Famous People of the Old West, Researching Historical Fiction

The original Las Vegas

When I was researching the Doc Holliday artifacts auctioned off in Harrisburg, Pa., I was dismayed that the auction house’s website erroneously refers to Las Vegas, Nevada, as the last place Doc Holliday practiced dentistry. It was Las Vegas, New Mexico, as any student of Western history would know and as the letter accompanying his… Continue reading The original Las Vegas

Famous People of the Old West, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

Of dental chairs, frock coats and the hearts of women

Harrisburg, Pa., recently auctioned off about 8,000 historical artifacts that former Mayor Stephen Reed had collected for a Wild West museum that never happened. The auction netted the city $2.7 million, which sounds good except that Reed reportedly spent $8.3 million buying the stuff. Allen Barra, writing in the October issue of True West magazine,… Continue reading Of dental chairs, frock coats and the hearts of women

Famous People of the Old West, Researching Historical Fiction

Doc Holliday’s incessant cough

It’s hard to believe now, but in the first half of the 19th century, tuberculosis—or consumption, as it was known until the 1880s—was responsible for one in five deaths, making it America’s deadliest disease. It was widely believed to be hereditary (like insanity), in part because multiple family members across generations died of the disease.… Continue reading Doc Holliday’s incessant cough