Annie Oakley

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Annie Oakley
Phoebe Ann Moses
BirthplaceNorth Star, Ohio, United States

Oakley, Annie

Oakley, Annie, 1860–1926, American theatrical performer, b. Darke co., Ohio. Her original name was Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee. From childhood on she was a “dead shot” with a rifle. She defeated in contest the marksman and vaudeville star Frank E. Butler, who subsequently married her and became her manager and assistant. As a major attraction (1885–1902) of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show she performed remarkable feats of marksmanship. In 1901 she was injured in a railroad accident but continued to delight audiences with her brilliant shooting for 20 years. Her life was the basis for Irving Berlin's popular musical Annie Get Your Gun (1946).


See biography by W. Havighurst (1954).

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Oakley, Annie

(1860–1926) American markswoman with boyish style. [Am. Hist.: Century Cyclopedia, 2993]

Oakley, Annie

(1860–1926) renowned expert gunshooter of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. [Am. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 771]

Oakley, Annie

(1860–1926) sharpshooter; major attraction of Buffalo Bill’s show. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1982]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Oakley, Annie (b. Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee or Moses)

(1860–1926) markswoman, rodeo performer; born in Darke County, Ohio. Only five feet tall as an adult, she began shooting at age nine, and after she bested vaudeville star shooter Frank Butler, they married and toured together in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (1885–1922). Her specialty was shooting airborne playing cards, thus the name "Annie Oakleys" to free tickets (because of holes punched in them). Her life inspired the musical, Annie Get Your Gun.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.