Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oarsmanship By An Eton House Master?

In an attempted to solve the mystery with the pamphlet Oarsmanship, (see Friday's & Saturday's entries) I send an e-mail to rowing historian, Tom Weil, who quickly sent back a reply. Tom writes:

"Regarding your pamphlet Oarsmanship: I was, at first, given my confidence that my bibliography lists almost everything at this point, and my recollection of a couple of pamphlets with rather simple titles, fairly optimistic about being able to answer your question. No such luck.

Of course, the limitation “For private circulation only” offers two consolations: first, that it was not made commercially available, and, second, that the number of copies may have been extremely limited. Nevertheless, it is humbling, as always, to stumble upon another unknown printing.

My best guess is that this little pamphlet was written by one of the house masters at Eton sometime 1900-1930, and distributed to the boys of his house. The principal clue is the Spottiswoode et al. publisher - they are particularly linked to Eton publications."

Thank you, Tom! It is of course thrilling to think that I might have a rare publication piece in my collection. At one point, I thought it might have been a small thing written by R.S. de Havilland, ‘Harrvy’ (on the right), who in 1913 came out with his famous little pamphlet Elements of Rowing, which was published by Spottiswoode, but the writing style (and rowing style, for that matter…) is not Harrvy’s.

Is there any more takers out there?

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