Undine Barge Club records
Held at: Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library [Contact Us]Penn's Landing on the Delaware River, 211 South Columbus Blvd. and Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Undine Barge Club was first organized May 9, 1856 to "take into consideration the expediency of forming an association whose object would be healthful exercise, relaxation from business, friendly intercourse and pleasure, having in view to this end the possession of a pleasure barge on the River Schuylkill" (Heiland, p. 13). The club incorporated in 1861. The club occupied a small frame house along the Schuylkill River which the City condemned in 1859. Quartered in number 14 Boathouse Row from 1860 to 1882, the club commissioned architects Furness and Evans to design boathouse number 13, into which they moved in 1883 and still occupy. The club was made part of the Schuylkill Navy in 1861. Undine Barge also made use of an "up-river house for receptions... which they named [Castle] Ringstetten, after the castle on the Rhine of Sir Rupert..."
Bibliography: Scharf, John Thomas and Thomas Westcott. History of Philadelphia, Vol. III. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., 1884. p. 1871. (Accessed online via Google Books, February 19, 2010: http://books.google.com/books?id=8uYkAAAAYAAJ&dq=History+of+Philadelphia,+Vol.+III&source=gbs_navlinks_s).
Heiland, Louis. Undine Barge Club of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Wm. F. Fell Co. Printers. 1925.
The Undine Barge Club records dates from 1856 to 1986. The records represent the rowing and social events of Club, as well as its administrative history. The collection includes annual records on membership participation, correspondence, files regarding stewdarship of Castle Ringstetten, and scrapbooks documenting significant Undine Barge Club events. In addition to this material, the collection also houses the personal papers of J. F. Carroll, though his role within Undine Barge Club is unclear. Researchers interested in the history of this organization, or on the history of activity on the Schuylkill River would find this collection useful.
The collection is comprised of seven series: “Administrative files,” “Logbooks,” “Castle Ringstetten files,” “Scrapbooks and Photographs,” “Printed Materials,” “J. F. Carroll personal papers,” and “Objects and Ephemera.”
The first series, “Administrative files,” contains five subseries: “Meeting Minutes,” “Reports,” “Membership records,” “Financial records,” and “Subject files.”
The first subseries, “Meeting Minutes,” contains minutes ledgers and related records for general Undine Barge Club meetings, as well as for the Elective, Ringstetten, Art Association, and Stated and Executive committees. The general meetings, housed in ledger books, appear first in the subseries, and are arranged chronologically. The individual committee minutes are represented next, and are arranged alphabetically. The subseries spans from 1856 to 1978.
The second subseries, “Reports,” contains reports produced by various committees and members of Undine Barge Club. Included in the subseries are reports from Boat and House Committee, Fairmount Committee, and Tennis Committee, among several others. Also included in the series are collected reports, which were bound together in boxes, and thus were not separated into individual files. These collected reports include reports from the Logkeeper, Finance Committee, Captain, Ringstetten Committee, and Executive Committee. The files are first arranged alphabetically by committee or member name. After these individual reports, the collected reports are arranged chronologically. The subseries spans from 1869 to 1983.
The third subseries, “Membership records,” contains files related to membership activity of the Club from 1890 to 1981. Included in the subseries are letters from Undine Barge Club to its members, Elective Committee material on membership standing, and resignation letters from members. The files are arranged alphabetically by document type.
The fourth subseries, “Financial records,” contains records of Undine Barge Club’s financial activity from 1868 to 1980. The files are arranged alphabetically by document type, with general ledger books and membership account ledgers representing the bulk of the subseries. There are also boat house loan records from the 1880s.
The fifth subseries, “Subject files,” contains records of numerous activities and events of which Undine Barge Club was involved. The files include correspondence between members and other rowing organizations, Annual Cross Country Run material, newspaper clippings regarding Undine Barge Club, and programs from various regattas. Other material of note includes records from a legal dispute between Undine Barge Club and the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen over qualifications for the Moscow Championships in 1971. The subseries spans from 1867 to 1982.
“Logbooks,” the second series, contains volumes that record the landings and distances of each rower and crew that rowed from the Undine Barge Club boathouse. The logbooks also document significant historical events, like major battles and movements of troops during the Civil War. Another notation indicates the day that President McKinley was assassinated. Along with the handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, regatta programs, Schuylkill Navy Cross Country Run programs and dinner programs are pasted into the volumes. Logbooks kept during war times, such as the Civil War and World War I, include information about enlisted Undine members and their activities on the battlefront. Logbooks are arranged chronologically, with log summaries at the end of the series. The log summaries consist of monthly and yearly rowing statistics regarding mileage of rowers and boats. The series dates from 1863 to 1986, with gaps between 1910-1914, 1943-1946 and 1979-1986.
The third series, “Castle Ringstetten,” consists of documentation relating to the social house of the Undine Barge Club. Records include a cash book and account ledger, a copy of the original lease, logbooks, music books, Stewards of Castle Ringstetten records and a visitor’s register. The logbooks make up the majority of the series with twenty-one volumes. Like the logbooks kept for the boathouse, these logbooks recorded all activity that happened at the social house of the club. The volumes document dinners, receptions and parties that were thrown at the Castle and contain menus, sketches of social functions, photographs, sheet music, newspaper clippings and drink recipes. These logbooks offer a glimpse into the social activities of members and patrons of the club. The visitor’s register is also interesting in that it records Thomas Eakins, a prominent artist, visit to the boathouse on October 31, 1878. The series is arranged alphabetically and dates from 1876 to 1980. The bulk of the records date between the 1890s and the 1920s.
“Scrapbooks and Photographs,” the fourth series, contains scrapbooks made by members of the club and a small collection of photographs. The series is arranged first by scrapbooks, which represent the bulk of the series, and then photographs. All scrapbooks are from the Undine Barge Club, with the exception of one attributed to the Schuylkill Navy. Mostly newspaper clippings, the scrapbooks consist of information regarding boat clubs, races, regattas and Undine members and also contain photographs, ribbons, programs and the club newsletter, The Undinian. The photographs are grouped into subjects since no identifying information was found about them. The series dates from 1873 to 1989.
The fifth series, “Printed Materials,” is composed of publications produced or collected by the Undine Barge Club. Publications well-represented within the series are: the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen meeting minutes, annual reports and official guides; Programs of various regattas and dinners; books about the legend of Undine; the Undine Barge Club membership booklets; and The Undinian newsletter. The series is arranged alphabetically and dates from 1871 to 1981.
J. F. Carroll personal papers,” the sixth series, contains records relating to the life and travels of James F. Carroll. Envelopes, business cards, honorable discharge papers, notes, promotion papers and a passport are held in this series. It is unknown how the personal papers of Carroll relate to Undine Barge Club or how they were attained. The small series is arranged alphabetically and dates from 1898 to 1925.
The seventh and final series, “Objects and Ephemera,” contains plaques, medals, buttons, and coins related to rowing events and celebrations. Few objects from this series are identified however.
Gift of Undine Barge Club, 1990 (multiple accessions).
- Philadelphia -- clubs and societies
- Regattas -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Rowing clubs -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Rowing races
- Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Megan Good and Forrest Wright
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
17 document boxes
This box contains plaques, medals, buttons, and coins related to rowing events and celebrations. One medal and a button are identified as being from the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen, and one plaque is identified as from the West Philadelphia Boat Club. However, most objects are unidentified.