Polly Craus grew up around the Faulkner School of Fencing with Ralph Faulkner acting as surrogate father, a role he played for several youngsters whose parents entrusted him with their care.
She began fencing as a young teen and excelled under Faulkner’s instruction. By the mid-1940s, she was one of group of Southern California women that began challenging the East Coast fencers, and included Faulkner teammate Jan York (Romary), Maxine Mitchell of Cavaliers and Muriel (Calkins) Bower from the LAAC.
Polly was a five-time runner up in the Pacific Coast Championships, twice to World and Olympic champion Helene Mayer. twice to teammate and future six-time Olympian Jan York, and once to Muriel Bower.READ MORE...
1949 was her most successful season, winning the Pacific Coast and US National Women’s Foil titles as Individual champion as well as team. She was on the Olympic team in 1952 and ended her competitive career soon after. She worked as a script supervisor in Hollywood for a time, her main credit being “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Marlon Brando. She remained involved with the Faulkner School until Ralph’s death at the age of 95.
Back in December, I took a trip through Southern California to do some research, have conversations, scan a scrapbook and collect some fencing memorabilia. It was an extremely successful tour.
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.
Driving around Southern California may not seem like much of a Holiday, especially when traveling alone, but a recent weekend outmatched all my expectations. The plan was to make four different stops in hopes of collecting fencing history.
As many times as I’ve mentioned the Halberstadt Scrapbooks on this website over the years, I was shocked to realize that I have not, until now, written a defining story about what they are and (to me, at least) their significance.
Janice Lee York Romary was the US National Foil Champion ten times in a span of 18 years from the first win to the last. She represented the United States at the Olympic Games a then-record six times.
It’s interesting, writing stories about people who you never knew well. I knew Maxine well enough to recognize her when she walked into a tournament. She was always wearing a USA sweat suit of an older vintage. Even as a newbie fencer, you could recognize the respect given by those around you to someone who had
I thought I’d focus on another fencing publication, but this time, the granddaddy of them all; American Fencing Magazine. First published in November of 1949, the early issues give a fair rundown of the happenings across the nation.
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