Tag Archives: rowing

Myth – Lone Pine

Title: Lone Pine myth

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Verbal Folklore
    • Subgenre: Myth
  • Language: English
  • Country of origin: USA

Informant Data: Sam Lee ’18 is a 21-year-old male from Turlock, California. He has been rowing since joining light-weight crew in college as a walk-on.

Contextual Data:

Social Context: This myth is told to freshmen by upperclassmen. It can be told by any number of upperclassmen to any number of freshmen at a time; there is no formal or specific location or time to tell it. Freshmen take the story seriously when first hearing it. They often realize later that the story makes no sense in reality.

Cultural Context: This myth ties rowing to Dartmouth culture by connecting Dartmouth’s symbol to their own sport. It incorporates freshmen into the school’s culture. It encourages team bonding and creates excitement for the sport.

Item: This item is a myth describing the origin of crew at Dartmouth. Using the prominent Dartmouth symbol of the Lone Pine, the story connects freshmen to their new home.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):


Transcript of Associated File:

Once upon a time, Dartmouth was covered in trees, but as Dartmouth developed and people moved in, they they started to cut down all the trees until Dartmouth was basically a landscape.
But there was one tree and it was by – kind of by where the the statue of Robert Frost is –  there’s a tower there and it’s the one tree that stayed there as the tallest among all the trees. Because all the trees were starting to be cut down, this was like the one tree that was left. It was the Lone Pine. The people of the town of Hanover were really proud of this tree because it was like the one last pine tree that they had after people had cut down all the other ones. And this stood the test of time for like 50 years until one day during a particularly bad storm a lightning bolt came and struck the tree and split it in half, and a lot of people were confused about this, like “What are we gonna do about this? Like this is like our Lone Pine, this is our symbol and it’s now split in half. What should we do with it? Like we should just like cut it down and we should just burn it or something.” And the rowing team at the time realized that this was gonna happen and they decided that one night they were gonna before the town had a chance to cut down the tree they decided that they were going to go out with axes cut down the street and make a boat out of it. And that’s what they did.

Informant’s Comments: There might be more to the story. He has only heard it once before during his freshman year. It might change between people as they tell the story with variations, but he doesn’t know that for sure.

Collector’s Comments: This myth is an etiological myth, as it describes the origin of rowing at Dartmouth. It might be regarded as truth for a moment, but it is more of a sacred story than a story to be followed as actual truth.

Collector’s Name: Sam Gochman

Tags/Keywords: Light-weight rowing, crew, D150, myth, Lone Pine

Bequest – Captain’s Henley jacket

Title: Captain’s Henley jacket

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Material, Customary Folklore
    • Subgenre: folk costume, traditions
  • Language: English
  • Country of origin: USA

Informant Data: Grant McArtor ’19 is a 21-year-old caucasian male student from Spartenburg, South Carolina in the United States. He was originally born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He has been rowing light-weight crew for five years (since junior year of high school) and has rowed on Dartmouth’s D150 varsity team since his freshman year.

Contextual Data:

Social Context: As with any bequest, this item is traditionally passed down from graduating seniors to underclassmen on the rowing team who are deemed most fit to receive the object. This exchange happens annually in the spring after the competition season has come to a close. The event involves the whole team and requires presence for several hours, as each senior may give away several bequests, each with a description of the significance of the item and why it goes to the recipient underclassmen. During the process, teammates must wait until they either bequeath or are bequeathed an item. It is a spectacle for the team and is often humorous and emotional. Underclassmen express gratitude through words and little physical contact as to expedite the process. It has been compared to receiving a Christmas present. This bequest is passed down from current captain to future captain.

Cultural Context: Bequests are handed down through a line of rowers throughout the years. This line is connected through a common trait (e.g., captainship, knowledge of statistics, heavy weight). The bequest links generations, creating team cohesiveness through history. The bequest indicates a unique importance and role in the team and generally shows that the recipient upholds the values of the team. Rowers wear bequests to exhibit that they are deserving of the honor bestowed upon them.

Item: This bequest is the Captain’s Henley jacket. It is green with white trim and has a D150 patch on the breast pocket. It is from the Henley Royal Regatta, a rowing event held annually on the River Thames in England. The jacket is a high honor on the team, only given to the rising captain of the next year.

Associated media:

Informant’s Comments: He expressed that bequests are not limited to clothing items, but clothing is a common way to exhibit membership to the team. He said that the Henley jacket is one of the highest honors in terms of bequests.

Collector’s Comments:

  • The informant recently left the team.
  • The receipt of this bequest in particular resembles the marking or transfiguration of the hero in Propp’s list of fairy tale functions.
  • The receipt of the bequest resembles a rite of passage. Before the ceremony, the rower is a freshman member. He is then separated from his fellow freshmen as he is called up by the senior. During the transition phase, he receives the bequest and shows gratitude to the senior. He is then incorporated back into the team as a new version (labeled by the bequest) of his old self.

Collector’s Name: Sam Gochman

Tags/Keywords: D150, Dartmouth Light-Weight Rowing, Bequests, Henley