Frequently Asked Questions about Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley, the feminist
Prince Edward became King Edward VII in 1901 upon the death of his mother, Queen Victoria. When Annie was presented to Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra after a command performance of Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1887, she made a statement about the democratic equality of American women. She ignored Edward's outstretched hand and first shook the hand of Princess Alexandra.
Annie was a strong advocate of shooting sports. She made it a mission to teach girls and women to be comfortable with firearms and to enjoy the outdoors with their men. The rifles she used most often were lightweight but reliable slide-action .22s such as the Remington model 1912 and the Winchester model 1906.
In 1898, Annie Oakley sent a letter to President McKinley offering "to place a company of fifty lady sharpshooters" at his disposal. She went on, "Every one of them will be an American and as they will furnish their own arms and ammunition will be little if any expense to the government." Twenty years later, in 1917, she made a similar offer to President Wilson: "I can guarantee a regiment of women for home protection, every one of whom can and will shoot if necessary." Evidently, she meant to train all these women to shoot! Both offers were politely ignored.
Images courtesy of the Darke County Historial Society