Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

What Once Was: Washington’s first bicycle craze— ‘Cycling in the 1880s and 1890s – References and Resources

References and Resources

http://classiccycleus.com/home/1886-american-star-bicycle/ 1886 American Star bicycle

W.I. Lincoln Adams.  “Instantaneous Photography” in Outing, an illustrated monthly magazine of sport, travel, and recreation. V. 15, October 1889-March 1890. https://archive.org/stream/outing15newy#page/220/mode/2up

Frederick Alderson. Bicycling: a history. Newton Abbot [UK], David & Charles, 1972.

Bicycling Magazine. The noblest invention. Rodale, 2003.

Bikes and Trikes of Long Ago. Chandler Press, Maynard, MA, 1989.

John Bloom. “The extraordinary history of bicycling and bike racing in Washington DC” p. 1-17 in DC Sports: the Nation’s Capital at Play. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2015.

The Builder and Wood-Worker, September 1881 cited in Robert Cobcroft.  “American Star Bicycle Will Robertson pedals down the steps of the United States Capitol in 1885” — Velo Aficionado: http://www.veloaficionado.com/blog/american-star-bicycle-will-robertson-pedals-down-the-steps-of-the-united-states-capitol-in-1885

E.L. Corson. The Star-Rider’s manual. Lancaster Job Print—A.F. Rowell, Printer, 1884.

Lorenz J. Finiston. Boston’s cycling craze-1880-1900.

Evan Friss. The Cycling City, Bicycles and Urban America in the 1890s.  

James McGurn. On your bicycle: an illustrated history of cycling. New York: Facts on File, 1987.

League of American Wheelmen. Programme. May 20, 1884. http://www.loc.gov/resource/rbpe.20702200

Henry C. Platt. “Camera-shutter” Letters patent no. 484,456, October 18, 1892.

Robert A. Smith. A social history of the bicycle: its early life and times in America, New York; American Heritage Press, 1972.

Sydney Mahan. Photos: A Historical Look at Biking in DC. September 15, 2016. https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/09/15/photos-historical-look-biking-dc/

A Quick History of Bicycles – ­Pedaling History Bicycle Museum. https://web.archive.org/web/20090205043857/http://pedalinghistory.com/PHhistory.html

From Wheels to Bikes http://wheelbike.blogspot.com/2015/11/1884-bicycle-down-capitol-steps.html

“Bicycling riding: its introduction into this city.” Washington Post May 11, 1879.


“The Capital and the capital Club.” The Wheelman v.3, no.2, November 1883.

“Out-door amusements.” Washington Post April 20, 1884.

“The first bicycle.” Washington Post May 24, 1885.

“Washington Wheelmen: The Capital Club and its proposed new Club House.” Evening Star. January 2, 1886.

“Some bicycling feats.” Washington Post December 21, 1890.

“Down the Capitol steps.” Washington Post April 19, 1893.

“Will celebrate their anniversary: Georgetown cycle club will have big time at Glen Echo.” Washington Post July 11, 1893.

“Capital Bicycle Club: it was the pioneer of cycling in the District of Columbia.” Washington Times May 12, 1895.

“Capital bicycle club.” Washington Post July 16, 1896.

“Perilous bicycle feats.” Washington Times July 28, 1901.

“Police guard closely the capitol steps against reckless riders.” Washington Post June 17, 1906.

“Rex Smith’s Biplane Flies at College Park” Evening Star November 16, 1910.

“City’s pastimes vastly change in half century.” Washington Post December 6, 1927.

“Pioneer Cyclists Recall Old Times. Evening Star February 3, 1929.

John Clagett Proctor. “High wheels launched bicycling in the District.” Evening Star October 27, 1929.

John Clagett Proctor. “Cycle Craze Days” Evening Star March 27, 1938.

John Clagett Proctor. “Early days of bicycling in Washington.” Evening Star June 6, 1943.

“Members of once famous organization recall old bicycle “runs”. Evening Star October 17, 1926.

“Wheelmen and their Wheels.” Evening Star August 28, 1897.


MS6 – Henry C. Platt Papers, 1867-1894.

  • Manuscript Collections of the Nantucket Historical Association Research Library [this collection seems to have no materials relating to his photographic work.]
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