Comparing Billy to BillyDecide for yourself if the carte de visite reveals more about the Kid than the tintype does.
Late last year, our publisher emeritus, Robert G. McCubbin, received a phone call from a gentleman, whose family had formerly lived in Silver City, New Mexico, asking if McCubbin would take a look at a photo of Billy the Kid that the family had owned for a long time.
The man and his wife brought the photo to Santa Fe. McCubbin took a good look at it and assured them, “It is the real thing.” The family’s carte de visite (CDV) was probably made no earlier than after the Kid escaped from the Lincoln County Courthouse jail on April 28, 1881, when news of his jailbreak hit the press, McCubbin says. Afterwards, the Kid was on-the-run, hiding out, until his death on July 14. The CDV may not have been made until after he was dead.
A native of Missouri’s Jesse James Country, Mark Lee Gardner is the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West and the Spur award-winning Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape. Since 1986, he has called Colorado home, where he lives with his wife, Katie, and where their two children, Christiana and Vance, were born.