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Buffalo Bill Cody. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111880).


Cody, William Frederick (26 February 1846–10 January 1917), frontiersman and entertainer, better known as “Buffalo Bill,” was born in Scott County, Iowa, the son of Isaac Cody and Mary Ann Bonsell Laycock. Cody’s father managed several farms and operated a state business in Iowa. In 1854 the family moved to the Salt Creek Valley in Kansas, where Cody’s father received a government contract to provide hay to Fort Leavenworth. After his father died in 1857, Cody went to work as an ox-team driver for fifty cents a day. Shortly thereafter, the firm of Majors and Russell hired him as an express boy. Cody attended school periodically, although his formal education ended in 1859 when he joined a party heading to Denver to search for gold. He prospected for two months without any luck. He arrived back in Kansas in March 1860 after a trapping expedition. He rode for a time for the Pony Express during its short lifetime (Apr. 1860–Nov. 1861). After the start of the Civil War he joined a group of antislavery guerrillas based in Kansas. Later the Ninth Kansas Volunteers hired him as a scout and guide. On 16 February 1864 Cody enlisted into Company F of the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry. He saw quite a bit of action in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas during his one year and seven months of duty. He was mustered out of the army as a private on 29 September 1865....


Brenda Scott Royce

Oberon, Merle (19 February 1911–23 November 1979), actress, was born Estelle Merle O’Brien Thompson in Bombay, India, the daughter of Arthur Terrence O’Brien Thompson, a railway engineer, and Charlotte Constance Selby, a nurse’s assistant. The truth about Oberon’s origins and early life was not revealed until after her death. Throughout her lifetime, she steadfastly claimed to have been born into an aristocratic family in Tasmania. Ashamed of her dark-skinned mother and her poverty-stricken beginnings, she invented her own history when entering show business. She feared that the social prejudices of the day would have prevented her from becoming a star if it was known that she was half-caste. Michael Korda said in 1985, “Although I understand and sympathize with Merle, the childhood she really had must have been infinitely more interesting than the one she invented” ( ...