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Big Red: 1911

Big Red: 1911

June 18, 1911. Poughkeepsie, New York. "Cornell Varsity rowers." 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.


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Hubba Hubba

'nuf said.


Cornell is in Ithaca. What is that body of water if not Lake Cayuga?

[The Hudson River. College teams travel to play other teams. - Dave]

Wet Ivy

This varsity Cornell crew was training for an eight-oared race on the Hudson, which they would win in dramatic fashion nine days later. Trailing Columbia for nearly the entire four-mile race, Cornell pulled ahead in the last half-mile, after two of the "Morningside oarsmen" began to fade. The account of the race in the New York Times' June 28, 1911 edition is a model of early dramatic sportwriting. The victorious "Ithacans" were E. F. Bowen, Clinton B. Ferguson, W. G. Distler, J. B. Wakely, W.O. Brouse, B. A. Lum, E. S. Bates, C. H. Elliott, and Coxswain H. J. Kimball.

Tiny Coxswain

For some reason I'm reminded of a comment from that stalwart British radio show "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue", wherein Humphrey Littelton spoke of a college rowing team, with the phrase "eight burly rowers and their little cox." Evidently mornings were generally chilly down by the waterside.

Well-defined musculature

Combined with goofy expressions leaves me torn between lust and derision.

Future swimmers

You're sure it's 1911? I can see wearing a shirt from the previous year, but it seems odd to have one with a 2-years-in-the-future date (unless it means something else).

[These shirts aren't calendars. The year shows which graduating class you're in. You wouldn't expect to see any shirts with the current year -- the Class of 1911 had already graduated. -- Dave]

Past and Present

I've been inactive for a while, but I felt compelled to comment on this. I'm a member of the Class of 2013 at Cornell and I've always related myself to the Class of 1913. It gives me pause to think of my contemporary exactly 100 years ago. The picture being from 1911, I am essentially in the same stage in life as the man in the lower left (though I would rather be in his position right now, down by Lake Cayuga, instead of writing a final paper).

No expense spared

on those uniforms. Had they not heard of bake sales?

They look so happy

In the not too distant future most of these boys will be fighting and dying in Europe.

[An oft-expressed sentiment, but statistically speaking, not true. Of the 24 million American men who registered for the draft in WWI, not even 6 percent saw combat. For the bulk of combatants (men 21 to 31), around 14 percent saw action. - Dave]

No two exactly alike

Shirts that is.

Matt Damon

on the far right!

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