Jan York Romary
Born in Palo Alto, Jan was the first woman to compete in six Olympic Games
Ralph Faulkner and Polly Craus
Two-time Olympian Faulkner coached Polly Craus to a National title and an Olympic berth
Sal Giambra, Emily Romaine, Hans Halberstadt, Helene Mayer, Bunny Fratessa
Clubmates in Germany in the 1920s, Hans and Helene reunited in San Francisco at Halberstadt Fencers Club
After experiencing San Francisco’s Summer of Love, in 1967 Michael became the coach at Halberstadt Fencers Club
György Piller and Gerard Biagini
At the Fairmont Hotel in 1958, Piller demonstrates a foil lesson with San Francisco native Biagini
Fencing Master at UC Santa Cruz, member of a team that won gold at the World Master’s Championships
Preserving Fencing History
The passion for fencing history you’ll find reflected here on the West Coast Fencing Archive can be traced to the legacy of Charles Selberg.
An exceptional teacher and storyteller, Charlie brought fencing history to life for his students through his vivid tales of great fencers and famous bouts.
His estate, filled with posters, photos, scrapbooks and other fencing memorabilia, became the initial collection for the Archive. Since then, we have incorporated sixty more collections and counting.
The Latest Story
Some interesting pieces of memorabilia got floated in front of me and I had to scramble to collect all the loose change under the floor mats in my car and count out pennies from the change jar, but I couldn’t resist making a deal for them.
Other Tales from the Archive
This story began with a listing on Ebay. It was a photograph of a young woman in fencing garb, back hand on her hip and sword arm raised in a prime parry. Nice classical form, but nothing to inspire a purchase.
After spending the better part of this week running down stories that haven’t yet fully revealed themselves, I thought I’d revisit one of my many favorite subjects: Helene Mayer. There are a lot of photographs of Ms. Mayer out there, but several of the following are, I believe, unique to the interwebs until now.
Some time back, I wrote a story about Boffers. Designed by fencer/coach Jack Nottingham, they were the Rolls-Royce of polyethylene toy swords.
I love running across old photos of fencers. It doesn’t matter who’s in them or what condition they’re in for me to be fascinated with the discovery and the challenge of putting names to faces.
Ebay can be tricky to navigate. Not in a general sense. However, sometimes real gems can be found that are hidden between the lines when sellers don’t have a clue about what they’re selling.
One of the great features of all the scrapbooks created by Hans Halberstadt is the inclusion of ephemeral media. Hans would post cartoons, news clippings and magazine articles, interspersed with snapshots and portrait photography.
The Last Captain
FEATURE LENGTH FENCING DOCUMENTARY
For fifty years, the Hungarian National Sabre team had two constants: they took home gold in every tournament they entered and they had George Piller.
This is the story of Jekelfalussy (Piller) Gyorgy, the 1932 Olympic Sabre champion who defected to the United States during the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.
By Doug Nichols and Greg Lynch
Meet the Fencers
Meet the Fencing Masters
Have something to share or add? Our goal is to capture the stories we know are out there. Plus photos, videos, home movies, posters—you name it. All this material helps preserve the stories of West Coast fencing.
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