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Annie Oakley

Image of Annie Oakley

Image courtesy of the Nutley Historical Society, Nutley, NJ

Sharpshooter Annie Oakley (1860-1926) began her career with a vaudeville shooting act in the late 1870s.

She reached international fame when Oakley and her husband Frank Butler joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1885. Oakley had grown into an expert sharpshooter as a child. She would help to support her family by selling the wild game she had killed.

During the 1890s, at the height of her fame, Oakley and her husband wintered in Nutley. In 1894, she and others from the Wild West Show met in West Orange where Thomas A. Edison made a kinescope of their performance. Throughout her career, Oakley performed for Queen Victoria of England and Kaiser William I of Germany. As a member of the Wild West Show, Oakley toured in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and England.




Carter, Alice A. The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love. New York: Harry N Abrams, Inc., 2000.

Likos, Patricia R. A Grand Vision: Violet Oakley and the American Renaissance. Philadelphia: Woodmere Art Museum, 2017.

Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee. A Sacred Challenge: Violet Oakley and the Pennsylvania Capitol Murals. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee, 2002.

Spinner, Stephanie. Who Was Annie Oakley?. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2002.

Swartwout, Annie F. Missie: The Life and Times of Annie Oakley. Darke County, OH: Coachwhip Publications, 2013.

Gleiter, Jan, Kathleen Thompson, and Yoshi Miyake. 1995. Annie Oakley. Austin, Tex: Raintree Steck-Vaughn. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/31646310 

Hamilton, John. 1996. Annie Oakley. Edina, MN: Abdo & Daughters. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/33442039

Questions to Explore

How did Oakley learn to shoot? Why did Oakley decide to make sharpshooting a Career?

What types of performances did Oakley do as a sharpshooter?

Additional Resources

Wills Charles. 2007. Annie Oakley 1St American ed. New York N.Y: DK Pub. https://www.worldcat.org/title/148739811

Kazanjian Howard and Chris Enss. 2018. The Trials of Annie Oakley. Guilford Connecticut: TwoDot. https://www.worldcat.org/title/973114240

Shields Charles J. 2002. Annie Oakley. Philadelphia: Chelsea House. https://www.worldcat.org/title/46808568 

Nees Heidi L and Ann Haugo. 2008. “Annie Oakley : Hitting the Bulls-Eye of American Identity.” Dissertation. Illinois State University. .

Gunder Marcy. 2006. “Gendered Representations of Annie Oakley in American Popular Culture.” Dissertation. George Washington University. .