“It is now some generations since Josh Billings, Ned Buntline, and Colonel Prentiss Ingraham, intimate friends of Colonel William F. Cody, used to foregather in the office of Francis S. Smith, then proprietor of the New York Weekly. It was a dingy little office on Rose Street, in New York, but the breath of the great outdoors stirred there when these old-timers got together. As a result of these conversations, Colonel Ingraham and Ned Buntline began to write of the adventures of Buffalo Bill for Street & Smith.” - Foreward to Buffalo Bill Border Stories No. 44, copyright 1907.
Ned Buntline wrote the first Buffalo Bill serial, Buffalo Bill, the King of the Border Men, for Street & Smith’s New York Weekly story paper beginning December 23, 1869. He followed up with two more serials, Buffalo Bill’s Best Shot; or, the Heart of Spotted Tail, and Buffalo Bill’s Last Victory; or, Dove Eye, the Lodge Queen. Street & Smith’s Log Cabin Library reprinted the last two titles. Buntline also wrote Texas Jack; or, Buffalo Bill’s Brother for De Witt’s Ten Cent Romances.
Colonel Prentiss Ingraham’s father was Joseph Holt Ingraham, author of the 1836 romance Lafitte, or The Pirate of the Gulf. Ingraham the younger, who also wrote as Major Dangerfield Burr, began writing Buffalo Bill serials for the story papers of Beadle & Adams. In 1882 Beadle's Boy's Library of Sport, Story and Adventure Volume 1 # 1 published Adventures of Buffalo Bill, From Boyhood to Manhood. Beadle story paper serials were then reprinted in Beadle’s New York Dime Library and Beadle’s Half-Dime Library.
Contrary to the reminiscence above Ingraham did not join Street & Smith until 1901, and then quite reluctantly, it took the urging of Gilbert Patten and a meeting with Ormond G. Smith to convince him to write for the firm. His first story for Smith was Buffalo Bill, the Border King: A Story of Daring Deeds, which appeared in Buffalo Bill Stories No. 1 on May 18, 1901. To add some confusion Smith reprinted Beadle & Adams serials in the Log Cabin Library as well as new Ingraham stories. The Colonel passed away in 1904 and the Buffalo Bill Stories were taken over by St. George Rathborne and lady novelist Laurana W. Sheldon (Nos. 160 through 170). Other authors included William Wallace Cook, W. Bert Foster, and John H. Whitson.
Buffalo Bill Stories ceased publication on September 4, 1912 and New Buffalo Bill Weekly began publishing reprints with number 1 of that issue. Following these were a series of paperback reprints in Far West Library, Buffalo Bill Border Stories, and Great Western Library. In 1919 Buffalo Bill Weekly became Western Story.
Five issues of Beadle’s Half-Dime Library were given as “by Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody),” No. 8, Kansas King; or, the Red Right Hand, No. 19, The Phantom Spy; or, the Pilot of the Prairie, No. 55, Deadly-Eye, the Unknown Scout, No. 68, Border Robin Hood; or, the Prairie Rover, and no. 158, Fancy Frank of Colorado; or, the Trapper’s Trust and four Buffalo Bill titles were published in Frank Tousey’s Wide Awake Library. In 1894 appeared a sixth Buffalo Bill authored work, Wild Bill, the Wild West Duelist : or, The Girl Mascot of Moonlight Mine.
In England in 1886 Ralph Rollington published Buffalo Bill, by Captain M. Hunter, in The New Boys’ Paper. Reprints of Ned Buntline’s Buffalo Bill’s Best Shot and Buffalo Bill’s Last Victory appeared in William Emmett Laurence’s Young Briton about 1871.
In 1887 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show opened at Earls Court Exhibition in London and George Purkess Jr. issued 74 penny numbers of Buffalo Bill to capitalize on his popularity. General Publishing Company issued a Buffalo Bill Wild West Series at the same time. Also that year James Henderson’s Weekly Budget published Buffalo Bill’s Secret Service Trail, by Major Dangerfield Burr, (Colonel Ingraham) 5th Regt. Cavalry, U.S. Army, Red Renard, the Indian Detective; or the Gold Buzzards of Colorado, by Buffalo Bill (Hon. W. F. Cody), The Personal Recollections of Buffalo Bill, by Col. Paul B. Sutcliffe, late U. S. Army, and The White King of the Pawnees, by Ned Buntline. Buffalo Bill’s First Trail; or, Will Cody the Pony Express Rider, was adapted for James Henderson’s Young Folks by Captain W. D. L’Estrange.
In 1907 James Henderson and Sons Nugget Library featured Buffalo Bill’s Chum; or, Little Grit the Wild Rider. Amalgamated published a Nugget Library in 1920. Aldine’s Buffalo Bill Library began in 1916 and in 1926 Buffalo Bill and Janver’s Treasure appeared in no. 27 of George Newnes New Redskin Library.