spring, Forger (1813-1876)

Robert Spring was born in England in 1813, but little is known about his life until he emigrated to the United States. By the 1850s, he was in the Philadelphia area and working as a bookseller.

Successful forgeries require access to the requisite materials, and in many ways, paper-based forgeries are some of the easiest to perpetrate. More than one dealer of books and ephemera has come to realize that [...] Click here to continue reading.

Tibbits, Captain Hall Jackson

Captain Hall J. Tibbits (American, 1797 to 1872)

This article about the life and career of Captain Tibbits by Eric C. Rodenberg appeared on the 4 November 2013 front page of Antique Week’s National Section. Used by permission. http://www.antiqueweek.com.

1800s Sea Captain’s Life Told Through Collection

At 6 foot, 4 inches tall and “powerfully built” Capt. Hall Jackson Tibbits would brook no foolishness.

After his “religious principles” were violated by passengers dancing on [...] Click here to continue reading.

Semans, Mary Duke Biddle Trent – Brunk Provenance Note 8-2013

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans (1920 to 2012)

An American heiress and philanthropist, Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans was the great-granddaughter of tobacco industrialist and Duke University benefactor Washington Duke. She was born Mary Duke Biddle on February 21, 1920 to Mary Lillian Duke and Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Jr. Her father was the former U.S. Ambassador to Poland and Spain.

Semans was raised in Manhattan, where she attended the Hewitt School in New [...] Click here to continue reading.

Catherine de Medici, Queen of France

Catherine de Medici (1519 to 1589)

Born to wealthy parents, Caterina de’ Medici (1519 to 1589) was orphaned within the first month of life. Although her father was of common origins, her mother was from an ancient French noble family, so a number of European royal families were interested in arranging a marriage with her, and the decision was up to Pope Clement VII, Giulio de’ Medici. Although James V of Scotland thought he [...] Click here to continue reading.

Mosby, John Singleton (1833 to 1916)

John Singleton Mosby (1833 to 1916)

John Singleton Mosby (1833 to 1916) enlisted in a Virginia cavalry unit at the outbreak of the Civil War. He and one other in his unit were ready to re-enlist at the end of their year of service. He was head of his regiment for only two months, but long enough to get the attention of J.E.B. Stuart. Stuart invited him to serve as a scout, and throughout [...] Click here to continue reading.

General and Mrs. Tom Thumb (Charles S. Stratton)

General & Mrs Tom Thumb

The legendary Phineas T. Barnum was introduced to the diminutive Charles Stratton (1838 to 1883) in Bridgeport, Connecticut at the Franklin House, which his half-brother managed. From that point on Stratton was destined to become the toast of 19th century American as well as continental Europe. Stratton was granted audiences with Queen Victoria, more than one U.S. President and countless dignitaries. By mid-19th century he was truly the most [...] Click here to continue reading.

Thomas Boston Corbett

Thomas “Boston” Corbett (1832 to 1894?)

Thomas “Boston” Corbett (1832 to 1894?) was born in London, England. After immigrating to the U.S. with his family, he found work as a hatter in New York City. Because of his later erratic behavior, some have speculated that the mercury fumes caused his later problems – “mad as a hatter” has some basis in fact.

Corbett enlisted as soon as the call went out in April 1861, [...] Click here to continue reading.

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