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Yes, Ma’am, Snowman

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Hey, Snow Builders!

Like baking sugary treats, singing seasonal songs, and warming up by the fireplace, building snowmen is one of those iconic wintertime activities that you just have to This jolly character seems to show up every winter!participate in at least once a year! It always ends up feeling good to get out and move around in the snowy outdoors and—if the snow is made in the right conditions—roll up a man made entirely of snow!

It’s nothing new. Snowmen have been crafted out of the frozen precipitation for many, many years. But just how far back does it go?The Rankin/Bass holiday special ‘Frosty the Snowman’ was made in 1954, but that hardly scratches the surface!

While nobody knows just who or when the first snowman was made, we know we have to go back much more than 64 years to get there! We have to go back 165 years to find the earliest known photograph of a snowman. It was taken by a Welsh photographer named Mary Dillwyn in 1853. The original of this photograph sits in the collections of the National Library of Wales.

This nontraditional snowman was made from many years ago!But just because this is the first known photograph of a snowman certainly doesn’t make this the first snowman ever created! But where photography fails us, we look to artistic depictions in historical documents. Author, Bob Eckstein, who wrote ‘The History of the Snowman’ shows strong implication of snowmen from medieval times. Based on illustrations from museums, art galleries, and libraries from Europe, Mr. Eckstein claims to have traced snowmen back to 1380!

So the next time you enjoy building a snowman, be mindful of the fact that you’re practicing a fun, seasonal activity that children and grown-ups alike have been doing for centuries! If you’ve got the right kind of snow for it, get outside and start packing that wet stuff together! You’ll have a man that’s made of snow before you know it! Enjoy your time outside in the white, fluffy world and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Posted in History Lessons


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