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
Serendipitous. Is that a word? Spellcheck isn’t trying to correct it, so I guess I’m on firm ground. Serendipitosity happens a lot around here. I find one piece of information, an image, a packet of photos. Time passes. I find another piece that fits into that puzzle. Then, quite unexpectedly, something comes across my desk…
Other Tales from the Archive
It’s so much fun to have your expectations and assumptions blown to bits. That happened to me this week when I had the great fortune to meet the daughter of long-time Letterman fencer Colonel Laurance Brownlee.
The founder and long-time fencing master at The Letterman Fencers Club was Dr. William O’Brien. The club’s home was a gymnasium in San Francisco’s Presidio, a windy patch of green near the southern foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.
In the woods of Southern Oregon off a dirt road and across a valley from the winding I-5 was a fencing salle d’armes built by Charlie Selberg in an old barn. It was stuffed to the rafters with fencing memorabilia dating back decades.
When I have the opportunity to visit someone who has fencing memorabilia that I can scan for my collection, I often don’t get a chance to thoroughly take in the significance of everything I’m working with.
Charles Selberg, or Charlie as he was more commonly known, in 1966 established the fencing program at UC Santa Cruz, home of the Banana Slugs. More, Charlie Selberg was an artist.
It’s a struggle to not take cheap shots at the drawings in old fencing books, at least for me. Sometimes though, the artist’s interpretation of the message the author is hoping to convey is just too good to forego a bit of a laugh.
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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