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1932 Olympics Rowing Uniform Shirt Artifact Highlight #56

This Olympic uniform shirt is not in good condition, but it could tell some amazing stories. It belonged to Winslow Hall, who won a gold medal as a bowman on the U.S. eight-man rowing shell during the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In the finals of this 2,000-meter race, the U.S. team triumphed over teams from Italy, Canada, and Great Britain - beating the Italians by just 0.2 seconds while the Canadians took bronze.

The San Francisco Examiner, August 15, 1932

The shirt is made of cotton with a sash across the front, decorated with the Olympic emblem and five-ringed Olympic symbol.

1932 Olympics Promotion, Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection

The 1932 Olympics were held from July 30th to August 14th. Many nations, affected by the economic downturn of the Great Depression, could not afford to send their athletes all the way to California and some events, like soccer, had to be cancelled. Many of the sports venues were in already existing locations due to high cost of construction.

Hollywood celebrities, including Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Marlena Dietrich, and Mary Pickford, volunteered their time to promote the games, which helped sell tickets.

Crowd watching a rowing competition in Long Beach, 1932. University of Southern California

Winslow Hall and the rowing crew were honored with a parade through Oakland and Berkeley after their return from the Olympics. The San Francisco Examiner reported on August 15th that “the race was the classic of all rowing history. Every Californian rowed with the heroic determination bestowed upon them today during the closing ceremony of the Games.”

The San Francisco Examiner, August 11, 1932

Winslow Hall was born in Piedmont, CA in 1912. He graduated from UC. Berkeley in 1933 with a degree in economics. He served in the Navy during WWII, taking part in the battle of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Tarawa. After the war he chose a career in the grain business, becoming the vice-president of a national feed ingredient company in San Francisco, as well as the President of the San Francisco Grain Exchange and the California Grain and Feed Association. He served as the mayor and vice-mayor of Piedmont. Hall was elected to the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1968. After he retired, he moved to Dutch Flat in 1974 and became known for his service to the community. He served as president of the board of directors of the Auburn Faith Community Hospital and as scoutmaster for Troop 259 in the Alta-Dutch Flat area. He died in Dutch Flat in 1995.