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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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1916 Albatross women's rowing crew 1916 Albatross women's rowing crew

Decades Ago at San Diego State

Special Collections and University Archives takes a look back at women's rowing in 1917.
By Amanda Lanthorne

The SDSU Library's Department of Special Collections and University Archives presents the weekly series "Decades Ago at San Diego State." Special Collections and University Archives staff members collect articles and photos from archived issues of The Daily Aztec, providing a glimpse of the university's past and its memorable events, people and programs. 

With the opening of the women's crew season in March, and the team's recent participation in the 38th Annual San Diego Crew Classic, it seems fitting to revisit San Diego State's rowing past. 

When San Diego State was still the San Diego Normal School, women's rowing thrived. Many Normal School students joined rowing clubs, which also served as social clubs, much like a sorority.  

The April 12, 1917, issue of the Normal News featured several articles regarding women's rowing and athletics. The main cover story, "Department of Physical Education Protests," listed reasons why women should not engage in athletic competitions, including 'recurrent normal physiological disabilities' in women. The Normal News also ran a cartoon, titled "Practising for Inspection Day." 

The article adjoining this main story announced a reception for the Captains Crew and poked fun at the Department of Physical Education's absurd protests by encouraging "those students who think rowing is unsafe or whose parents are unwilling to let them row" to come to the reception, which included a demonstration to prove that rowing was indeed a safe sport for women. A donation of photos from the 1897 launch of the Pristis boat was also announced in the same issue.

Special Collections and University Archives has numerous photographs of the State Normal School's rowing clubs and teams in the University Archives Photograph Collection.  

More "Decades Ago at San Diego State" features