The Boss, as he was affectionately known, had a storied history even before making his way to Hollywood during the silent film era. An accident during filming motivated him to find a way to rehabilitate and he found fencing, training under Henri Uyttenhove at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Being chosen as an Olympic team member in 1932 was a rare feat for a western fencer, as the Eastern hegemony had a lock on the selection process in that time. After his Olympic experience, he opened his own club, the Falcon Studios. There he and his wife, the dancer Edith Jane, split duties, she teaching dance, Ralph teaching fencing.READ MORE...
He molded numerous young fencers into champions, including Janice Lee York, Polly Craus and Sewall Shurtz. Ralph continued to teach at his Falcon Studios until his death in 1987 at the age of 95.
The Latin meaning of that, according to Google Translate, is “Wine of the Spirit”. As a philistine in the ways of Latin, I’ll have to accept it. No clue. Truly.
I’m not sure of the original source for the story, but it goes like this. In the early days of the AFLA, precursor to today’s USA Fencing, the East Coast was in charge.
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.
The 1971 US National Championships were held on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, commonly known as Cal. The locals did pretty well, too!
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.
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.
During an otherwise very pleasant Italian meal I shared with two-time, two-weapon National Champion and Olympian Sewall “Skip” Shurtz and Andy Shaw of the Museum of American Fencing, Andy mentioned that he’d come to appreciate, late in life, a difficult-to-like fencer who was once a teammate of Skip’s.
If you’ve been checking in here regularly, you’ll know I frequently haunt the corridors of that virtual thrift store known as Ebay. Sometimes I find things of fencing interest, sometimes I don’t. It’s a mix of disappointment and fascination.
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