Women's Rowing Stamp

Issued on May 13, 2022

Philadelphia, PA

Location: Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club

Women Rowing Stamp new.png

The History of Women Rowing 

The sports world largely excluded women until 1972, when Congress amended federal education law by adding Title IX, which prohibited gender-based discrimination in federally funded education, including athletics. Although some colleges and universities reacted slowly, women pressed them into opening up varsity sports and disbursing funding equitably.

The men’s teams at some institutions had been racing each other since the mid-19th century, and administrators could not always fathom women in such a strenuous and macho sport — until they started winning big.

The first time they competed in the Olympics, in 1976, the women’s eight-person team won bronze. The team won gold in 1984, the next games in which the United States participated. The team then began a glorious second winning streak in 2004, attaining silver that year and gold in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Women's Rowing Stamp Ceremony 

Participants at the stamp ceremony were Sophie Socha, president of the Philadelphia Girls’ Rowing Club, Amanda Kraus, CEO of the United States Rowing Association; Carol Bower, Olympic gold medalist and Bryn Mawr College head rowing coach; Elizabeth Milroy, professor emerita of art history, Wesleyan University; Brannon Johnson, founder and head coach, BLJ Community Rowing; Ann O’Keefe, member of the Philadelphia Girls’ Rowing Club; Ashley Keough, who sang the national anthem; and Ethel Kessler, the art director for the stamps.

Women's Rowing Brannon Johnson 3.png

Brannon Johnson, founder and head coach , BLJ Community Rowing

Women's Rowing Program Guests.jpg

 Ashley Keough, senior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, sang the national anthem, Elizabeth Milroy, Wesleyan University; Ethel Kessler, USPS stamp art director, Sophia Socha, president of the Philadelphia Girl's Rowing Club (site of the ceremony); Amanda Kraus, US Rowing CEO; Brannon Johnson, founder and head coach , BLJ Community Rowing, Liesel Hud, a rower who competes internationally for the United States

Women's Rowing Ethel Kessler 1.jpg

 Ethel Kessler, USPS stamp art director

Women's Rowing ESPER Members 1.jpg

ESPER members attending: Norrece Jones, Betty Sessions, and Jane Mays

Women Rowing Cereomony Betty.jpg

ESPER members attending: Norrece Jones, and Betty Sessions

Women's Rowing ESPER Members 3.jpg

ESPER members attending: Norrece Jones, and Betty Sessions getting stamp cancellations. 

Rowing Stamp program.JPG

Women Rowing stamp ceremony program

Women Rowing Picture from Betty.jpg

Mistress of Ceremonies Ann O'Keefe and  ESPER member Betty Sessions and another attendee at the ceremony

(Photos courtesy Don Neal and Betty Sessions)

African Americans in Rowing

Anita Black rower .jpg

ANITA L. DEFRANTZ

Patricia Spratlen- Etem picture Rower 2.jpg

Patricia Spratlen-Etem

St. Benedict's Rowing.jpg
Black Rowing club in Phila 2.webp

Philadelphia Black Rowing Club

The Power of One- Black Olympians Webinar

DeFrantz captained the U.S. women’s rowing team and rowed in the eight that won a bronze medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. 

America's First African American Rowing Team

Cover of Women Pioneers in Rowing in America

Rowing Cover by don.jpg
Rowing Cover by don 3.jpg
Rowing Cover by don 2.jpg
Rowing Cover by don 4.jpg

(Cover courtesy  of  Don Neal)