United Bowmen of Philadelphia


About Us

The United Bowmen had an uninterrupted existence until October 31, 1888 when seven members met and decided to entrust all of the Club’s records and trophies to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It wasn’t until October 3, 1932 when Robert P. Elmer, M.D. proposed to Mr. Spoffard of the Historical Society that the United Bowmen be revived. With the approval of the Historical Society eight men met on Sunday, October 9, 1932 and resolved to bring out of dormancy our beloved club the United Bowmen of Philadelphia.

Fellowship was, and still is, the core principle that keeps the members of the Club together. Archery, if we can borrow a phrase from the 1978 edition’s foreword, “is the adhesive that holds this affable group together.”

Membership has remained consistent over the last 25 years, but it never seems to stop the annual discussion about the invitation of potential neophytes. With the number of private shoots declining the Club has added two new events to our calendar to entice some new shooters to join our ranks. An annual Open Invitational Shoot held in August and in the winter of 2003 the first ever Open Indoor Invitational Shoot were sponsored by the Club.

Along this same topic the Bowmen have come to realize that for the club to continue to thrive we must grow with the times as well.  An incredible increase in the popularity of shooting the compound bow for hunting has inevitably created a new arena of competition. Tournaments and leagues for 3-D, field and target competitions have become more numerous than recurve events. Many recurve outfitters have even catered their businesses to this form of archery. For the Bowmen this means that in the future we will see members who shoot predominantly the compound bow and the possibility of some new trophies tailored to these shooters.

The Bowmen have also seen an increase within our membership the use of traditional archery equipment. In the middle to late 1990s many of our members took to shooting the longbow and much to the surprise of the group the number of longbow shooters outnumbered the recurve shooters at several events. Several of our members aided in the creation of the North American Chapter of the British Longbow Society, to which several of our members belong, have held office and have been or are currently its National Champion.

The United Bowmen have benefited from having the Corinthian Yacht Club as a stable home for shooting since 1936 a total of 67 years. The generosity of the Doeller’s, the managers of this facility, continue to make it an excellent location for nearly all of our shoots.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is still the keeper of all of our written records and artwork. The Club’s trophies are now in the possession of the Atwater-Kent Museum as the Historical Society has shifted its attention more to written artifacts and history.