New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Yachting

Nathaniel Herreshoff


Nathaniel Herreshoff (Yachting.  Born, Bristol, RI, Mar. 18, 1848; died, Bristol, RI, June 2, 1938.)  During his time, Capt. Nathaniel G. Herreshoff was America’s leading designer of racing yachts.  In the days when racing yachts were somewhat larger than they were to become, Herreshoff designed five boats that made six successful America’s Cup defenses.  Those yachts were Vigilant (1893), Defender (1895), Columbia (1899 and 1901), Reliance (1903), and Resolute (1920).

James Gordon Bennett, Jr.


James Gordon Bennett, Jr. (Yachting, polo.  Born, New York, NY, May 10, 1841; died, Paris, France, May 14, 1918.)  In common with many wealthy young men of his era, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., was both socially prominent and important to the development of sports in the U.S.  Bennett’s father founded the New York Herald in 1835 and the younger Bennett inherited the thriving enterprise in 1872.  In 1857, he became the youngest member of the New York Yacht Club, won his first trans-Atlantic race in 1866, and, in 1873, created the first intercollegiate track event, a two-mile race for a challenge cup at Saratoga, N.Y., as an adjunct to the championship rowing regatta.  Bennett introduced polo (1876) into the U.S. and built the original Polo Grounds (1880) at 110th Street and Fifth Avenue for the sport.  Though by then he had moved permanently to France, he established the Bennett Trophy Auto race in 1900, following with balloon racing in 1906 and airplane racing in 1909.  Bennett was a major patron of early U.S. Olympic teams and, in 1887, founded the Paris Herald, forerunner of the International Herald Tribune.  He sponsored several New York charities and sent Henry Morgan Stanley into the then-uncharted interior of Africa to locate Dr. David Livingstone, a noted missionary thought to have disappeared.  Stanley found him.  (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume,” Stanley is reported to have said upon locating the missionary.)  Bennett’s erratic behavior and lack of social grace led to a decline in the Herald’s fortunes, and it was sold twice within six years of his death (becoming part of the Herald Tribune in 1924).  One of his enduring legacies was the creation of strong and continuing sports coverage in his newspaper, eventually emulated by every leading daily, albeit reluctantly in some cases.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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