Chapter 1: Burying a Legend
“John Burke’s body lies a’mouldering in the grave”
How is it possible that one of the most famous men of his era – a man who built Buffalo Bill into a towering legend and was “loved by everyone with whom he has come into contact” – could have been relegated to an unmarked grave?
Chapter 2: The Big Tent of P.T. Barnum and Tody Hamilton
“A blazing kaleidoscopic vision”
We live in the age of marketing. But thanks to the Great Showman and the Octosyllabic Artist, so did our great-great-grandparents.
Chapter 3: Boom or Boost: Promoting the West
“We have watched the flow of immigration… obliterating every vestige of the pioneer trails”
The American West was the perfect soil for the pioneers of promotion, and the promotion of pioneers.
Chapter 4: The Hero Cody and the Myth-Maker Burke
“The finest specimen of God’s handiwork I had ever seen”
John M. Burke didn’t invent Buffalo Bill, the Wild West show, or the modern concept of celebrity; he just buffed them to a blinding sheen.
Chapter 5: The News-Maker, Moses P. Handy
“Your dispatch magnificent beat”
How a genial ex-Confederate lieutenant pulled off the journalistic coup of the century… and then pulled the journalism industry into the future.
Chapter 6: Birth and Growth of the Wild West
“Thunder of hoofs, clank of spurs, rattle of pistols”
There has never been another show quite like Buffalo Bill’s Wild West: it was big, noisy, colorful, thrilling, and it was brilliantly promoted.
Chapter 7: Evolution of a Marketing Virtuoso
“The vandal hands of John Burke”
From the press junket to the mobile billboard to the fine art of reputation management, John M. Burke somehow ran a 21st Century marketing campaign in the tail end of the 19th.
Chapter 8: The Battle for the World’s Fair
“An extraordinary exhibition of indecorum”
In a nasty campaign, Chicago and New York vied for the rights to host the World’s Columbian Exposition, and in so doing set the tone for the greatest promotional event of the era.
Chapter 9: The Department of Publicity and Promotion
“Riding on the crest of the gilded wave”
From Budapest to Bedouin tents, how Moses P. Handy turned the World’s Fair into the best publicized event of the 19th Century, or maybe any Century.
Chapter 10: 1893
“What could fill the eye with beauty, what could stir the soul with immensity”
Like disparate railroad lines converging toward a station, the groundbreaking marketing efforts of these pioneers of promotion came together to make 1893 into a magical and seminal year.
Chapter 11: Denouement
“The last gasp in arenic marvels.”
In a world of telephones, motion pictures, and war, Hamilton, Burke and Handy still managed to stay one breathless stride ahead ahead of the masses.
Chapter 12: Legacies
“Like a masterpiece by a weaver wrought”
Old press agents never die; they just give birth to entirely new industries.