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One-Legged Race: 1919

One-Legged Race: 1919

New York City circa 1918. "Start of cripples' one-legged race." 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. Library of Congress. View full size.


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Wrong sport

At least it wasn't a butt-kicking contest.

Band instruments

A guitar, yes, but it's more likely to be a mandolin than a ukulele. This would have been a year when the mandolin choir was still popular. Rather than a saxophone, the next guy is probably playing a clarinet. I think you've nailed the drummer.

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Sunday Jam Band?

I agree with the spotting of the guitar and the uke; the sax, possibly, although I'm thinking trumpet. The gent to the immediate left of the basketball hoop I believe is a drummer, with sticks in hand and snare or tom drum at his feet. An integrated band in 1918! New York has always been ahead of the curve. I'm willing to bet this image was taken on a Sunday afternoon, when folks had free time, were dressed up a bit, and were forced to creatively entertain themselves without the benefit of television (or, for that matter).


The contestant to the far right (from our vantage point) will apparently use a technique that sets him apart from the rest. Note his use of one crutch, held in a way that may mimic the role of the missing leg.

All the same

Interesting that they are all missing the same leg. I wonder if any of them were wounded in the Great War.

Sad Shot

Oh my! How Depressing. This photo is just a sad shot.

They even had a live soundtrack!

There’s a small band behind the basketball hoop. There's a guitar, a uke, possibly a sax and the guy in the dark suit on the left may be playing the spoons. I wonder if they were playing "Yakety Sax"? Sorry, I've seen too much Benny Hill.

It seems like more than coincidence

that all the guys are left-legged men. Perhaps there was a separate race for right-legged people.

Proof of Aging

One knows he is getting old after admitting he would probably lose to all of these guys!


The guy on the far right looks really determined, the other guys don't seem to care, but are at least enjoying themselves.

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