COLLECTION HIGHLIGHT: 1930s MOTORSPORTS SCRAPBOOK

1930s Motorsports Scrapbook - Flipbook & Highlights

 

By Au Nguyen, Archive Volunteer

This digitized scrapbook, in full below as e-flipbook, is a window into the world of motorsports enthusiasts in the 1930s. We don’t know much about Chuck Edwards, except that he got a parking ticket one September day and the likely gear head who saved all these news clippings 80 years ago. However, his obvious fascination with the thrill of speed and the excitement of competition are clearly timeless.

Just as motorsport fans of today may follow many different racing series, from F1 to NASCAR, these clippings from the early years of the automobile show that speed sports were just as diverse back then, from land speed records at Bonneville (already over 300 mph, in 1937!) to local midget races on the West Coast:

 

 

Nevertheless, some things have changed, for the better. For example, the danger of racing cars with no roll cages, while wearing helmets that are probably not as protective as today’s BMX helmets, is especially vivid, in spite of the crumbling scrapbook pages:

 

“Dust Disturber Ready to Race Today: Bob Strong, the Portland auto-racing driver, who won the 50-lap championship test at the Speed Bowl, Base Line road, on July 4, believes he can conquer the field, especially Art Scoville and Woody Woodford. Strong will meet these competitors on the speedway oval today in the eighth of the series of title tests promoted by Robert P. Rowe.”  (SB07)  

“Dust Disturber Ready to Race Today: Bob Strong, the Portland auto-racing driver, who won the 50-lap championship test at the Speed Bowl, Base Line road, on July 4, believes he can conquer the field, especially Art Scoville and Woody Woodford. Strong will meet these competitors on the speedway oval today in the eighth of the series of title tests promoted by Robert P. Rowe.”  (SB07)

 

“Auto Driver Takes ‘Ride’ Through Air:  Unusual action picture snapped at Washington, Pa., during a 25-mile auto race. Two of the cars locked wheels and four others crashed into them, injuring all six drivers, none seriously. Bill Cassidy is shown after being thrown from his car. The driver in the other car is Al Musick.” (Note airborne driver in upper left corner.) (SB28)  

“Auto Driver Takes ‘Ride’ Through Air:  Unusual action picture snapped at Washington, Pa., during a 25-mile auto race. Two of the cars locked wheels and four others crashed into them, injuring all six drivers, none seriously. Bill Cassidy is shown after being thrown from his car. The driver in the other car is Al Musick.” (Note airborne driver in upper left corner.) (SB28)

 

Race venues range from the familiar like Indianapolis to the unexpected. On the West coast, there were races at Jantzen Beach in Portland (now a shopping center with a Home Depot) and on the East coast, there was racing at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, Long Island (now a shopping mall).

 

“And Bill Lit on His Ear: Spills like this one are regular occurrences at Jantzen Beach speedway, where midget autos race each Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon. In this picture, the photographer caught Bill Blomgren, Seattle driver, midway in a tumble that saw his car roll over completely and crash through a fence.”  (SB36)  

“And Bill Lit on His Ear: Spills like this one are regular occurrences at Jantzen Beach speedway, where midget autos race each Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon. In this picture, the photographer caught Bill Blomgren, Seattle driver, midway in a tumble that saw his car roll over completely and crash through a fence.”  (SB36)

 

“… That’s what the world’s leading automobile drivers will be doing October 12 on this crazily twisting four [mile race course] in Westbury, Long Island, when road racing returns to the scenes of its former glory…  Roosevelt Raceway provides road racing conditions with race-track conveniences to spectators… [with] this weirdly-designed course with its 1,600 right and left turns for the 400-mile inaugural race. The turns are not banked.” (SB53)  

“… That’s what the world’s leading automobile drivers will be doing October 12 on this crazily twisting four [mile race course] in Westbury, Long Island, when road racing returns to the scenes of its former glory…  Roosevelt Raceway provides road racing conditions with race-track conveniences to spectators… [with] this weirdly-designed course with its 1,600 right and left turns for the 400-mile inaugural race. The turns are not banked.” (SB53)

 

Then as now, the mantra of “racing improves the breed” is often heard among racing fans:

 

“Death rides the race-tracks, but the lessons learned from twisted wreckage often are used to prevent death in passenger cars. All race-tracks are proving grounds, of motors as well as of men.”  (SB53)  

“Death rides the race-tracks, but the lessons learned from twisted wreckage often are used to prevent death in passenger cars. All race-tracks are proving grounds, of motors as well as of men.”  (SB53)

 

And finally, Chuck’s parking ticket, which cost him $1 back in the day, still resonates with our own motoring reality, even today in the 21st century!

 

 

Since its not clear who actually created the scrapbook, the “Oxford Motorsports Scrapbook” is named after the only marking still visible, which is the brand of the scrapbook vendor, on the back cover. The front cover is missing. In order to share this highly delicate scrapbook, the WOS Archive has created an online flipbook for all to view and experience.

 

 

You can find the scrapbook on our online catalog where you can also add comments to add knowledge about the items in the scrapbook.