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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Snow Bird: 1922

Snow Bird: 1922

February 1922. "Woman on sled being pulled by biplane in snow, with Washington Monument in background." Why not make the snow work with your commute, instead of against it? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

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This was taken on the shore of the Anacostia River at what was then Bolling Field, later Bolling AFB, and now Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. The building behind the airplane is the Army War College at what was then Washington Barracks; the College was the terminal point of an ensemble of buildings designed by McKim, Mead, and White and built in the first decade of the century. The Army refused to tear down certain old houses which spoiled the symmetry of the design, and the story is that Stanford White, who was responsible for it, drove out the gate in anger and never returned. The Lincoln conspirators were hanged in July 1865 where the tennis courts next to the Officers' Club are today. The College is now the National War College, and the installation is Fort Lesley J. McNair. I spent a year at the NWC in 1992-1993.

New Sport

This story was distributed by the International News (leased) wire lines and possibly other news services. The photo below with caption is from the February 15, 1922 newspaper The Gettysburg Times. The second photo is from the Syracuse Herald on February 19, 1922.

The caption on the second photo was, "Girl daredevil has new stunt. Miss Lois Huggins, a girl daredevil and stunt performer of national fame, has devised a new thriller which she tried out recently. Taking the idea of aquaplaning, Miss Huggins, mounted on skis rides behind an airplane that skids along the ground."

Apparently in the summer of 1922 "Sea Sledding" or "Aquaplaning" was the big thing. See the extensive article, including another small photo of Lois Huggins here.

Miss Lois Huggins

The caption accompanying the photo in the February 4, 1922, Washington Post.

“Whee-e-e-e! If you want a real thrill try this!” said Miss Lois Huggins after accepting a dare to ride an aquaplane, pulled over snow by an airplane at Bolling field yesterday.


That's a Jenny (JN4D).

It's doubtful much pulling was done. Starting an airplane on skis takes a lot of power; also the stick would be held back, which is not the case here.

Once moving, keep moving, or you have to get it moving all over again.

No bikinis

She doesn't look like she's cold, but I'll bet she didn't spend a whole lot of time in just the bathing suit! It is fortunate, however, that it was 1922 and not 50+ years later!

Meteorological Lesson

I bet this young lady will understand wind chill a lot better when her ride is over.


I think that "sled" the comely lass is riding is actually a pair of airplane skis lashed together.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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