When you think of the American West, you don’t often think of Europe. But William F. Cody, widely known as Buffalo Bill, did. The American frontiersman, army scout and eventual showman was the founder of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West exhibition, a popular traveling show in the late 19th and early 20th century. When he first created the show, Cody’s ultimate goal was to make it to Europe.
The Popular Frontier: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Transnational Mass Culture explores the tour’s impact on European culture, and, in turn, how Americans understand that impact. The collection of essays is part of the William F. Cody Series on the History and Culture of the American West.
Kamila Kudelska spoke with the editor of the book, Frank Christianson, on the importance of the transatlantic tours in Europe and how they eventually impacted America’s national identity.