If there was ever a woman who epitomized the saying, “Well behaved women rarely make history,” that person is Caroline Lockhart. She also sought fame—if not infamy—and she recently took one more step closer to her aspiration.
It was announced on June 21, 2018, that Lockhart, the longtime Cody resident, newspaper owner, western novelist and controversial figure, has been elected to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame as part of the Fort Worth, Texas-based organization’s class of 2018. Lockhart will be inducted Nov. 1 as part of a two-day event.
Lockhart was born in Eagle Point, Illinois, on February 24, 1871, and died in Cody on July 25, 1962. Before moving west, she tried her hand at acting, with poor results, and then turned her attention to authoring writing short stories and writing articles for newspapers in Boston and Philadelphia.
She went to Cody in 1904 to do a newspaper story on the Blackfeet Indians. She must have fallen in love with the frontier town because that’s where she finally put down roots. She had always wanted to write novels, and in Cody she got her inspiration. Her second novel, The Lady Doc (1912), was purported by Lockhart to be fiction, but Cody residents saw themselves in the thinly veiled characters, and many were not happy about it!
Lockhart was viewed as an eccentric by her fellow Cody colleagues. For her time period, she was certainly unconventional: working when other women didn’t, keeping company with a pet lynx, serving alcohol during Prohibition, never marrying, but having a series of boyfriends, and writing biting commentary in the pages of the Cody Enterprise, which she owned between 1920 and 1926. She was also a co-founder of the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede rodeo. Lockhart is viewed as such an intriguing character that three biographies have been written about her.
To learn more about Lockhart, you can research the AHC’s Caroline Lockhart papers, an 11 box collection that includes correspondence (1908-1960); diaries (1898, 1918-1942); ledgers (1941-1942); photographs, including four albums; manuscripts of articles and books; legal documents, including her 1953 will and a 1959 trust agreement; materials on the Cody Stampede; artifacts; and miscellaneous materials.