The IRA was established by Cornell, Columbia, and Pennsylvania in 1891, the third year of their race on the Thames River in New London, Connecticut. There Harvard and Yale, from 1878, had established and maintained "The Race" as an exclusive head-to-head contest. The newly formed IRA "left New London in frustration and disgust" next year and selected a permanent site for its own annual regatta in June 1895.
In June 1895, an IRA championship race was held on the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, with Cornell, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania competing. The course was a straight four miles, wide enough for 20 boats. In 1899 there were 48 cars in the observation train that slowly followed the race as "a moving grandstand" (on the heights above the river). People soon named the championship regatta after its permanent location and the name Poughkeepsie Regatta was used on the cover of the official program from 1922.
The Regatta grew to be "the greatest one-day sporting event in America" early in the 20th century, the culmination of a "carnival" regatta week on both sides of the river every June.
After 55 years, the IRA Championship Regatta moved in 1950 to Marietta, Ohio; in 1952 to Syracuse, New York; and in 1995 to Camden, New Jersey. Harvard and Yale remained self-segregated for a century, long after the IRA championship left Poughkeepsie and the Hudson River.
The Hudson River Rowing Association "welcomed back" the Poughkeepsie Regatta in October 2008, running races in eight classifications on a 2.3-mile segment of the traditional course.
Marist College "reenacted" a Poughkeepsie Regatta on the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie in October 2009, for the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson exploration of the river. There was a repeat in 2010 and a cancellation caused by foul weather in 2011. The September 2012 rendition was called "annual" by Marist.
- Mallory, p. 323.
Citing "Collegiate Oarsmen Organize: A New Intercollegitate Rowing Association Formed", The New York Times, November 1, 1891.
- Mallory, p. 323.
- Mallory, p. 324.
- Mallory, p. 327.
- "Programs". Intercollegiate Rowing Association: Poughkeepsie Regatta. Marist Archives & Special Collections. Marist College. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- Mallory, p. 328–29.
- Mallory, p. 329.
- "The Poughkeepsie Regatta". Hudson River Rowing Association. October 4, 2008. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
- "Quadricentennial Poughkeepsie Regatta". The New York Times. October 4, 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
- "Men's Crew Wins Annual Poughkeepsie Regatta, Women Finish Second". Marist Athletics. September 29, 2012. Marist College. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
Peter Mallory. The Sport of Rowing: Two Centuries of Competition. Four volumes. Henley-on-Thames, England: River Rowing Museum. 2011. Selections published online in advance as row2k.com Exclusive Features.
- "American Collegiate Rowing Takes Shape". Mallory (2011), vol. 2, ch. 28 (pp. 319–29). Featured online by row2k.com in (Mallory, chapters 27–35) (pages 312–60). Retrieved 2013-05-11.
- 1997 Exhibit: "Rowing on the Hudson River" by Allynne Lange, Curator, at Hudson River Maritime Museum (Archived 2012-02-04)
- Intercollegiate Rowing Association: Poughkeepsie Regatta at Marist College Archives & Special Collections
- "A History of Rowing In the Hudson Valley" by Warren Buhler at Hudson River Rowing Association