Records of the Off Soundings Club

Manuscripts Collection 285

Overview of the Records

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Off Soundings Club
Title: Records of the Off Soundings Club
Dates: 1933-2009
Extent: 13 boxes; 3 vol.
Abstract: Race notices, minutes, board and committee chairmen reports, membership notices, scrapbooks, and a ledger, reflecting the club’s history and its activities.
Identification: Coll. 285

History of the Off Soundings Club

Early in the fall of 1933 the Off Soundings Club was founded by Edward Southworth. He saw the need of a club comprised of members interested in sailing and sailing only, meeting once a week, thereby enabling the members to enjoy themselves ashore as well as afloat. He launched the Club by getting together with his friends and cruising companions, E. S. Bradford, Sandford Lawton, and John L. Blake. They were all most enthusiastic about the idea, and within a few weeks Ed Southworth, with the help of Stan Bradford, had drawn up the club’s constitution and by-laws.

On November 7, 1933, the organization meeting was held at the University Club, Springfield, Massachusetts. The constitution and by-laws were adopted and the following officers were elected: Edward Southworth, Commodore; E. Standish Bradford, Vice Commodore; Sandford Lawton, Rear Commodore & Measurer; and John L. Blake, Secretary & Measurer.

During the first year the following were elected members: Robert Irwin, Parmly Hanford, Arthur Johnson, Melvin D. Southworth, Walter C. Evans, and Don McClench.

In February, 1935, the club was fortunate in having its burgee drawn by one of its members, Gluyas Williams.

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Scope and Content

This collection is divided into 4 series: Race information, Administrative information, Miscellaneous and Volumes.

Race information; Though it varies somewhat over time and special circumstances, the usual flow of information is an early warning during the first quarter of the year’s race dates, usually a spring and fall race. At the beginning of the second quarter, a First Race Notice is sent that gives general information about where and when, arrangements for anchoring/mooring and dinning, and the requirements for entering. A Final Notice is mailed the week before the race, usually in June. This Final Notice includes a listing of the boats entered by class, a sail number sequential identification list, class starting times, race courses, the rules of the race and any general last minute instructions. In June or July, spring results are mailed, usually with the First Notice for the fall. The fall Final Notice goes out in September. Final results for the fall race and combined results for the year are mailed in October.

In some instances newspaper articles about specific races and magazine articles about the Club’s race activities in general or a special event, their 50th for instance, are filed with race results or are loose.

Administrative information: Administrative activities are directed to providing a spring and fall race and promoting the “good fellowship of sailing.” Most administrative data is generated by three Board of Governors’ meetings (minutes and board and committee chairmen reports) and membership notices to, at one time, a Winter Party, the Annual Meeting and Shore Party and special communications to the membership such as the Commodores Winter Newsletter.

Miscellaneous: This file contains information for which it is helpful to have a rather complete file on a subject in one place rather than mixed in among other data (planning and venue studies), a copy of the history of the Club at the time of its 50th anniversary, procedure write-ups and personal files of officers of the Club.

Volumes: Membership information was kept in a small ledger until 1948. At that time a “Members Book” began being published annually. There is a complete file of “Members Books.”

In addition to the membership roster, the “Members Book” includes the current officers and committee chairmen, constitution, by-laws, individuals who have won the perpetual and special trophies since inception, a summary of each trophy’s deed of gift, past officers, the fleet and, recently, the deceased and new members since the last booklet.

Communications about new members has changed. Currently, a list of proposed members (posting) is mailed to the membership for review. If there is no objection, membership is automatic after 30 days. In early years the election of new members was communicated to members but apparently without any membership review.

These postings are often included with race notices and will be with the “Race Information” when so noted on the race notice. Otherwise they will be with “Administrative Information.”

There are also two scrapbooks in this collection, one of the Bermuda Race of 1932 and another of Off Soundings activities from 1935-1938.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division.

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.


Long Island Sound (N.Y. and Conn.)


Yacht racing

Document Types:


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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 285, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Records

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Race information; 1935-2009
Box Folder
1 1 Race information; 1935-1941
2 Race information; 1941-1944
3 Race information; 1945-1948
4 Race information; 1949-1951
5 Race information; 1952, 1954
6 Race information; 1955-1956
7 Race information; 1958, 1960
Box Folder
2 1 Race information; 1961
2 Race information; 1962-1963
3 Race information; 1964
4 Race information; 1965
5 Race information; 1966
Box Folder
3 1 Race information; 1967-1968
2 Race information; 1969-1970
3 Race information; 1971-1972
4 Race information; 1973-1974
5 Race information; 1975-1976
6 Race information; 1977-1978
Box Folder
4 1 Race information; 1979
2 Race information; 1980-1981
3 Race information; 1982-1983
4 Race information; 1984-1985
5 Race information; 1986-1987
Box Folder
5 1 Race information; 1988-1989
2 Race information; 1990-1991
3 Race information; 1992-1993
4 Race information; 1994-1995
Box Folder
6 1 Race information; 1996
2 Race information; 1997
3 Race information; 1998
4 Race information; 1999
5 Race information; 2000
6 Race information; 2001
7 Race information; 2002
Box Folder
7 1 Race information; 2003
2 Race information; 2004
3 Race information; 2005
4 Race information; 2006
5 Race information; 2007
6 Race information; 2008
7 Race information; 2009
Administrative information; 1933-2009
Box Folder
8 1 Administrative information; 1933-1954
2 Administrative information; 1955-1956
3 Administrative information; 1957-1962
4 Administrative information; 1963-1966
5 Administrative information; 1967-1968
6 Administrative information; 1969-1971
7 Administrative information; 1972-1974
Box Folder
9 1 Administrative information; 1975-1976
2 Administrative information; 1977-1978
3 Administrative information; 1979-1980
4 Administrative information; 1981-1982
5 Administrative information; 1983-1985
6 Administrative information; 1986-1989
Box Folder
10 1 Administrative information; 1990-1991
2 Administrative information; 1992-1993
3 Administrative information; 1994-1995
4 Administrative information; 1996-1997
5 Administrative information; 1998
Box Folder
11 1 Administrative information; 1999-2000
2 Administrative information; 2000-2002
3 Administrative information; 2003
4 Administrative information; 2004
5 Administrative information; 2005
6 Administrative information; 2006
Box Folder
12 1 Administrative information; 2007
2 Administrative information; 2008
3 Administrative information; 2009
Miscellaneous; 1949-2003
Box Folder
13 1 Race Committee procedures; 1955
2 Race Committee procedures; 1961
3 Bill Ames’ personal files; 1961-1973
4 Planning file; 1990 Jan-1995 Jun
5 Precedent setting decisions; 1951-1998
6 Contributions and Trophies; 1998 Feb-2003 May
7 Copy of Articles of Organization; 1949 Jan
Volumes; 1932-1948
Box Folder
14 1 Membership ledger; 1933-1948
2 Scrapbook of Bermuda Race; 1932
3 Scrapbook; 1935-1938

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