Rowing History Forum

Every other year we plan to have a Rowing History Forum organized by the Friends of Rowing History, Mystic Seaport Museum and the National Rowing Foundation. Next one is scheduled for March 2014.


Past Rowing History Forums

1st Forum   - January 26th, 2003       Special Guest - Ernestine Bayer, 1938 Founder-PGRC
2nd Forum
- February 8th, 2004      Special Guest - Frank Cunningham, Harvard '47 Stroke/Masters Sculler/Author
3rd Forum
- February 26th, 2006     Special Guest - Harry Parker, Harvard University Coach
4th Forum
  - March   9th, 2008        Special Guest - David Wight, #2 1956 US Olympic Gold Medal Eight
5th Forum
  - March 21st, 2010         Special Guest - Kent Mitchell, Coxswain-  1960 & 1964 US Olympic Pairs
6th Forum  - March 10th, 2012        Please go to

6th Rowing History Forum - March 12th, 2012

Presentations by:
  Peter Raymond,
Princeton '68, 1968 US Olympic Coxless-Four & 1972 US Olympic Eight (Silver Medal)
            The Transition to Ratzeburg Training & US National Camp System
  Thomas E. Weil, Rowing Historian, Woodbridge CT
Cheers & Jeers, A Prospective on Women & Rowing from 1850 to 1900
  Christopher Dodd, River & Rowing Museum, Henley UK
UK Update & New Book
  Jim Dietz, NYAC, US National & Olympic Sculler
            Sculling at NYAC in the 1960s
  ∙ Peter Mallory, Author: The Sport of Rowing
            Steve Fairbairn, The Man, The Athlete and The Coach

Six members of the 1972 Silver Medal USA Olympic Eight: Monk Terry, Cleve Livingston,
Mike Livingston, Tim Mickelson, Bill Hobbs, & Guest Speaker: Peter Raymond

    Tom Weil                                                                       Jim Dietz

    Christopher Dodd                                                          Peter Mallory


        5th Rowing History Forum - March 21st, 2010

Presentations by:
  Kent Mitchell,
Coxswain, US Olympic Pairs 1960 (Bronze Medal) & 1964 (Gold Medal)
            Surviving Five Years as Con Findlay's Coxswain
  Thomas E. Weil, Rowing Historian, Woodbridge CT
            Doggett's Coat & Badge
  Christopher Dodd, River & Rowing Museum, Henley UK
            Twenty Years without the DDR
  Bill Miller, Rowing Historian, Duxbury MA
            19th Century Rowing Patents
  Terry Morahan, Rowing Historian, Belfast N. Ireland
            To the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave from the Land of Saints & Scullers

Book signing:
  ∙ Joanne Iverson - An Obsession With Rings
  ∙ Thomas E. Weil - Beauty and the Boats
  ∙ Lewis Cuyler - Ernestine Bayer

                   Chris Dodd - River & Rowing Museum, UK                                             Kent Mitchell - Guest Speaker

                           Andy Anderson - Dr. Rowing                                                               Hart Perry - NRF

      Bill Lanouette & Chris Dodd by Doggett's Coat & Badge                          Tom Weil discusses rowing objects on display

     Rosa Morahan and others at the Rowing History Exhibit                                                 Bill Lanouette & Peter Mallory
Photos by Goran Buckhorn


        4th Rowing History Forum - March 9th, 2008

Presentations by:
  David Wight, #2 1956 U.S. Olympic
Gold Medal
Thomas E. Weil - Rowing In America & The Founding of the NAAO, 1870-1872
  Daniel Boyne - Researching the Kellys (and book signing)
  Christopher Dodd - Report from UK & River & Rowing Museum

Tour & Grand Opening of the National Rowing Hall of Fame & Rowing History Exhibit

On March 9th 2008, 96 people attended the Rowing History Forum in the River Room at the Seamen's Inne at Mystic Seaport Museum. Interesting discussions were presented and a wonderful description of the 1956 Olympic effort was explained by David Wight, #2 in the U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Eight (Yale) with slides and the announcers' audio broadcast of the Gold Medal race. The U.S. Rowing Board of Directors attended the Forum and everyone heard Tom Weil's wonderful description of rowing in America in 1872 and the founding of the NAAO. Dan Boyne spoke about his research that went into the, just released, The Kellys: A Father, A Son, An American Quest. Great images and details were described by Dan.

The 15-year dream of having a permanent home for rowing history was realized on March 9th as permanent & dedicated space for rowing history and the National Rowing Hall of Fame was opened in the Blunt White Building at Mystic Seaport Museum. Hart & Gill Perry negotiated with the Mystic Seaport Museum to secure three rooms for displaying our rowing heritage. A great group of volunteers, Ready All, Row! Volunteers, worked tirelessly to prepare the rooms for the display of hundreds of rowing objects. The effort by the Seaport staff was beyond all expectations. The display of numerous and rare rowing memorabilia was made possible by the HUGE effort of Thomas Weil, the premier rowing historian and collector of these objects. At least 80% of the items on display are from his collections. He also, spent hundreds of hours cataloguing and annotating the items for the inventory and labeling for the exhibit. A gigantic THANKS to everyone for a job well done!

Please visit the Museum to see the wonderful exhibit.

(photos by Goran Buckhorn, Harry Darling and Kris Grudt)

      On display at the Forum are two singles: By George hand made by George Pocock and VMary,
                                                               John B. Kelly Jr's Stamplfli single

Dave Wight thrills us with his description of the         Speaker, Chris Dodd, chats about UK events
               1956 Gold Medal Olympic race

Speakers, Tom Weil and Chris Dodd, chat at the            Dan Boyne explains about researching the
                      rowing history exhibit                                                     his new  Kelly book

    Hazard Gillespie, Yale '32,  & Mrs. John P. Cooke enjoy stories about the 1956 Olympic crew

                                               The US Rowing Board of Directors' table

                                                                          The Yale guys

Peter Mallory & Dan Boyne talk rowing history                         More rowing history being discussed

                                             Forum reception at the NRF exhibit is full swing

                                                   Tom Weil & Ed Monahan enjoy the reception


        3rd Rowing History Forum - Feb. 26, 2006
         Rescheduled from Feb. 12, 2006 (blizzard) / Rescheduled from Jan. 23, 2005 (blizzard)

Presentations by:
  Harry Parker - Special Guest Speaker
  Alison Derrick -
Perfect Harmony: Women's Collegiate Rowing in the Early 1900's
  William Lanouette -
Eakins, The Biglin Brothers, & The Lost World of Pro-Rowing
  Thomas E. Weil, Jr. -
Form from Substance: The Organization and Documentation of Rowing in England and U.S. 1715-1876
  Robert Negaard -
of the Wing Rigger
  Christopher Dodd - Report from River & Rowing Museum
        (Chris was a casualty of the blizzards - traveled to the 1st two dates, but couldn't return for the Feb. 26th date)

John Biglin's trophy gold watch brought by Bernard Biglin (great-grandson of John)

Harry Parker                                                           Alison Derrick

Tom Weil book-signing                                   Bill Lanouette

Bob Negaard, in the boat storage building
(Photos by Gran Buckhorn)

After being delayed by a couple of winter blizzards, the 3rd Rowing History Forum was worth the wait. The speakers and their topics were riveting and filled with great information and stories. News about rowing history activities was announced, books signed, historical rowing equipment was visited, and a social hour sponsored by Concept 2 capped off a very nice day.


Original date - Jan. 23rd 2005:
At 5:00 PM Friday, Jan. 21 the weather predictions turned dire with the forecast of 12-16" of snow in blizzard conditions starting Saturday afternoon continuing through Sunday morning. The notices went out and the web page was updated with the announcement that we had to cancel Sunday's Forum.

One very positive outcome of the weekend was those who arrived for the Forum from distant places on Friday, spent Saturday, Sunday and half of Monday snowbound, but were able to discuss many rowing history issues. Chris Dodd & Liz Ransley from London, Tom Weil from Houston, Peter Mallory from San Diego, Bill Miller from Duxbury MA, Dick Dunham from Hanover NH and Hart & Gill Perry from N. Stonington CT were able to bounce around ideas and many resolutions were made. It was very productive in an entirely different way than planned.

left>right - Chris Dodd, Tom Weil, Peter Mallory and Bill Miller
with two of the Forum attendees
(absent from picture: Hart & Gill Perry, Dick Dunham and photographer Liz Ransley)

Rescheduled date - Feb. 12, 2006
How surprised we were to hear the exact same weather prediction as a year before. Again, emails went out but this time with an alternate date scheduled for two weeks later. Like last year, the long distance travelers, Chris Dodd & Liz Ransley, Peter Mallory along with Tom Weil, Hart & Gill Perry and Bill Miller, met at the Seamen's Inne and took advantage of the time by chatting about rowing history.

left>right - Hart, Tom, Bill, Liz, Chris and Peter


        2nd Rowing History Forum - Feb. 10, 2004

Presentations by:
  Frank Cunningham -
Special Guest Speaker
  Chris Dodd
- River & Rowing Museum Report
  Thomas E. Weil - Collecting Rowing Art & Memorabilia
  Susan Saint Sing - Glendon Olympic Scrapbook
  Bill Miller - Rowing Equipment in the 19 Century

On Sunday, Feb. 10th Mystic Seaport co-hosted the 2nd Annual Rowing History Forum with the National Rowing Foundation and the Friends of Rowing History. Approximately 60 people from all over the Northeast listened to rowing history specialists speak about their topics.

Guest speakers included Christopher Dodd from the River and Rowing Museum from Henley-on-Thames, UK who spoke about the British rowing history projects. Mr. Frank Cunningham, 1947 Harvard stroke oar from the championship varsity crew and Rowing Hall of Fame inductee, joined us from Seattle and brilliantly enlightened everyone about his life experiences. Mr. John Cooke, Yale 56 and Olympic gold medal crew, revealed some special moments written by Dr. Benjamin Spock, a member of the 1924 Yale Olympic gold medal crew.

Tom Weil, Jr. from Houston, TX discussed the wealth of rowing memorabilia that exists, especially from the height of popularity of competitive rowing in the 19th century. Susan Saint Sing from Stuart, FL spoke about the 1920 US Naval Academy Olympic gold medal crew and the famous Glendon coaching family. Mrs. Eileen and Mr. Duncan Glendon, grandson of Richard Glendon, listened intently and added a few bits of information. Lastly, Bill Miller from Duxbury, MA presented a slide show about the development and innovation of rowing equipment in the 19th century.

The group strolled through the Seaport grounds from the Youth Training Building to the Rossi Mill to view the new collection of over 20 vintage rowing shells. Following these activities the group enjoyed a social reception on the 2nd floor of the Seamen's Inne sponsored by Concept 2 .

Special thanks to Mystic Seaport for use of the Youth Training Building and setup, Concept 2 for sponsoring the social, and Mr. Michael Joukowsky for supporting Rowing History at Mystic.

The History Team at Mystic Seaport
(left to right)
Tomas E. Weil-Houston TX, Bill Miller-Duxbury MA, Hart Perry-N Stonington CT,
John Cooke-Ridgefield CT, Frank Cunningham-Seattle WA, Mrs. Eileen Glendon, Brookline MA
Ms. Susan Saint Sing-Stuart FL, Duncan Glendon Brookline MA, Christopher Dodd-Henley UK

Dick Dunham, Hart Perry & Doug Teeson at the reception

Peter Vermilya, Ed Monahan, Dana Hewson and Frank Cunningham

Chris Dodd & Gran Buckhorn in the boat storage room


        1st Rowing History Forum - Jan. 26, 2003

Presentations by:
  Ernestine Bayer - Special Guest Speaker
  Thomas E. Weil -
125 Years of Women's Rowing, 1845-1970
  Bill Miller - The Wild & Crazy Professionals, 1865-1885
  Julien Tavener -
Rowing Prints & Images

Our effort to gather a group of people interested in rowing history and hear from some rowing history specialists went very well. About 60 people listened intently as special topics were discussed and then were mesmerized by Ernestine Bayer, the Grand Dame of women's rowing. It was a very precious occasion.

Our second objective was to see who and how many people are actually interested in rowing history. Everyone who attended is now a Friend of Rowing History. We have an excited group and we'll add to it as each year picks up more people.

l > r - Julien Tavener
, Hart Perry, Chris Dodd, Ernestine & Tina Bayer
back - Bill Miller

absent from photo - Tomas E. Weil

Walter Hoover, Jr. & Ed Monahan
with Walter Hoover Sr.'s original

(Read about acquiring the Box-Boat)


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