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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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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Navy Oarsmen: 1896

Navy Oarsmen: 1896

Aboard the U.S.S. New York circa 1896. "A champion boat crew." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

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114 Years ago and yet so modern looking

What caught my attention immediately is that the people in this photo could be any university rowing team today. With the exception of the mustached-one they are all so modern looking, down to clothes, hair, and "look." Simply amazing.

What a flirt!

That (gorgeous) guy second from the left was flirting with Monica, and now he's flirting with me! I am seeing him at 20 and he can apparently see me at that age, too, judging by the gleam in his eye!

Navy Rowers

These jolly tars would have been rowing either a ship's whaleboat, Captain's Gig or Admiral's Barge. Hence the number of hands. Now that all the above have been motorized, formal (and informal) races of small craft have just about disappeared. But I have it on good authority that Full Power "Test" runs between ships that just happen to be in the same place are still known to happen. You can almost get a full roostertail out of a cruiser going in excess of 40 knots.

Not Exactly Regatta

Although the crew may have had some sporting fun, rowing is how goods and personnel were often moved around between ships afloat. Dating back to the era of the sailing ships, captains put great pride in how well their top crews could row.

Easy on the eyes

Seconding #2 on the left -- bedroom eyes! [fanning self]. Also, recommend adding "handsome rakes" tag.


Jennifridge, I'm partial to Standing Far Left. And this is quite the gun show!

Strange number of athletes

There are 12 rowers here. I row for a university team and can tell you this is at least 2 crews, an 8 and a 4. It could also be 3 crews, being 3 fours. This might make more sense, seeing that coxswains are absent, making these guys in 3 straight 4's, or coxless boats. To my knowledge, coxless 8's have never really been raced, they're too impractical.


Youth is for all ages! It doesn´t matter whether the photos are old or modern.
Congratulations Dave for this marvellous site. I visit this page every moment I can. It's simply a real time machine taking us all to better times.

Greetings from Chile

Álvaro Rodrigo Arévalo

Smallpox vaccines?

Not for another 70 years or so.

[Smallpox vaccinations in the modern era go back to 1796. Edward Jenner. Milkmaids. Sound familiar? - Dave]

"Friends," the early years

In the back and rising tall above his first set of Friends stands the inimitable Matt LeBlanc.

Dapper Dan

Chief looking very suave.

Forever Young

At first I had the odd sensation that this was not a photo from 1896. There was nothing except the mustachioed fellow, the uniformed chap hidden to the right and the hand-sewn emblems that made me think this photo wasn't of some university team today. The eyes are all so "young."

Okay, girls - our turn

Time to wade in the shallow end of the pool. It's a tossup between Crouching, Second from Left, and Standing, Second from Right. The former looks like a Ralph Lauren model and as for the latter - the muscles speak for themselves.

Popeye Lied

Even as a young lad I was somewhat suspicious of his claim that his "muskles" were the result of consuming massive quantities of canned spinach. He was probably on the rowing team as a young sailor, thus acquiring his huge forearms the old fashioned way. The spinach claim obviously a ruse to trick us boys into eating the stuff. He was probably a major stockholder in a spinach farm conglomerate of some sort.

Don't Say Cheese

"OK, everyone hold still now for a sec ... you, too, flag!"


You can see that most, if not all, of these fellows have been vaccinated for smallpox.

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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