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Annie Oakley - famous rifle shot and holder of the Police Gazette championship medal


Annie Oakley - famous rifle shot and holder of the Police Gazette championship medal



Portrait photograph of sharpshooter Annie Oakley, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, holding rifle, with many medals pinned across the top of her dress.
46279 U.S. Copyright Office.

Copyright 1899 (July 15) by Richard K. Fox.
Exhibited: "The Great American Hall of Wonders : Art, Science, and Invention in the Nineteenth Century" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., July 2011-January 2012.

Annie Oakley was an American sharpshooter and entertainer who rose to fame in the late 1800s. She was born in 1860 and grew up in Ohio. As a young girl, she learned to shoot and became an expert marksman. She later joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, where she performed for many years and became known for her shooting skills. She was also a member of the sharpshooting team known as the "Little Sure Shots." Oakley continued to perform and tour until she retired in 1913. She died in 1926 at the age of 66. Annie Oakley was born Phoebe Ann Moses—called Annie by her family—on August 13, 1860, in Darke County, Ohio. Oakley developed hunting skills as a child to provide for her impoverished family in western Ohio. At age 15, she won a shooting contest against an experienced marksman, Frank E. Butler, whom she later married in 1876. Annie’s family finances were not good. Annie used her father’s old Kentucky rifle to hunt small game for the Katzenberger brother’s grocery store in Greenville, Ohio, where it was resold to hotels and restaurants in Cincinnati, 80 miles away. Annie was so successful at hunting that she was able to pay the $200 mortgage on her mother’s house with the money she earned. She was 15 years old. Jack Frost, a hotel owner in Cincinnati invited her to participate in a shooting contest against a well-known marksman, Frank E. Butler. Annie won the match with twenty-five shots out of twenty-five attempts. Butler missed one of his shots. This amazing girl entranced Butler, and the two shooters began a courtship that resulted in marriage on August 23, 1876, and working together in a show. Annie filled in by holding objects for Frank to shoot at, and doing some of her own shooting. It was at this time that Annie adopted the stage name of Oakley. At a March 1884 performance in St. Paul, Minnesota, Annie befriended the Lakota leader Sitting Bull. Butler and Oakley joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1885. With the Wild West, Oakley, not Butler, was the star. Butler became her manager and assistant. Oakley and Butler prospered with the Wild West and remained with the show for seventeen years. In 1926, after fifty happy years of marriage, the Butlers died. Annie Oakley died on November 3 and Frank Butler died on November 21, within three weeks of each other. Both died of natural causes after a long and adventuresome life. Thanks to Hollywood and history, the legend of Annie Oakley endures into the twenty-first century through motion pictures, television, on the stage, in history books, and in museums.





Fox, R. K. (Richard Kyle), 1846-, copyright claimant


Library of Congress

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