I’m intrigued by the story of Dora Hand, the Dodge City saloon singer. Do any photos of her exist?
Terri J. Huck
The beautiful Dora Hand is said to have been the inspiration for the role of Miss Kitty in the Gunsmoke series that aired on CBS from 1955 to 1975.
To answer this, I wrote my friend (and True West Publisher Emeritus) Robert G. McCubbin, one of the foremost experts and collectors of Old West photos. He says, “There is a photo in a book I trust, Dodge City: Up Through a Century in Story and Pictures, by Fredric R. Young, published by Boot Hill Museum, in 1972.”
The photo caption reads, “Dora Hand, a singer in the variety theaters of the West under the name Fannie Keenan, was the tragic victim of an assassin’s bullet meant for the mayor of Dodge City, Dog Kelley. A performer in the Comique and Variety theaters in Dodge City, she was known as a ‘prepossessing woman [whose] artful winning ways brought many admirers within her smiles and blandishments.’’’