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.

Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickock)

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok

Unlike the Hollywood nice guy from 1950′s television, the real Wild Bill Hickok was a born killer and compulsive gambler.

Between his birth as James Butler Hickok in 1837 and his 1876 death, Hickok defined the fiercely independent Wild West peacekeeper that never stayed long in one place. Raised to anti-slavery parents in Illinois, Hickok developed a strong sense of loyalty and duty that lasted his entire life. [...] Click here to continue reading.

Hoosier and Hoosier Cupboards

Hoosier and Hoosier Cupboards

The word “Hoosier” is one of those words whose origins are lost to time. Even The Oxford English Dictionary offers no real guidance about where the word came from. What we do know is that “Hoosier” was first documented in the mid-1820s, and within a decade, it had entered general usage. John Finley, a Hoosier himself from Richmond, write a poem titled, “The Hoosier’s Nest” that was published in 1833, [...] 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.

Barry, D.F. (David Frances Barry) – American Photographer

D.F. (David Frances) Barry, 1854 to 1934

Although one of the most prolific and successful photographers of the 19th century, little is known of D.F. Barry’s life, at least the early years. We do know that he was born in upstate New York, near Rochester, on March 6, 1954, and when he was seven, his family moved west to Wisconsin. Around the age of sixteen, he was hired for a short time to assist [...] Click here to continue reading.

Tagua – definition

Tagua Nuts

Tagua nuts are the endosperm of a genus of South American palm trees that are found from Panama down through Bolivia and Peru. Tagua nuts, or more accurately, the kernels of tagua seeds, are left behind by the wildlife that feed on the palm’s fruit. The group of palms is often referred to as “tagua palms” or “ivory-nut palms,” because tagua nuts are so hard, they resemble elephant ivory. (In fact, the [...] Click here to continue reading.

O’Sullivan, Timothy H. – Photograph

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (circa 1840 to 1882)

Timothy O’Sullivan immigrated to New York City from Ireland with his parents when he was a small child and it was there that he later found work in Mathew Brady’s photography studio. (Brady, who was afflicted with vision problems that struck when he was still a young man, depended heavily on the talent he found in recruits like O’Sullivan and Alexander Gardner.) While O’Sullivan appears to have [...] Click here to continue reading.

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is in New York City and connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was designed by John Augustus Roebling as a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge. Roebling was killed in an accident just before construction started in 1869. His son Washington A. Roebling who had assisted his father in the design of the Brooklyn bridge and several other projects then took over the job of chief engineer at the [...] Click here to continue reading.

Martinez, Maria – Native American Potter

Maria Martinez and the Martinez Potters

Few craft artists, Native American or otherwise, can claim worldwide fame and appreciation, but these accompanied the life of potter Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo. Through her hard work and generous sharing of her techniques, Maria reintroduced the art of pottery making to her people, providing them with a means of artistic expression and for retaining some aspects of the pueblo way of life.

San Ildefonso Pueblo [...] Click here to continue reading.

Wetherbee, Isaac Augustus

Isaac Augustus Wetherbee, 19th Century Portrait Painter & Photographer

Isaac Augustus Wetherbee (also spelled Wetherby) was born in Providence, Rhode Island on December 6th, 1819 to Isaac Wetherbee and Sophia Greene. He was painting in the Norfolk County / Boston area in the late 1830′s and 1840′s. The 1842 Boston City Directory lists him as a portrait painter and he is thought to have been one of the earliest Daguerreotype photographers. According to the [...] Click here to continue reading.

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