An Archery Tournament by Mail for Local Club Teams Hosted by the Oldest Archery Club in the United States Featuring the United Bowmen Round -

The United Bowmen of Philadelphia

  Founded 1828

 The First Archery Club in the United States

    Invites Your Organization to Participate in the

       2014 United Bowmen  Open Club Mail-in Team Tournament


 The United Bowmen Round

  First Shot June 23, 1835

  14  ends of 6 arrows each  at 80 yards–122 cm diameter 5-color target face  scored; 9-7-5-3-1  Rebounds count 5; shorter distances for Juniors 

All age, gender, and equipment divisions welcome - 4 archers in any division constitute a team

  No tournament fees

Pick a date and shoot the round on your grounds and e-mail results to

        Phone 1 630 842 3015


                         Dave Baier - Tournament Secretary


All archers that belong to a club and shoot in tournaments share in the tradition of the United Bowmen of Philadelphia

from Ruth Rowe  -- Ruth Rowe is a coach and retired competitor.She is also an Olympian and international champion who has represented the United States in 8 World Championships, 2 Pan American Games, the 1984 Olympic Games, and many other international competitions. Placing second in the Nationa

Organization of this Material

This document has no hyperlink buttons.  The text is overflowing with information  that should not be missed by anyone trying to determine their level of interest in shooting in our tournament.  Scroll through the material that follows and look at everything. It's generally organized as follows:

  • Overview of the United Bowmen of Philadelphia and the history of the United Bowmen    Round - the oldest standardized target archery round In the English-speaking world for which records survive
  • The Tournament - the 2013 tournament and rules for the 2014 shoot. 
  •    Prior tournaments by mail with the Surrey  Bowmen and the Royal Toxophilite Society  beginning in 1938.
  •    History and historical anecdotes about the Bowmen. 
  •  Annotated Photo gallery of the 2012 tournament. 
  •  Scores from the 2013 shoot



Overview – The United Bowmen

Founded in 1828 – the United Bowmen of Philadelphia is the oldest target archery club in the United States, and according to Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine, is the second oldest archery club in the world behind the Royal Toxophilite Society in England. The original members  were Samuel Griffitts , Robert Eglesfeld Griffiths, Jacob Giles Morris, and the brothers Franklin and Titian Peale.  See The original Club by-laws of 1828 limit membership to 25 archers. According to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, our Club championship trophy is the oldest sporting challenge bowl  in the United States.  As discussed below , the founding members of the United Bowmen were pioneers of modern archery and developed what is thought to be the oldest standardized target archery round (fixed number of arrows  at specified distances using a target face with a specified scoring protocol.).  First shot on June 23, 1835,   9 years before the emergence of the York  Round in 1844, the United Bowmen Round is the only round that the Club has shot  since 1835 - a period of 177 years.  Shooting ceases at the halfway point in the Round for refreshments and a social hour - "Halftime." Observance of the Halftime custom is key to the` experience of shooting the United Bowmen Round.  


       The United Bowmen are rerferenced in the Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Founder Titian Ramsey Peale said -

"We do not wish to imitate the cutoms of foreigners so much as to share in a heritage of pleasure  to which we have an equal claim."

    Oldest Target Archery Round of its Type in the English-speaking World.

The York Round is essentially a derivative and refinement of the Princes Lengths and Princes Reckonings established by the Prince Regent in 1792.   The now familiar Princes Colours and the  values 9 to 1 , from gold to white, at the Princes lengths  of 100, 80 and 60 yards  The shooting was at 100, 80, and 60 yards, know as the Prince's Lengths, on 4ft., 3 ft., and 2ft. targets.  Archery GB (the governing body for archery in the U.K.) have no minutes of the discussions which led up to the launching of the York as it is presently shot at the Grand National meeting in 1844.  The records of the Royal Toxophilite Society between 1804 and 1836 are lost.  The precise details of  how the decisions were taken and arrived at  to configure the round as it is presently shot will probably never be known. 

  • Our source for the date of first  shooting of the United Bowman Round is original club records. The United Bowmen have records of every arrow shot for score at club meetings since September 3, 1828.   Until  a case for an  older round is put forward, the Bowmen Round is the  oldest standardized target archery round of  English-speaking people for which records survive. The  St. Georges Round may have been shot for the first time at about the same time that the first  United Bowmen Round was shot..  The earliest documented  shooting of the St. George’s Round, however,  was in 1841. The revived Fraternity  of St. George ( active from 1835 until about 1845) shot the St. Georges Round with regularity.   No definitive documentation, however,  has been located that gives a date for the start of this activity. 

  • Why America? There is some logic that would tend to support the notion that standardized target archery Rounds would develop in America before they would be developed in Britain. Prior to development of the United Bowmen Round, tournaments involved shooting for a specified period  of time, rather than shooting a fixed number  of aarrows. Shooting for a specific period of  time rewards the competitors in two ways - accuracy and rate or volume of fire.   These are skills of military value.  The winner of a  number of early shoots was the archer that had the most hits; not the archer with the highest score. This reflects a military value too. Abandoning these  military components was probably very hard in Britain where there was a long, deeply entrenched tradition of practicing archery's military skills, but comparatively easily done in the United States by native-born Americans that did not have this cultural connection.  The  authors  of a history of the Royal  Toxophilite Society dated 1867 noted, ” but some of these Societies have held so closely to the models of antiquity that in these Days of 'York Rounds, ' modern Archers scarcely know whether they be Archers or not.”

  • The United Bowmen’s club and shooting style were clearly patterned after British custom of the day.  There was a tremendous similarity between the setup of a tournament in Britain in 1828, and the setup of a United Bowmen tournament in 1828.  If the York or St. George’s Rounds were a part of mainstream British archery in 1835 when the United Bowmen Round was first shot, you would think that the Bowmen would have learned of them (communication across the Atlantic was surprisingly good) , and that the Bowmen would have adopted one or the other of them.    Under these circumstances, the United Bowmen Round might never have been developed had there been a British standardized round that met the Bowmen’s needs in 1835.  Running the risk that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence,  the Bowmen may have invented their own standardized round because there were no rounds of this type in Britain at the time.

  • It is hard to believe that a round with which no one had any experience would have been selected for shooting at the first English national championship.  A name change after the round was shot in the first grand national in York is plausible.  English target archery rounds were usually named after the City or County where they were developed.  "The Round shot at York" may have been shortened to the "York" over the years.  Again, however, if what was to become the York  was a part of mainstream British Archery in 1835 when the United Bowmen were interested in adopting a standardized round you'd think that the Bowmen would have adopted what was to become the York instead of developing their own round - the United Bowmen Round.  

  • All of the discussion  above  relative  to the York Round is inteligent  inference in the absence of detailed records.  At present, there sre no surviving records of specific shootings of a  standardized, modern target archery round in the English-speaking world that pre-date the first shooting of the United Bowmen Round on June 23, 1835.   


The United Bowmen, 1829

By Thomas Sully – Member of the United Bowmen 1832- 1872 -  Mark: Palette:

  • Records of United Bowmen shoots in the 19th Century were documented on pre-printed sheets that are bound in the “Target Book.”  The following is a copy of the United Bowmen Target Book for June 23, 1835 – the date of the first shooting of the United Bowmen Round. 


All members of the Bowmen have an emblem or "Mark." All of the Marks actively held by members on June 23, 1835 are listed in a column to the left of the target face on the record, under the heading "Roll." The members that  shot on the date in question in 1835 have checks (✓'s) next to their Marks.  The hits and score for each archer  that shot that day are given in a column to the right of the target. Members Marks are put on the target face in the locations of the hits scored by each man.  All of the Marks and their histories as of 1953 (the United Bowmen'a 125th anniversary) aare in a document attched herewith.

There were 6 archers who competed on June 23, 1835 - Franklin Peale (Arrowhead) , Elhanan W. Keyser (Target), Titian Ramsay Peale (Eternity), Robert E. Griffith (Crossbones), Samuel P. Griffits, Jr. (Drachm), and Alexander V. Krumbhaar (Aquarius). 

Krumbhaar won 1st prize with 21 hits and 93 score.

The illustration confirms that scoring was 9,7,5,3,1 and that the colors on the target face were, from the center to the edge, gold, red, white, black and blue.

 The specified distance was 80 yards.

The number of arrows shot by each archer was 84. This is confirmed by the reference at the bottom of the page to 504 arrows (84 arrows x 6 archers= 504 arrows).The reference at the lower left hand corner to "14 rounds, 28 ends"  means that 6 arrows were a "round" and 3 arrows were an "end."  There was 2 way shooting with 3 arrows being shot in each direction.

          The United Bowmen Round is the only round that the Club has shot since 1835.

  • The principal driver behind standardization of the Bowmen Round was to  facilitate comparison of scores from meeting to meeting.  Standardization also made possible the Bowmen’s  “allowance” system.  A running average of every Bowmen’s scores for the last five shoots is kept. The Bowman that scores the highest above their allowance average at a given shoot wins a “High Allowance” Prize.  

  • The record of the June 23rd shoot is unusual because the rings on the target face are not colored-in. .  The record of the shoot of 15 August, 1835 is more indicative of the use of color on the majority of the pages in the  Target Book, and the use of color on the target faces themselves as shown below.  


United Bowmen of Philadelphia Record of Shooting, August, 1835

Note the colors on the target face - from the center outwards, the ring colors are gold, red, white, black, blue; whereas the modern target face order of ring colors from the center outwards is gold, red, blue, black, white as shown below on a diagram of the modern target face  

Modern Target Face  

Adopted by the British Grand National Archery Society some time after 1844.

The difference between the old-style and modern target faces is that the blue and white colors (but not the scoring values) are flip-flopped.  We are finalizing arrangements that will make the old-style target faces available to clubs shooting in our mail-in tournament. this year. The old style taget face is pricey because of the limited market for it.  As a result, no one will be rrquired to purchase replicas of the old face. The decision to use or not use the old-style face is a local one.  

More on Marks --- Members' Marks have two principal  forms - the Shield and the Pennant.  

The shield form of the Members’ Marks are embroidered on the left breast pockets on the blazers that Members wear to dinner after a shoot.  Note- there has been a disagreemThent for the past 80 years concerning the color of the blazer.  There are two factions – Navy Blue or Sherwood Green.  

  The modern United Bowmen shoot in the open, but tent canopies are setup to shield the Halftime  refreshmentsft from the elements.  The pennants of all 25 members are flown along with the Club flag, and the flag of the United States. See the following---

A group of United Bowmen with pennant poles behind the archers  

Open Team Tournament

WELCOME  ARCHERS—Both Target and Field Archers share the tradition of the United Bowmen.  The US National Field Archery Association (NFAA) held its National``` Outdoor Championship Tournament for 2012 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-about 100 miles West of Philadelphia.   There were 500 Registrants.   The following is an excerpt from the Welcome Letter from the NFAA Delegate for Pennsylvania that was included in each Registrant's Information Package.  We are flattered that the United Bowmen figured so prominently in the Letter…

 "Pennsylvania has a long tradition in the archery world.  The United Bowmen of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) was founded in 1828. That is only 52 years  after  the signing the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. The United  Bowmen of Philadelphia is the oldest archery club in  the United States. The  club is still active. What a wonderful tradition for us to follow. Close  your  eyes and let your mind draw a mental picture of how that club's  first  archery tournament must have been conducted." 

United Bowmen records show that the Bowmen's first tournament was held on Saturday September 6, 1828.  They shot at 50-yards at what is now the 122 cm 5-color target face.  The shooting took place on a field behind the State Prison.  There were five participants - Titian Peale won with  4 hits - 10 in value  (thereby becoming the first Champion Archer of the United States) , Robert Griffith had 2 hits, 4 in value.  Samuel Griffitts had 1 hit, 3 in value.  Two other members of the club - Franklin Peale  and  Jacob Morris - shot but did not score.  The time of shooting or total number of arrows shot was not recorded.  


There is nothing more traditional  that you can do than shoot the oldest round in the English-speaking world.  

 2013 Tournament

  • The United Bowmen have held regular tournaments by mail with the Surrey Bowmen and the Royal Toxophilite Society in England for the past 80 years. The United Bowmen Round has been the round shot in these events.  

  • The United Bowmen have enjoyed their one-on-one team events by mail over the years and are now seeking to create a separate,  new, open team event  by mail with a larger number of competing teams involved from as many of the English-speaking countries as possible worldwide.  A pilot tournament was held in 2012.  

  • In 2013, the United Bowman Round was shot for score in the United Bowmen Mail-in Tournameny by 20 clubs as follows: 

2014 Tournament

  • The International Mail-in Team Shoot is a competitive team event  with some of the style of early 19th  Century archery as practiced by the United Bowmen of Philadelphia in the 21st Century. As discussed  above each member  of the United Bowmen has an emblem or “Mark” which is sewn on individual pennants  for each member. The Bowmen fly the pennants of all the members of the Club, and the flags of the United Bowmen and the United States behind the shooting line at all club events.  Tournament participants are encouraged to fly their national  flag and the  flags of their club or university, or their State or City flags. 

  • The United Bowmen Round consists of 84 arrows (14 ends of 6 arrows each) shot at a distance of 80 yards on the modern equivalent of the old 48-inch diameter (122 cm.), 5-color target face. Scoring of the rings  is 9-7-5-3-1 with rebounds counted as 5. The subdivisions of the rings on the modern target face are ignored.   

  • The contestants shoot the United Bowmen Round on their respective grounds on a pre-­designated date of their choosing sometime during the  calendar year 2013. Scores are exchanged by mail (see details below).  

  • We recognize that some clubs may not have the physical facilities for shooting at 80 yards necessary to accommodate all of their interested  members at the same time.  Those clubs may shoot their tournament round on multiple dates in installments as long as each archer designates the  date of their shooting beforehand.  

  • Teams are free to shoot up to two rounds for score in the tournament for any given individual shooter.  There will be two pools in each shooting category. The first pool will include  teams that shot only once,  plus the first round scores for teams that shot twice. The second pool will be the higher of the two scores for teams that shoot twice, plus the scores for all iof the once-through teams.  It is possible for a given team to shoot once and win both pools.     

  • Direct tournament correspondence to David Baier  on  ++ 1- 630 842 3015.  Send an email announcing your organization’s intent to participate. Forward scores to Mr. Baier for processing. A Tournament Newsletter will be issued from time to time. 


  • If facilities are available for shooting the round indoors, indoor shooting is permitted. 

  • A “Halftime” recess of about 30 minutes for refreshments is taken at the conclusion of the 7th end. The Halftime tradition is an important part of the experience of shooting the United Bowmen Round. This has been a successful event formula for the Bowmen for the 177 years since the original shooting of the United Bowmen Round on June 23, 1835. The United Bowmen have shot nothing but the United Bowmen Round at club shoots since that time.  

  • All adult archers (male and female) will shoot the United Bowmen Round at 80 yards.  Juniors aged 10-12 will shoot at 25 yards.  Juniors aged 13-17 will shoot at 50 yards; 18 and older at 80 yards. Juniors will shoot 84 arrows at the specified distances using  the 122 cm target face;  with the 5 rings scored 9-7-5-3-1.

  • All age, gender and equipment divisions are welcome. The top 4 scores for the various divisions from each participating organization  will constitute a team.  Longbow teams must be made up of 4 longbows.  A recurve team can have one or more longbow archers on it.  A recurve team may have one or more longbow archers on it.  A compound team may include one or more recurve or longbow archers.  Junior Boys and Girls can shoot on the men’s and women's teams. A given woman's score can be counted on both the men's and women's teams from their club.   Subdivisions within the longbow, recurve, and compound bow divisions will not be recognized except for barebow.

  • We have something different for Longbow enthusiasts this year. We will put your Longbow archers in competition with members of the United Bowmen that shot their Bowmen Rounds for our tournament with Longbow equipment sometime between 1835 and 1860. These archers will compete in the United Bowmen mail-in tournament under the name  "United Bowmen Gold Team." The round shot by the Gold Team and the modern Longbow tournament participants are the same, and the equipment should be very similar. This is one of the better opportunities for direct comparison of modern scores with historical scores. The only difference between the two groups is that the Gold Team posted their scores up to 178 years early.  

  • The annual matches by mail between the United Bowmen and the Royal Toxophilite Society, and between the United Bowmen and the Surrey Bowmen that began in  1938 involve teams of 10 archers. Recognizing that many interested clubs will have difficulty fielding teams of  10 archers, the minimum team size for this  tournament is 4 as described below.   We will analyze each club’s scores for progressively larger teams up to 10 – archer teams.  This means that awards will be made for teams of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 archers.  An archer can have their score included on more than one team fielded by their club.  

  • No tournament or association fees

  • Shooting in the 2013 tournament must be completed by year-end. 

  • Six arrows comprise an end. 

  • The traditional way to shoot the United Bowmen Round is four archers to 

        a target.  

  • The order in which archers shall shoot at their respective targets shall be the order in which their names   appear on the target list. The drawing up of the target list shall be a matter for arrangement by the local Tournament Organizers. Unless otherwise directed, No.3 on each target shall be the Target Captain, and No.4 the Recorder

  • The first two archers on the target list for a given target shoot 3 arrows at the same time on the line at the beginning of a new end.  When the first two archers on the target list finish their first three arrows  of the end, they retire from the line. 

  • The third and fourth archers on the target list for the target in question then take the line and shoot the first three arrows of their new end on the line at the same time. 

  • When the third and fourth archers on the target list for the target in  question are finished shooting the first three arrows of their end, they retire from the line. 

  • The first two archers on the target list then return to the line and shoot their second batch of three arrows for the end. When they have finished shooting their final batch of three arrows for  the end, they retire from the line. 

  • The third and fourth archers on the target list then return to the line and shoot the final three arrows of the end. When they are finished shooting, they retire from the line. 

  • When all archers have finished the end, the Captain of the Targets blows a whistle and all of the archers go down range to the targets to score their hits and retrieve their arrows.

  • The Target Captain on  each target pulls the arrows and announces the value of each hit for each archer on the target.  The Recorder keeps the scores in writing.

  • Two and a half minutes shall be the maximum time for an archer to shoot three arrows, the time to start from when the archer steps on to the shooting line. 

  • Any archer who is observed to be exceeding the time limit of 2 1⁄2 minutes for three arrows shall be advised of the time error after retiring from the shooting line. The score sheet for that archer shall be marked at that end to record the warning in the following manner — “Time warning”. The archer will also be advised that any further violation of the 2 1⁄2 minute time limit will result in the top scoring arrow of that end being disallowed.  Should this continue to the detriment of the shoot or the other archers on that target, the offending archer will be asked to retire from the tournament. 

  • At a tournament if, for any reason an archer is alone on a target he must notify the Captain of the Targets who shall arrange for scoring integrity to be maintained. This may be achieved by transferring archers between targets or by arranging for an archer on an adjacent target to participate in scoring the lone archer’s arrows. 

  • The maximum number of archers on a target shall be four.

  • If a shoot is abandoned due to adverse weather conditions, it may be rescheduled or continued at the option of the local tournament organizers.  

  • Resolution of Ties.  The winner shall be the archer with the highest score. If there is a tie, the winner shall be the archer with the most hits. In the event that  archers are tied  after consideration of both score and hits, the tie breaker will be the number of golds. 

An arrow passing through a target will be counted as a miss. 

Prior Mail-in Matches

The United Bowmen have been shooting the  United Bowmen Round in quasi-annual one-on-one matches by mail with the  Surrey Bowmen and the Royal Toxophilite Society in England since 1938.

From the Surrey Bowmen webpage--

“The club holds much correspondence… such as the challenge to an archery competition issued to the 'United Bowmen of Philadelphia' in 1938. The proposal was written in old English on vellum. Not to be outdone, the reply accepting the challenge was returned  as an elaborately  embroidered scroll. The club still regularly shoots a postal match against the 'United Bowmen of Philadelphia."

Annual one-on-one   Challenge -  Surrey Bowmen -    "The Philadelphia   Scroll"                  


International Trophy United Bowmen of Philadelphia versus the Surrey Bowmen of England -10 against 10 archers shooting the United Bowmen.  This is annual event that began in 1938 .  Surrey sent the original challenge in Old English on vellum.  Not to be outdone, the United Bowmen ‘s acceptance was  in Latin embroidered on a beautiful old scroll. The “Philadelphia Scroll’ is now a trophy in the Surrey Bowmen Club  collection


    Record of  the 1950 Match by Mail

   United Bowmen of Philadelphia  


 The Royal Toxophilite Society        

            (From the Fly leaf of the United Bowmen 125th Anniversary


A copy of the United Bowmen 125th Anniversary Commemorative Volume containing the record above was sent to the Queen as the Patron of the Royal Toxophilite Society.  Here is what we received from the Queen...


The Bowmen in 19th Century Philadelphia Society --

Bowmen shoots in the 1830’s and 1840's were covered by the Saturday Evening Post, the United States Gazette,  and the American Turf Register and Sporting News.  These events were among the largest outdoor sports events in Philadelphia at the time.  

The Bowmen’s annual Club Championship Tournament  - the “Annual Prize Meeting,”- was a major event in 19th Century Philadelphia.  According to the  Saturday Evening Post,  the Annual Prize Meeting of 1839 attracted over 2000  spectators.  Their carriages reportedly jammed the streets for nearly a mile There was a uniformed band that played when the archers  walked to and from the targets to score and retrieve their arrows.  One of the pieces played was the “Archers March” by  W.H.W Darley; a member of the Club (Lyre). There was a well-dressed boy standing to the side of each target with an array of colored silk flags that were used to signal archers where their arrows had hit the target.  A  long open  tent pavilion was erected over the shooting line so that the Bowmen could shoot under cover.  The structure was supported by 25 poles - one for each member of the Club.  The pennants of each Bowman displaying their Marks were fitted to the top of each pole. The archers shot from positions adjacent to their flag.

 Heres's how the American Turf Registry and Sporting  News described the scene at the annual  anniversary shoot of 1835. It should be required reading for everyone before they shoot  their first United Bowmen Round.

From:   American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine, October 1835

"The United Bowmen celebrate their anniversary with an archery contest, Philadelphia, PA, 1835"

On Wednesday, September 9th, the company of "United Bowmen" celebrated their anniversary, near Philadelphia. According to the United States Gazette, this association holds its charter from the ancient company in England, that traces its line of existence almost to the merry days of the hero of Sherwood Forest. Cards of invitation having issued to numerous persons, between three and four o'clock the guests assembled, to the number of about twelve hundred, at the elegant seat of Mr. Norris. on Turner's The United States Gazette thus describes the scene:-

From the east side of the extensive lawn in front of the house, was nearly two hundred carriages were ranged along the lane, and in the extensive avenue to by extended lines, an area about fifty yards wide by one hundred and twenty long, for the exercises of the Bowmen. Midway on the east side of the area, was erected a very handsome marquee, in which. was Johnson's admirable band of music. Opposite that tent, on the west side of the area, was a table most tastefully decorated, upon which were placed the premiums; and without the line, on the north and west side; were seats for the ladies, who watched with earnestness the movements of the archers. Among the company were representations of all the liberal professions, and all classes of citizens who had leisure and taste for such enjoyment. Some of the young ladies and gentlemen kindly gave up their places of advantage to their seniors, and we wished them pleasant strolls as they paired off along the delightful walks of the place. How thoughtful thus to give place to the old.

The gentlemen of the Company wore their uniform, which consisted of green frock coats, trimmed with gold, with an arrow on their collars, white pantaloons and green caps; pendant to a black leathern girdle were the appliances of their craft. Their bows were truly beautiful, and the arrows were of the most approved shape and finish. The targets were placed near each extremity of the area, the sporting distance being eighty yards. The company was divided into two classes-each class was ranged near its own target, and one member of each stepped forward, and both discharged their arrows at the opposite targets; these then stepped aside and another two came forward-and thus till all had discharged their arrows. Near each target shot at, stood a neatly dressed lad with silk flags in his hat, and as an arrow struck the target, he waved a flag of the colour of the circle hit. The bowmen would march, to the sound of music, in file to the opposite extremity, gather up their arrows, and the captain of the target, Mr. Krumbhaar, mark upon a card the number which the members had gained. The centre, or gold spot, counting nine, and each ring counting two less, as one receded from the centre. The two lads, with their flags, moved always towards the target opposite the bowmen. Whenever an arrow struck the centre or gold spot, the band gave a flourish with their trumpets. As time for closing the contest drew near, it was evident that the ladies had taken an interest in the proceedings, and they were anxious to learn the result-to know who were to receive the splendid premiums. The contest was close, and the difference between the few who gained, and the many who missed, was very small. The first premium was the company's "bow~"-a massive silver vessel, weighing one hundred and fifty ounces, bearing various devices and inscriptions, and receiving from each yearly holder some additional ornament. This is held for one year only. The other premiums are retained by winners. The second premium was a handsome silver arrow, to bear the winner's name, date, and the inscription, SECUNDUS HOC CONTENTUS ABITO. The third premium was a handsome silver wassail cup, the stem representing a quiver. When the tally card was reckoned up, the premiums were thus awarded by the captain of the target, with a suitable address:-

FIRST PREMIUM, the Company's bow, to FRANKLIN PEALE-thirty-seven shots, counting one hundred and forty-four.

SECOND PREMIUM to S.P. GRIFFITTS, JR.-thirty-three shots, counting one hundred and twenty-nine.

THIRD PREMIUM to W.H.W. DARLEY. This premium is given for the arrow placed nearest to the centre of the target, without any reference to the number previously gained. It was obtained by Mr. D. at the last shot in the afternoon.

The company was delighted with the place and the means of enjoyment; and when some observed, that in a single rou
nd there had been several misses, we heard a young lady archly observe, that there Were more "misses" than hits. She did less than justice to the fair part of the company. We are too old to talk about such things, but we have good reason to believe that the united company were not the only bowmen of the afternoon.

We are sure that we express the feelings of the very numerous and highly respectable guests, when we refer with grateful pleasure to the liberal courtesy of the United Bowmen, and to their arrangements for the entire accommodation of those who witnessed their elegant and healthful exercise."

One of  the musical pieces that band played  as the archers went downrange to score and retrieve their arrows was the "Archers' March written  by W. H. W. Darley, a member   of the United Bowmen (Mark - "Lyre") .  


The Bowmen of the 19th Century were never at risk of malnutrition or thirst.  The minutes of the Winter Meeting on February 7, 1866 takes note that “At a sensible hour, the Club withdrew, taking the middle of the street as the surest mode of getting home and the least danger of contact with brick walls.  “

Halftime at shoots of the time were laboratories  for  the  development and testing of punch recipes.  Several members of the club  at the time had significant credentials for development of these concoctions, including Dr. John Fries Frazer, Professor of Chemistry at  the University of Pennsylvania.  The “Hail Storm” was among the favorites.  The secret  of its formula is now disclosed.…

            Chop fine and stir  cherries, apricots and a pineapple.

            Mix three parts of corn whiskey and one part  dark Jamaican rum  Soak all together overnight.  Strain off the liquor, pour into individual glasses filled with cracked ice  and serve with real straws. 

The use of  real straws makes this concoction wonderful.  

Bowmen History 1888 to 1932-

The Club remained active until 1888 when the then living members of the Club being elderly men entrusted the records and trophies to the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical Society with instructions  to him and his successors that they should release the Club’s records if they were approached by a suitable group of archers at some time in the future interested in continuing the Club.   The Club then became the ward of the Society until the Society was  approached by a group or archers in 1932 lead by Dr. Robert P. Elmer, MD.   The Society could not have found a better man than Elmer  to continue the Club.  Dr. Elmer’s  achievements in archery include:

  • National Archery Association Champion, 1911, 1914 -1916, 1919 – 1920,  and 1922 ·

  • National Archery Association Flight Champion, 1911, 1913 and 1922

  • President, National Archery Association, 1914-­‐1920

  • Recorder – United Bowmen of Philadelphia 1932 - 1951

  • Recipient, National Archery Association's Thompson Medal of Honor, 1948

  • Authored The Book of the Longbow, Archery (1926), and Target Archery (1952)

  • Member – National Archery Association Hall of Fame

United Bowmen at the Corinthian Yacht Club Essington, Pennsylvania.

Note the Pennants    hanging vertically down from a horizontally-strung rope.  The pennants contain the emblem or “Mark” of each member.  The holder of the Mark illustrated on  each pennant is kneeling below their pennant  in the photograph.


    A group of United Bowmen with pennant poles behind the archers  

Note: We don't always wear white

The United Bowmen at the Reading Archery Club – Note the Pennants and Flags in the background

2012 Local Club Mail-in   Tournament  

                                                                        Select Photos




                                   Newcastle City Archers at Halftime




                                     Newcastle City  Archers at  the target




                                                      The Reading Archers, England


Alsager Company of Archers – Cheshire, England



Alsager Company of Archers – Cheshire, England shooting the United Bowmen Round

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Halftime with the Alsager Archers




Lee County Archers, Ft. Myers , Florida




Lee County Range









Halftime at the Lee County Bowmen Round Shoot





The Pasadena Roving Archers – Southern California shoot the Bowmen Round on the two 80-yard shots on their 28-target Field Course.  An addendum to the rules is being considered that would allow clubs with limited  facilities for shooting at 80-yards to shoot their round for score in installments on multiple dates.








            The Pasadena folks seem to have chewed-up the gold fairly well.  




The United Bowmen’s new home is the Reading Archery Club near Reading, Pennsylvania 50 miles West of Philadelphia in Berks County.   The Club is primarily a Field Archery and 3-D Club, but they tolerate our practice of target archery on their grounds. The club was founded in 1953. The outdoor range can just accommodate 80 yards. The setup requires us to shoot downhill across what  is normally the parking lot to the targets.



                                 Bowmen Shoot Announcement – Queensland , Australia

                                 Samford Valley Archers












Samford Valley Archers, Queensland, Australia Shooting the United Bowmen Round

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Longbows  at  the Illinois State Target 

Archery Association Bowmen Round Shoot 





                      Recurve archers at the Illinois Target Archery Association Bowmen Round Shoot.

  There were only 4 recurve archers present - just enough for a team. They posted a score of 2504.                         Alex Wiffler wearing a brown shirt in the photograph above) shot 692.  This ties  the recurve record for the round that was jointly held by Steve Lieberman,  Ted Light and Jerry Robbins of the United Bowmen.



Kidman Archers, Adelaide, Australia

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Kidman Archers Club Room





Split the Arrow – rare, but it happens; an added element of excitement at the Kidman Archers Bowmen Round  Shoot





Surrey  Bowman Range

(photo taken during a FITA event) 



Surrey Bowmen on the Shooting Line             



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``© David Baier 2012