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The Ed Goodman Collection

The Ed Goodman collection is extraordinary not only for its source but for the care it received. And the source and provenance are perfect. Edward Robert Goodman (1868-1949) was the second child (and second son) of eight children born to Julia Cody Goodman and her husband, James Alvin Goodman. Julia was the older sister of William Frederick Cody, "Buffalo Bill." Julia was a sort of "mother-sister" to Will, and she remained his lifelong best friend and confidante. Cody always took a special interest in Julia's and Al's kids.

Ed was born on his father's farm near Leavenworth, Kansas, but as a teenager moved with his family to Buffalo Bill's Scout's Rest Ranch at North Platte, Nebraska. In 1886 his Uncle Will offered the eighteen-year-old the adventure of a lifetime -- to come to New York and join the Wild West show. After a successful summer season at Erastina on Staten Island, and a triumphant winter run in Madison Square Garden, Cody prepared his show join the American Exhibition at Earls Court, London, for the 1887 celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Ed served as his uncle's indispensable aide during an exhausting season when Buffalo Bill was the lion of British society as well as the star and manager of the Wild West. By 1888, Ed had assumed a managerial role, but he felt that it was time to strike out on his own. The partners, Cody and Salsbury, were sorry to see him go, and Salsbury provided him with a glowing letter of recommendation.

Ed decided to launch himself into the financial world and started work as an insurance agent in a Denver bank. Within a few years he was ready for something different. Once again his uncle provided the opportunity. In 1896 Buffalo Bill invited Ed to take part in the founding of Cody, Wyoming, "a brand new country where it takes but little capital to start with." Along with Buffalo Bill's trusted protege (and Ed's friend) Charles Trego, Ed took an active role in Cody's many Wyoming enterprises. In the face of some local opportunistic maneuvering, Ed helped his uncle secure a post office for the new town (to be named "Cody" rather than "Shoshone" or "Westfield") and was named postmaster.

Within a few years, Ed moved back to North Platte. There, in 1905, he married Grace Bratt, daughter of pioneer rancher, businessman, and political leader John Bratt and his wife, Elizabeth. The Bratts and the Codys had been close friends since the 1870s. John Bratt was almost certainly the source for the family's remarkable collection of photographs and documents related to the region's early history.

Ed's and Grace's first child, John Bratt Goodman, was born in North Platte in 1912. Not long after, Ed pursued his business ambitions to Denver where their second child, Dorothea, was born in 1920.

Ed was on hand when Buffalo Bill died in Denver in 1917. He had enjoyed a very close and affectionate relationship with his famous uncle. And his two-year adventure with Buffalo Bill's Wild West, not to mention the lifetime friendships he made among the show's people, had a profound influence on his life. All of this is reflected in the breadth and extraordinary quality of this collection. Ed obviously was meticulous in the care and handling of the photographs -- the events, the places, and especially the people recorded in them were important to him. This collection has remained in the family until now, and it is being offered by Ed Goodman's heirs. No comparable collection of Wild West photographs in such uniformly superb condition has ever before been offered for sale.

The condition of most of the photographs and ephemera listed below can therefore be considered to be excellent except when otherwise noted.