Nineteenth century Winter Holiday – Sledding


For those of you already looking at snow on the ground, or envious of those who have the white stuff, this one’s for you.

Folks in the 19th century had a lot of fun sledding, and doing other winter sports, too.  (Click here for last year’s post on 19thc Ice-Skating in Central Park).

Winter Sports – Coasting in the Country by Granville Perkins, from Harper’s Weekly. February 17,1877

Here’s an excerpt from a January 12, 1896 article in The New York Times that expounds upon the delights of “coasting”:

Love that “manly joy.”  But just in case “blood and vital spirits” aren’t enough to sustain you after a prolonged day of sledding, here’s a remedy:

Advertisement, Dr. Kilmer’s Indian Cough Cure Consumption Oil. Image via NIH, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Considering it contained “10 percent pure grain alcohol,” you wouldn’t care if you had a cough anymore.

But maybe you’d prefer an indoor activity?  If so, I have the perfect one for you!  Today, in a continuation of our Holiday Yum recipe series, writer Jenny Hansen is posting about her legendary Almond Roca recipe.  She has a fun story to go along with it, too, so check it out!

art by Ellen M. Gregg

Do you have a favorite winter activity?  I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,


2 people like this post.

10 thoughts on “Nineteenth century Winter Holiday – Sledding”

  1. Tiffany A WhiteTiffany A White

    My dad grew up in New York and he always talks about his days sledding. We never really had this opportunity in West Texas. Maybe one day… it seems like it would be so much fun!

  2. Jane SadekJane Sadek

    The first sentence of that article is a doozy! Staring off with “This has been” and wandering around for several months. Then, “It has been said that there is nothing…” Finally the third paragraph gets to the meat of the thing. My, but times do change!

  3. PatriciaPatricia

    You sly girl you. My favorite indoor activity? Seriously? Do I have to spell it out for you?

    Obviously that would be – reading. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

    Those are some really cute news clippings. Manly joy indeed. How simple the times were. If I had know I’d have gotten my husband a sled a long time ago.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  4. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    In Canada, we call it tobogganing rather than sledding. (That really confused my husband at first 🙂 ) It’s interesting to hear that they used to call it coasting. Regardless of what we call it, I haven’t gone in years. If we get enough snow this year, I think I’m going to have to drag out the toboggan and go 🙂

  5. Gloria RichardGloria Richard

    Oh, to live in the North again. Or, at least have a second home there. I truly miss the seasons. Yep. I will never stop loving my home state of Pennsylvania.

    Winter never stopped us. Bobsledding, sleds, saucers. You name it. Snow forts and snowball fights. The main winter sport at which I sucked did not excel was ice skating. I blame that on a family budget too tight to support anything more frequent than once monthly (at best) trips to the ice skating rink.

    Sticking out ones butt to balance on ice doth not a polished skater make. [Forsooth]

    The text of this newspaper article was a hoot, KB. I guess editors were short on red pens to slash extraneous words back-in-the-day.


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