Bassett’s Mid-Winter Sports and Parties, 1920

This little booklet details tours for students to the White Mountains in February, 1920. For $32 one got seven days of meals and a twin room. Adjusted for inflation the price is a reasonable $468.

Seth Bassett began taking high school and college groups to the White Mountains in 1907, when winter sports were just getting popular. By 1920 he was offering mid-winter trips that featured skiing, tobogganing, and snowshoeing. Interestingly, the tours seem to be targeted toward girls, rather than boys, though a few boys are shown in the photos.

The main selling point of the tour was the healthful aspect of it.

It means wonderful air. It means air that is better than champagne. It means vigor and strength. It means appetite for healthy, simple food. It means simple joys and pleasures.

The booklet does not talk about clothing, but it is well illustrated with proper attire for winter sports.

Personally, it has never occurred to me to ride a bicycle in the snow.

One really interesting thing about this photo is that all three girls appear to be wearing bloomers. Considering that boys and men were also present, this was a pretty daring clothing choice. Most of the photos show girls wearing skirts with thick socks or tights.

And can we just bring back the word “paraphernalia”?

This girl is wearing the more accepted skirt.

When ski poles were really just poles.

L.L. Bean sold his first boots in 1912, and he continued to make improvements over the years. By 1920 the Maine Hunting Boot looks very much like the ones still being made.

I didn’t realize that the escorted tour group for students dated back so far. In addition to the winter sports trips, Bassett worked with another company to provide trips to Europe, California, Florida, and the Far East.

I hope this little taste of winter helps us here in the mid and southern US through the heat wave.


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2 responses to “Bassett’s Mid-Winter Sports and Parties, 1920

  1. I think of all the “series” books of that time — “Betty Gordon on the Campus,” etc. My husband has had several pairs of Maine Hunting Shoes, going back to his college days in Maine when the L.L. Bean retail store was upstairs from the Freeport post office.


  2. Laura

    How nice that girls were not only allowed, but encouraged!


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