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    Annie Oakley: A Cabinet Photo, Touchingly Inscribed and Signed. In a sale with so many of Annie Oakley's personal things, true expressions of her personality, it is hard to say just what is the most intimate piece. This is certainly one of them. Buffalo Bill's "foster son" Johnny Baker was Annie's and Frank's best friend in the Wild West. Johnny and Annie joined the show at almost the same time, and in 1885 Annie took the fifteen-year-old under her wing (she was nine years older) and taught him to shoot. He eventually became a star shooter in his own right.

    After the Wild West's return from Europe in 1892, Johnny courted and married the daughter of the show's treasurer, Jule Keen. Their first daughter, Gladys, was soon born, and Frank Butler became her godfather. Tragically, Mrs. Baker died of complications after giving birth to their second daughter, Della, in 1896. The whole cast and crew mourned, but Annie did more. She "adopted" Johnny's little girls, perhaps making up in a way for her own inability to have children, and the two girls frequently visited the Butlers. In 1899 an anonymous poem (written for them, probably by Frank) closed with:

    "Now I hear her, Annie Oakley
    Whispers "Babies, don't forget!
    Yes, I know you have no Mama
    And you are your papa's pets.
    Yes, I love you as a mother; And your Frank, he loves you too.
    Don't forget us, dearest babies; For our love is pure and true."

    Annie and Frank continued to the end of their lives to lavish gifts and affection on the girls. Frank's will included a bequest to his goddaughter, Gladys.

    The occasion on which this picture was taken was Johnny's marriage to his second wife, Olive Burgess. Note the pin at Annie's throat. It is a miniature painted portrait of the two girls, commissioned by Annie and Frank. On the back of the photograph, Annie has written in a firm hand: "Annie Oakley/ and her two Wards./ Gladys and Della./ Boston, 15/6/1900". Mount slightly trimmed, one restored corner crease, otherwise excellent condition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2013
    24th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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