Extremely Rare Buffalo Bill & the 101 Ranch Poster by Strobridge Litho Co.
Extremely Rare Buffalo Bill & the 101 Ranch Poster by Strobridge Litho Co.- There is only one other example of these co-joined half-sheet posters known, chromolithographed with headings “Buffalo Bill” (Himself) and the 101 Ranch Shows Combined (first poster) and The Military Pageant “Preparedness” / Miller & Arlington Wild West Show Co., (Inc.) (second poster). First poster with a depiction of Col. Wm. F. Cody leading the Grand, Historic & Instructive Tableaux Features of our Daily Military Street Parade, and a vignette at top left of Regulars Furloughed by the U.S. War Dep’t. to Participate in Each Performance, plus a reproduction of a War Dep’t. letter at center left from Gen. Hugh S. Scott to Johnny Baker, authorizing men in the service to be furloughed to participate in Colonel Cody’s pageant under the conditions previously stated, dated March 10, 1916. Second poster features multiple scenes of mounted warriors and performers from around the world, plus a vignette at lower right of Johnny Baker. Printed by The Strobridge Litho Co. Cincinnati & N.Y., 1916. The poster is framed in a period frame and is in excellent condition. The poster measures as follows: Frame Size – Height – 37.5”; Width – 47.5”; Sight Size – Height – 27.5”; Width – 38.25”.
By 1916, the word “preparedness” had become highly popular as Americans found it more and more difficult to follow President Woodrow Wilson’s stance of neutrality in the face of a world war. Cody took this as an opportunity to make “Military Preparedness” his show’s central theme, and he and Joe Miller, of Miller & Arlington, convinced the U.S. War Department that regular army troops were needed for the pro-military performances. Top figures in the army quickly realized the propaganda value of this venture, and ordered regimental commanders to furnish soldiers for the “Military Pageant of Preparedness.” The program had a successful start, and was described by a New York reporter as “a rousing, exhilarating display of military power in embryo.” Despite the many challenges that the production faced during its tour, Cody hung on until the final performance of the season in Nov. 1916, however, less than two months later, he died of kidney failure in Denver, CO (Wallis, 1999: 456-461).