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Rowing has the distinction of being the oldest of the sports now popular in the University. In 1844 an eight-oared boat, the "Oneida," was purchased by the class of '44, being the first racing craft ever owned by Harvard. Soon several boat clubs were formed which competed among themselves and with outside organizations.
In 1852 the first with Yale was held on Lake Quinsigamond, the "Oneida" winning from the "Shawmut" of Yale by four lengths. This first victory gave great impetus to the sports, which from that time on came into more and more prominence. Three years later the second race with Yale was won, and the first Harvard boathouse was built during the succeeding season. In 1859 and 1860 the University won from Yale and Brown on Lake Quinsigamond. The prow of the shell used in these races is now on exhibition in the Union.
During the Civil War interest in the sport declined, but in 1864 the races with Yale were resumed. In 1870 Harvard had scored seven victories out of nine contests. A four-oared race was held against Oxford on the Themes in 1869, in which the University acquitted itself very creditably, losing by only six seconds.
During the following five years the University rowed in a number of college regattas, first held at Springfield, and later at Saratoga. A regular system of training was adopted, the English manuals studied, and marked changes made in the stroke.
In 1869 the Harvard University Boat Club was formed, and a constitution adopted which stood without change until 1891. The winter of 1893 witnessed the organization of the Rowing Association of America, in which as many as 13 colleges were entered at one time. In 1876 the dual league with Yale was revived, and has continued to exist with but one year's interval up to the present day.
Football Thirty Years Ago.
The football of former days was but little like the present style. It first took the form of an annual match between the Freshmen and Sophomores on the Delta where Memorial Hall now stands. This contest was finally abolished by the Faculty as being too rough.
In 1873 an association was formed and the number of players limited to 15 on a side, which was gradually reduced to 11. Seven years later Rugby rules were adopted, so that the game was made more uniform and scientific.
In 1875 the first game was played with Yale, being won by the University. A cessation of relations with Yale was ordered in 1894 because of a display of brutality, and another contest was not held until three years later.
Jarvis Field was used for practice until 1895, when Soldiers Field became available. All of the games with Yale were formerly played at Springfield.
Baseball Organized in 1862
There is no record of a baseball game being played before 1845. There was no regular organization for practice until 1862, when the class of 1866 formed a club. Its members first played on the Common near the Washington Elm, and later on the Delta.
The first intercollegiate game was played in June, 1863, when the club met the Brown Sophomores at Providence, and which resulted in a victory for the University.
Four year later the grounds were moved to Jarvis Field, and the following year the first game with Yale was played, resulting in a victory for the University by the score of 25 to 17. From 1867 games have been played annually with Yale, Dartmouth, and Princeton. The relations with Yale have never been severed except for one year, that of 1896.
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