Buffalo Bill Center of the West

“Would it be possible to substitute for the metal bead you have on the three front sights a small light pink ivory bead, in each case the color of the lightest pink billiard ball—that is, ivory stained so as just to have a pink tinge over the whiteness and still leave it light?” Theodore Roosevelt wrote this question to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in September 1906. Roosevelt was a man who cared deeply about guns.

In 2017, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West celebrated its centennial. Beginning with the original goal of examining the life and impact of William F. Cody, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has developed into a five museum complex in Cody, Wyoming. The Center is composed of the Plains Indian Museum, the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Draper Museum of Natural History, and the Cody Firearms Museum. The McCracken Research Library also contains rare books, historic photographs, and original manuscripts, including the archive of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.

Materials in this collection include Theodore Roosevelt’s correspondence with the Winchester Company as he prepares the guns and ammunition that will be used on his 1909 African safari with his son Kermit. A Winchester advertisement with an endorsement from Roosevelt is also included. The collection documents firearm history and Roosevelt’s passion for hunting.

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