Share This Article

COLT: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND, by William Hosley (University of Massachusetts Press, 254 pages, $49.95).

Hosley–curator of American Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut, and keeper of that museum’s extensive collection of Colt firearms–analyzes the career of Samuel Colt (1814-62), inventor of the Colt revolver, an important element in the lore of the American West. Richly illustrated, the book details the life of the man who “never wielded arms in combat, never fired at another human being, and was never more than a Sunday afternoon soldier.” The author also highlights the husband and wife partnership of Samuel and Elizabeth (1826-1905) Colt, showing that although Samuel built up an empire through the manufacture of firearms, it was Elizabeth who was responsible for turning her husband’s name into a legend after his death.