Montana State University

MSU historian to give Nov. 2 lecture on "Buffalo Bill in Butte and Beyond"

October 20, 2011 -- MSU News Service


A postcard illustration depicts Buffalo Bill in Italy in 1906. (Courtesy of Bob Rydell).    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
BOZEMAN - A free public lecture on "Buffalo Bill in Butte and Beyond" will be presented Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Montana State University.

Robert Rydell, the Michael P. Malone Professor of History and author of a Pulitzer Prize-nominated book on Buffalo Bill, will give his lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Hager Auditorium of the Museum of the Rockies. A pre-lecture reception will be held at 6 p.m. in the Bair Lobby of the museum. No tickets are necessary.

Buffalo Bill was the rock star of America's Gilded Age, according to Rydell, co-author of "Buffalo Bill in Bologna." The book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in history in 2006.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows, along with circuses and world's fairs, were a major transmitter of American mass culture between 1869 and 1922, Rydell said. They portrayed American heroism and industry. They depicted conquest and progress. They introduced Europeans to popcorn, the Colt revolver and the Winchester repeating rifle.

Buffalo Bill's life has been examined from multiple perspectives, most of which focus on questions of authenticity or exploitation, Rydell said. The MSU historian suggests, however, that Buffalo Bill's show may be best understood in terms of its modernity and cosmopolitanism. Rydell frames Buffalo Bill and his Wild West show on the wider world stage.

The Malone Professorship was created in the memory of distinguished historian and former MSU President Michael P. Malone. The professorship is a three-year appointment that has been held previously by MSU history professors Billy Smith and Mary Murphy. Rydell was named to the Malone Professorship in 2010.

For a related story on Rydell, read "Buffalo Bill lassoed Europe with his Wild West shows"

For a related story about Murphy, read "Mary Murphy named to Malone Professorship."

For a related story about Smith, read "Smith awarded first Malone Professorship."

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu