Doc Holliday, A Family Portrait, by Karen Holliday Tanner

In Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait, Karen Holliday Tanner, a distant cousin, reveals the real man behind the legend. Shedding light on Holliday’s early years in a prominent Georgia family during the Civil War and Reconstruction, she examines the elements that shaped his destiny: his birth defect, the death of his mother and estrangement from his father, and the diagnosis of tuberculosis, which led to his journey west.

Using previously undisclosed family documents and reminiscences as well as other primary sources, Tanner documents the true story of Holliday’s friendship with the Earp brothers and his run-ins with the law, including the climactic shootout at the O.K. Coral and its aftermath.


The Holliday family connection to the Ware family line will be of special interest to the Ware family member readers. But, I don’t want to enter this too far right now. It is documented and is very interesting reading. Tanner includes Genealogy charts of both Ware and Holliday families and their connection to one another. I found this book to be extremely interesting to know more about the man behind the many movies made about him.

Wayne Ware


Doc Holliday, A Family Portrait, by Karen Holliday Tanner — 14 Comments

  1. As a native Southerner myself, I find it very strange that Doc would have been brought home to Georgia and rebutted in an unmarked grave. Famous individuals of the old west such as Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Hickok have large black wrought iron fences around their graves to insure security. I find it very sad that of all the colorful figures of the old west, America does not know, for certain, where Doc Holliday is really buried.

  2. My father is a 2nd or 3rd cousin to Doc Holliday. I would like to be able to contact Ms Tanner or any other family members as my father who is 83 has questions. I would kindly appreciate any help

  3. My grandfather is a holiday. We believe it’s related to doc hoLliday. Its in papers. That my aunt found. And the holadays have spelt the name different so many times.

  4. Thanks Terry I will give you a call in a couple of days as my work schedule is quite full now. There have been a couple of other people who have been interested in the Doc and I will look up their comments. I know people have tried to get in touch with the author, Mrs. Tanner, but to no avail. I can direct you to her publisher at the University of Kentucky and I believe she ay be able to pass a message along to Mrs. Tanner.


  5. I have a picture that could possibly be Doc Holliday. It was found under an old house in 1948 by my Mother in Georgia.It looks very much like his graduation picture from dental school.And on the back it says photographed by B.F. Reimer.Philadelphia.Contact me at or call at 706-371-0944.Thanks

  6. Looking to contact any of the descendants of Robert Alexander Holliday. Have some original photos which I believe are of Doc Holliday, Kate and Robert A. Holliday.

    Please contact me on



  7. The book describes exactly when and where Doc Holliday was buried. It is possible for obvious reasons, that Doc was buried in an unknown location, but the author indicates that the information contained in her book has been thoroughly investigated and authenticated. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

  8. im not sure what to believe…so many stories. Id love to contact a real relatives of docs. hes an interesting man to say the least and why he haunts my mind alot im not sure of either. id get chills just thinking of walking where he walked,…or see what he saw. The strange thing is…doc never knew he would be this thought of after he was gone,,,RIP John Henry..Doc Holliday

  9. I believe that I possibly am one of the few living persons left who know where Doc Holliday is actually date no one has even come close.I bought a lever action Winchester from an ole boy in Glenwood Springs,Co. We got to talking about the old west and the men who lived in it.He showed me Doc’s unmarked grave and then swore me to secrecy. Cliff Bonham formally of Basalt,Co.

  10. I would like to contact Karen Holliday Tanner as i have two 8 x 10 tintypes that many have identified as Kate Elder and the other as Doc Holliday. Can you please help me contact her or another family member? I would appreciate your help. Kindest regards, Glendy Valdez-Medcalf

  11. Dorothy, Thank you for your nice comments. You can view this on; WARE FAMILY TREE. It is one of about 6 that I currently going. My personal one is: CONRAD WAYNE WARE FAMILY TREE that I’m trying to connect to the one mentioned above. Have a great week.

  12. WOW what an impressive site you have and so much information. My ancestors came from Ireland and settled in Mississippi. I was trying to see if and how I connect to your tree branches.. This is really awesome. I would love to see the photos you have. Thanks for sharing all this.

  13. Looks like an interesting read. I’ll be anxious to see which line of Ware’s this will identify.
    Thanks for the review. Just can’t beat a good book and a good read.

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