Past weekend, HTBS received a question from Dave in Ontario, Canada. Dave and his son have acquired an old pewter rowing cup and they would now like to know more about the cup and the team. Dave writes:
‘It is a James Dixon & Sons 482 pattern mug and is engraved with the following: “A.R.C. Club Fours, 1877, 7 Boats Started, Winning Crew…” Then unfortunately someone has all but obliterated the names. Although they have been scratched, we can make out the following: Bow – Robertson, L.H. #2 – [surname scratched] E—-, P.G. #3 – [surname scratched] —-, R.P. Str. – [surname scratched. possibly O’Brien (?)] H.’
Dave continues to mention that he is fairly confident that ‘A.R.C.’ refers to Argonaut Rowing Club of Toronto and that the stroke, O’Brien H., probably is Henry O’Brien, one of the men that founded the club in 1872.
While Dave continues to do research at the library, HTBS editor Göran R Buckhorn had found some information in A History of American Amateur Athletics and Aquatics, with the records (probably published 1892), which was compiled by Frederick William Janssen. Among the ‘Officers of the club’ for Argonaut RC is H. O’Brien, who was the first president and continued to be head of the club until 1887. You will find a digital copy of A History of American Amateur Athletics and Aquatics here. The information about Argonaut starts on page 190, but while the book contains regatta records, there are no early records from 1877, and no records from club races. (Unfortunately, the copy is poor and pages 249-254 are upside down.)
A History of American Amateur Athletics and Aquatics gives interesting information about early rowing clubs in Canada and the USA, some of which do not exist anymore. Of course, Argonaut RC still exists, so take a look at their website here.
Dave’s quest to find out more and identify the rest of the members of the 1877 crew, seats two and three, continues.
Dave is hoping to get a photograph of the 1877 crew, which might be around at Argonaut RC. If any of HTBS readers have information to share, please post them in the comment section or send them to HTBS editor, at gbuckhorn – at – gmail – dot – com