Photo: One of the presentations at the Argetsinger Symposium will be “Vincenzo Florio and the Origins of the Targa Florio: 1904 – 1906.” This photo shows George Pope in an Itala 35/40 in the inaugural Targa Florio race in Italy in 1906. Photo courtesy of RAPIDITAS, the official Targa Florio magazine.
BULLETIN BOARD ITEM via IMRRC —
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The International Motor Racing Research Center is again partnering with the Society of Automotive Historians for an academic symposium on racing.
The second annual Jean S. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History will be Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12, at the Racing Research Center, 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen. The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is a sponsor.
This academic forum offers graduate students, professors and historians an opportunity to present on any subject reflecting the rich cultural history of motor racing. The public is invited to attend, and pre-registration is not required.
Dan Simone, curator of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, will give the keynote address on Saturday.
Presentations will cover topics ranging from racing in Cuba, racing by early electric vehicles, 1962 and 1963 NASCAR Grand National Champion Joe Weatherly, the 1923 Italian and European Grand Prix and NASCAR and its TV ratings. One of the more unusual topics will be “Goodbye Four Hooves, Hello Four Wheels: Automobile Polo, the Forgotten Motorsports Pastime.”
Eleven papers will be presented. Because of the high number, two will be presented on Friday evening at 7 p.m. Saturday’s schedule will begin at 10 a.m., with the keynote address planned for 1 p.m.
All sessions are open to the public. A detailed schedule can be seen on the Center’s website..
Pat Yongue, a professor in the University of Houston English Department and an expert on women in racing, will be the symposium moderator. Yongue is a member of the SAH International Motor Sports History Section, which is partnering with the Racing Research Center.
Don Capps, chairman of the SAH International Motor Sports History Section, said the need for this type of academic symposium is apparent in the response in just the second year of the event.
“The interest in motor racing is part of what we term the ‘cultural turn’ in how we interpret the past. It is one way in which historians can provide a richer, more nuanced view of that past, thereby rendering a more accurate, undistorted story of not only our sporting past, but aspects of our world in general,” Capps said. “That we have so many academic historians and independent scholars showing an interest in this topic is truly encouraging.”
The symposium, which debuted in 2015, is named in honor of Jean S. Argetsinger, who was present with her husband, Cameron, when he revived road racing in America after World War II and later brought the United States Grand Prix for a successful 20-year run at Watkins Glen. She was one of the founders of the Racing Research Center.
“The Center is not a museum, nor is it an entertainment facility. The Center collects, preserves and distributes automobile racing information, which makes for a fascinating history,” said Argetsinger, who is a member of the Center’s Governing Council. “The IMRRC welcomes the presence of these scholars of the sport.”
Racing Research Center collections encompass race series and racing venues worldwide. The Center is the repository for several organizational archives, including the Road Racing Drivers Club. The Center owns the archives of National Speed Sport News and the archives of John Bishop, co-founder of IMSA and manages the Sports Car Club of America national archives.
The international Society of Automotive Historians encourages research into any aspect of automotive history. The SAH actively supports the compilation and preservation of papers, organizational records, print ephemera and images to safeguard, broaden and deepen the understanding of motorized, wheeled land transportation through the modern age and into the future.