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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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Syracuse Boathouse: 1914

Syracuse Boathouse: 1914

1914. "Syracuse Varsity crew team at boathouse." Bain News Service glass negative. View full size.

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In my rowing days (actually the sixties of last century), you had two systems in the boat: you had a "universal" system, where there were kind of straps with which you fasten your own shoes, and a more sophisticated one with shoes actually fastened to the so called "foot board". The problem is of course the size of the shoes. So, if a specific crew is the only user of a boat, you could have the shoes fixed on the foot board in the boat. If you have a boat that is used by many different crews you might prefer only straps.
To get an idea about how it looks like, look at
By the way, also if you have fixed shoes you might use your own shoes to walk with the boat to the water, and leave your shoes either in the boat or on the quay. Some people might walk on their socks, but then you risk to get wet feet! But also if there are no fixed shoes, some rowers prefer rowing without shoes.
Therefore you may see rowers with and without shoes outside the boat, as you could see on the photograph of the Penn varsity crew team, 1914


The vessel in the background, at about 3 o'clock, appears to be a ferry boat, the kind that carries automobiles...see the pilot house up high.

No need for shoes...

...they're wearing socks and no shoes because the shoes are in the boat. In crew you tie your feet right into shoes or shoe-like footholders that are built into the boat.

[Then why are the rowers in all the other crew photos wearing shoes? - Dave]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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