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This is the seventeenth issue of Voices From the Past. My goal for each issue is to publish some highlights of one of my historical stories as well as an update on my activities.
The Unknown Annie Oakley
Last summer, I took the opportunity of being in Cincinnati for the National Storytelling Conference to travel 80 miles north to research a story on Annie Oakley.
Surprisingly, Annie was born and grew up in western Ohio. I had a wonderful time visiting a
museum in Greenville which contains The Annie Oakley Center - two rooms devoted to her life and legacy. Here are some of the things I learned.
Unlike Broadway and Hollywood's image of a wild west, rough and tumble tomboy, Annie was a petite, demure looking, softly spoken woman who made her own modest costumes – not at all like Ethel Merman who portrayed her on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun.
But Broadway and Hollywood were correct about her shooting expertise:
- Her husband Frank would hold a cigar in his mouth and she would shoot the ashes off.
- He would hold a dime with his fingers and she would shoot the center of it.
- He would hold a playing card edgeways to her and she would shoot the card in two.
- She could shot with either hand, standing, riding a horse or riding a bicycle.
Despite being ladylike, Annie did know her own mind and wasn't afraid to speak up. For example, when Buffalo Bill's show was in London, the Prince and Princess of Wales came to the show. Annie later said,
"After I finished, the Prince called me to come up to the royal box. When I got there, he was holding out his hand. I told him: ‘You'll have to excuse me please because I'm am an American and in America, ladies come first.' I turned to his wife, Princess Alexandra, and shook her hand first. I wanted him to know for sure that I wasn't like Lille Langtry or the other performers I'd heard who were his ‘special' friends."
some more information about Annie Oakley.
News about me
I debuted my story about Annie earlier this month at Woodlawn Commons in Saratoga Springs as part of a program called "Women Who Made a Difference." I'll be presenting those stories and more in May for the Wednesday Speaker Series of the
Academy for Lifelong Learning, also in Saratoga Springs.
Thanks for reading this issue. I’ll be sending you some more story highlights in a few months.
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Copyright 2013 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.