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 Billy the Kid's Famous Photo

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Chris Lampe
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PostSubject: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:33 pm

I know that some BTK fans share my fascination with the photograph of Billy the Kid. I recently found a very good article that summarizes the findings from a BTK Symposium in 1989. There's nothing earth-shattering or new but it is the most comprehensive write-up and summary I've seen. I can't believe I never found this over the several years I've been interested in BTK but Cliff has provided some of this information in past posts.

http://www.newmexico.org/billythekid/billypages/famous_photo.php
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Dave
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PostSubject: BTK tintype   Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:22 am

Hey Chris, thanks for the post. As you know, like yourself I have a great fascination with the original Dedrick tintype as well as many interesting purported photos of the kid...you and I have kicked this one around a bunch and I will always be very grateful for the images and research you have shared with me in the past...my current aviatar being a fine example.
One of the things I've always found interesting with the Dedrick tintype is the white tag on the lapel of the sweater with the initials PM on the tag. At one time Marcelle posted a nice, clean enlargement of the tintype that was from a past issue of True West "Life and times of Billy the Kid" by Bob Boze Bell. PM...hmmmmm Paulita Maxwell? Pete Maxwell.?..something to think about. Maybe we could sweet talk Marcelle into posting that picture again.
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Chris Lampe
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:06 pm

Dave,

Yes, the "PM" tag on Billy's sweater is intriguing! It's interesting that it wasn't mentioned at the symposium. Once you know it's there it's very easy to spot on any decent copy of that tintype. My main reference copy is a photo I took of the life-size version of the tintype in the LC courthouse. What I would really like is a digital version of the photo from the inside front cover of BBB's "Illustrated Life". I've read that that particular image is the most accurate representation of what the tintype looks (looked??) like in real life. The "PM" tag is also clearly visible in that photo.

As to what it means, Pedro (or Pete) Maxwell makes more sense than Paulita Maxwell. I can see Billy wearing one of Pete's old sweaters but I'm not sure if Paulita would put her initials on it if she knitted it.
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Bronte
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:32 pm

Chris-I was going to e-mail you this same article about a week ago but I had lost your addy.James gave me your info but I got busy and forgot to send it to you.I guess you was suppose to find it anyway so I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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Dave
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PostSubject: Dedrick tintype PM initials   Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:18 pm

Chris and Bronte...I found my saved clean copy of the Dedrick tintype showing the PM initials from BBB's "Life and times..

email me at dspoon2@tx.rr.com and I will reply with an attachment for you
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Chris Lampe
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Thanks Dave!!

That is the photo from the inside cover of BBB's book. I wish we could get a big hi-res version of it!
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Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:10 pm

Me too chris...it is by far the cleanest reproduction of the Dedrick tintype and of course you and I share the same fascination with the Dedrick and the purported other photos of BTK...I think Marcelle may have an even better file on this photo than I do...I know she posted it on the old board at one time...How'bout it Marcelle?????
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Marcelle Brothers
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:13 pm


Here you go as requested!!


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http://aboutbillythekid.forumotion.net
Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:47 am

Thanks Marcelle!!!

Alright guys...give us your opinion...who do you think PM is??

My vote is for Paulita Maxwell...a big ol fuzzy sweater to keep her Billy boy toasty warm
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linda J
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PostSubject: Billy' photo   Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:17 pm

Her or her brother. Or maybe Billy bought it at the Maxwell annual yardsale. lol
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Bronte
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:59 pm

The romantic in me wants to believe that Paulita Maxwell wrote her initials inside the sweater as a way of reminding Billy that she was back home sitting in front of the fire in her favorite rocking chair waiting for his next visit.I have no proof of that so I really have no idea as to why Billy has the letters PM written on his very stylish sweater.Maybe it is as simple as Linda said he picked it up from one of the Maxwell's yardsales.
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Chris Lampe
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:43 pm

I would say that either Paulita Maxwell or Pedro (Pete) Maxwell is as good a guess as any and probably the closest I would speculate. It's also possible that the "PM" doesn't stand for either and could be something else entirely. What else it might be, I have no idea.
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Bronte
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:20 am

I wish there was an even more cleaned-up version out there that we could study.I was wondering if anyone on here can tell me why its always said that Billy posed for the tintype outside of Beavers Saloon? is there authentic proof or is it passed down gossip? if its just part of the BTK lore then I would love to know who was responsible for that little tidbit on the tintype.
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Pippen



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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:53 am

When you enlarge the photo significantly you'll find out that the hat isn't covering any hair line, i.e. if someone could wizard the hat away via software we could get a pretty accurate photo of the hatless Billy. How the hair was structured can be seen anyway on his neck (on his head the hair was certainly not that curly, just a bit because of gravity).

Also one sees that Billy had just ONE prominant tooth.
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linda J
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:40 pm

I think Billy probably had wavy hair. Sort of looks like it in the photo his hair is on his neck a little bit. I have wavy hair and mine tends to do the same thing along the back of my hair.
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Bronte
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:42 pm

Whats up with his right ear? it looks deformed to me or is it just the way his hat has it pressed down? I bet we would all be shocked if we was able to see billy in life-form.We would probably not even realize that it was him.After all Paulita said that the tintype didn't do him true justice in what he really looked like on a daily basis.
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Chris Lampe
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:22 pm

Bronte wrote:
Whats up with his right ear? it looks deformed to me or is it just the way his hat has it pressed down? I bet we would all be shocked if we was able to see billy in life-form.We would probably not even realize that it was him.After all Paulita said that the tintype didn't do him true justice in what he really looked like on a daily basis.

I've wondered quite a bit about Billy's ear(s) and I now believe that both of his ears did stick out that much. I've considered the possibility that his hat is pushing his ears out but self-experimentation has shown me there is no way a hat could do that to my ears. Maybe it could work with other people. I've also wondered about the discrepancy between the appearance of his ears and I now believe the left ear is simply not visible due to lighting, the angle of the photo and possibly damage to the photo. It is interesting to note that the woodcut of the tintype in Garrett's 1880's edition of "Authentic Life" shows a very apparent discrepancy between the two ears.

I've also wondered if the stand is affecting his ears but I don't believe it is due to the two prongs being clearly visible on either side of his neck. The few photos I've found of those old stands show only two contact points for the body although one of the purported photos in BBB's book shows what appears to be a more complex system of contact with the body.

I've always felt that Paulita's statement about Billy's appearance has been mischaracterized. I don't have the exact quote handy but she seems to be saying that in the tintype he didn't look like the well-groomed and stylish guy she knew in Fort Sumner. I don't think she was saying it didn't look like him but rather his grooming and clothing weren't representative of how he looked when cleaned up. Also, that tintype corresponds very closely with all of the contemporary descriptions of Billy that I've read. It's my belief that if we ever see another photo of the Kid there will be no doubt it's him. It won't be a guy who simply resembles him (like so many photos do) but rather it will be a guy who is unmistakably the same person.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:51 am

[quote="Chris Lampe"]
Bronte wrote:

I've always felt that Paulita's statement about Billy's appearance has been mischaracterized. I don't have the exact quote handy but she seems to be saying that in the tintype he didn't look like the well-groomed and stylish guy she knew in Fort Sumner. I don't think she was saying it didn't look like him but rather his grooming and clothing weren't representative of how he looked when cleaned up. Also, that tintype corresponds very closely with all of the contemporary descriptions of Billy that I've read. It's my belief that if we ever see another photo of the Kid there will be no doubt it's him. It won't be a guy who simply resembles him (like so many photos do) but rather it will be a guy who is unmistakably the same person.

That is my opinion too. Paulita referred more to his clothes than his face. Also one might consider that "handsome" in the Old West wasn't what we call "handsome" today. It was a hard country, no plastic surgery, no special nutrition, no teeth correction or fitness center...people were just more tolerant in talking someone as "handsome"...and if you look at him he looks just like a normal young guy....
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Bronte
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:05 am

I've seen pictures of the stands that was used to hold the person in place or to keep them still and IMO, they would not effect Billy's ears as they seem to look in the tintype..As fas as what Paulita meant your right she could have been talking about his clothing rather than his physical appearance.I can't remember everything she said about him but she did say that he wasn't drop-dead handsome but that his personality won him many lady-friends.When I get time I'm gonna look her statement up just for the heck of it.
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Chris Lampe
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:42 am

Bronte wrote:
I've seen pictures of the stands that was used to hold the person in place or to keep them still and IMO, they would not effect Billy's ears as they seem to look in the tintype..As fas as what Paulita meant your right she could have been talking about his clothing rather than his physical appearance.I can't remember everything she said about him but she did say that he wasn't drop-dead handsome but that his personality won him many lady-friends.When I get time I'm gonna look her statement up just for the heck of it.

I think one of the biggest problems I've encountered is that I hear the historian's take on things and then when I read the same source material I come to a completely different conclusion. In this instance, several prominent historians have stated or at least implied that Paulita said the guy in the tintype does not look like Billy the Kid when that is not what she said at all.
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Bronte
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:32 am

I believe she said that the tintype didn't do him justice.Which is totally different from her saying that it wasn't billy.I guess we can assume that he was better looking in real life and that he was having a bad hair day in the tintype.I hope so anyway (lol)
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Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:10 am

could the nicely shined youg fella in my aviatar be the spiffy Billy that won Paulita's heart ?(and a few other queiridos to boot)..this photo has always fascinated me because it does have some provinance as it was found by Luz Jarmillo (Paulita's GG grandaughter in an album that belonged to Paulita)...makes ya wonder...I got a reply from Frederick Nolan on another board about a year ago and he too leaned somewhat to the possibilities...too bad that little 1 x 1 photo had no written identifiers on it...even if it isn't Billy, the general appearance and the tilt of the head (not to mention the cocky little smirk) just has BTK written all over it
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:25 pm

Dave wrote:
could the nicely shined youg fella in my aviatar be the spiffy Billy that won Paulita's heart ?(and a few other queiridos to boot)..this photo has always fascinated me because it does have some provinance as it was found by Luz Jarmillo (Paulita's GG grandaughter in an album that belonged to Paulita)...makes ya wonder...I got a reply from Frederick Nolan on another board about a year ago and he too leaned somewhat to the possibilities...too bad that little 1 x 1 photo had no written identifiers on it...even if it isn't Billy, the general appearance and the tilt of the head (not to mention the cocky little smirk) just has BTK written all over it

Your left avatar pic looks like Tom Folliard. No way Billy IMO.
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Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:20 am

I guess different people see different things
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Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Billy the Kid's Famous Photo   Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:00 am

Why would Paulita Maxwell have a photo of Tom Folliard in her album?? A picture of Billy?? Oh yeah.. look closely at the ears, chin etc and then consider the angle of the head tilt in both photos...all of us tend to "pose" the same way when our pics are taken..smiling with mouth closed..smiling with teeth showing etc. I have a good friend who tilts her head like that in every picture I've ever seen of her. To me the picture in the avitar looks nothing like Tom Folliard
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