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Bisbee (William Henry) Papers and Manuscripts
MSA.34  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Brigadier General William Henry Bisbee (1840 January 28 - 1942 June 11) served 41 years of military duty with the United States Army, through the Civil War, the American Indian Wars, the Cuban Revolution in 1898, and the Spanish-American War of 1898. He was awarded four War Medals by Congress, a Purple Heart, and an impressive collection of promotions from five U.S. Presidents. This collection of documents spanning from 1846-1937 includes correspondence, military orders, maps, photographs, and notes regarding Bisbee's military engagements, as well as manuscripts and papers regarding the publication of his biography, Through Four American Wars.
Background
William Henry Bisbee was born to William and Harriet Bisbee in Woonsocket, Rhode Island on 1840 January 28. In 1853, Bisbee's mother died, and left his father to raise five children. Bisbee got an opportunity to learn the dry goods trade in Philadelphia. Three years later, traveling businessman Fletcher G. Welch visited Philadelphia and hired Bisbee to go west to Ohio with him. In 1858, gold fever returned to Ohio. Welch had a dream of joining the gold seekers in Colorado, and opening a photography studio in the burgeoning community. Welch hired Bisbee to accompany him, and together with a couple of other men, they set off in 1859. Their trek was months long and treacherous, and Bisbee began to learn the lay of the land as well as beginning relationships with Native American tribes and learning about their cultures. By the time Fletcher, Bisbee, and their group reached the Denver area, their supplies were dwindling and their photography equipment had been ruined. They spent the summer of 1859 panning for gold, but came up empty handed. After some hunting trips to New Mexico, they sold off their unprofitable claims and returned to Ohio. Bisbee picked up mercantile trade again, now with experience in travel, the West, and Native American life.
Extent
3 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry Museum of the American West. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Research Services and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry Museum of the American West as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Availability
Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit https://theautry.org/research-collections/library-and-archives and fill out the Researcher Application Form.