The Lost Years: Skating And The Great War

Artistic print heading the figure skating history feature "The Lost Years: Skating And The Great War"

Between the sinking of the Lusitania, the Spanish flu pandemic, the Eastland disaster in Chicago, the White Friday avalanches in Italy, the Halifax Explosion and the deaths of tens of millions in the Great War, the years 1914 through 1918 were some of the bleakest in the twentieth century. During an era when the first priorities of men and women around the world were service and survival, it would seem obvious that something as relatively insignificant as figure skating would take the back burner. The reality is that against all odds, skating not only survived the War... but in some parts of the world, it thrived.

Illustration of three skaters by Abby E. Underwood

I would like to preface this project by clarifying that the research I'm presenting focuses solely on skating between July of 1914 and November 11, 1918, the date of the Armistice of Compiègne which ended fighting on land, sea and air at the end of the Great War. Excluded are details of the aftermath of the war and the subsequent revival of the Olympic Games in 1920 and European and World Figure Skating Championships in 1922.

My sincerest thanks to those who contributed to the research of this piece:

- Elaine Hooper, Matthias Hampe and Benjamin T. Wright - whose encyclopedic knowledges of British, German and American skating history never cease to amaze me.
- Lesley Hall, Archivist of the Wellcome Library - for her insight into life on the home front in Great Britain during the War.
- Mihály Orendi, Director General of the Hungarian Skating Federation - for his valuable insights into skating in Hungary during this period.


Irving Brokaw demonstrating bracket figures

During the Great War, skaters may not have been tackling triple jumps or even doubles, but that doesn't mean they weren't incredibly skilled skaters. In addition to a host of special figures, dance steps and spectacles which had been popular since the nineteenth century, skaters had to become proficient in the International Skating Union's established schedule of school figures, which consisted of four Eights, four Changes, five Threes, four Double Threes, four Loops, four Brackets, four Change-Loops, four Change-Brackets, four Three-Change-Threes, four Double Three-Change-Double Threes, four Loop-Change-Loops and four Bracket-Change-Brackets. Each figure was assigned with a factor of value corresponding with its difficulty. Several Eights, Changes, Threes and Double Threes only had a value of one, while two of the Loop-Change-Loops had the highest value - five. Judges evaluated the correct tracing on the ice, position, carriage and movement, the figure's size and the placing of the figure in triple repetition.

Left: Cover to sheet music from Charles Dillingham's "The Big Show" at The Hippodrome, 1916. Photo courtesy Library Of Congress. Right: Sheet music for "While You're Skating" by Amy Clark, 1915.

Free skating was without exception performed to live waltz, march, two-step, polka or mazurka music. In his 1915 book "The Art Of Skating", Irving Brokaw suggested the following pieces of music as appropriate choices for free skating programs: "Yankee Patrol" (Dixie and National Air), Strauss waltzes, "L'Estudiantina", "Fogel Hendler", "Dollar Princess", "Waltz dream", "A Frangesa", "La Czarina", "Jackson Haines Schlitt-Schuh" (Carl Enslem), Russian polka and xylophone music and "Drigo".

Per the International Skating Union's rules, free skating programs were required to be five minutes in length, with this time shortened for women or when competitions were held in higher altitude locations such as Davos and St. Moritz. A typical program consisted of any combination of spins, pirouettes and whirls, school and special figures, spirals, grapevines and spread eagles. Jumps, such as three and mohawk jumps, Axels, Salchows and loops were sometimes included as embellishments, but were not required.

Sample free skating program described by Irving Brokaw, 1915

Interestingly, the most common manner of a skater gaining momentum was a series of running steps. Anvil figures or 'cross-cuts' were described by Charlotte as something of an "oddity... useful in embellishing a skating programme." It's important to note that at this point in time, skaters were instructed to always ensure that their free leg was bent. "The 'unemployed' leg, as it is usually termed," explained Thelma Deutch, "should always be more or less bent, according to the movement and should never be held with the knee perfectly straight like a crowbar. Unless there is a slight bend to the knee the skater has an ungainly appearance."

Group of skaters in New York City, 1915

In Austria, there were those who cautioned that the Viennese School of skating was becoming too technically minded. In a letter to the "Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung" in 1915, Bruno E. Strauss lamented, "I told my skating teacher... beauty is no longer valued, only the difficulty. My teacher replied, 'You may be right now, that it is out of fashion. But in some time it will come back. Fashion goes, but beauty returns, though always in a different form.' I think that if the legendary Jackson Haines would appear in Vienna now, he would be considered a swindler by the extreme technicians, branded and with his curved skates, hunted by the trainers."


Fours skating, a hugely popular discipline in Canada, was borne from the English Style system of Combined Figures. Teams consisted of two men and two women, who performed both compulsory figures (three from the ISU schedule and two English Style figures) and a five minute free skating performance. Though the Connaught Cup, considered the highest honour for fours skating in North America, wasn't competed for during the War, fours skating was alive and well in both Canada and the United States... and was in many respects more popular than both pairs skating and ice dancing at the time.

Pattern for the Tenstep

The lines between pairs skating and ice dancing were quite murky during the War. In both disciplines, the sentiment was that the "lady was to be shown off as a cavalier". Things like throw jumps and overhead lifts weren't even ideas that had been conceived at this point, and pairs programs often consisted of hand-in-hand skating, school and combined figures, spirals, dance steps and the few known ice dances - the Once Back Waltz, Jackson Haines Valse, Tenstep or Bohatsch March, Fourteenstep, Kilian, Rocker Valse, Amerikaner Waltz or Mohawk, Q Valse and Swedish Mazurka.

Though separate contests were held for Waltzing, almost every pairs program included a waltz anyway! American professionals Clare Cassel and Paul Wilson noted, "Pair skating does not necessarily mean skating only for a lady and a gentleman. Two ladies look very well skating together, and two gentleman of equal size are are also interesting to watch."

Pairs skaters Cathleen Pope and George Kerner in action

Mae Hollander and Louis Borod in Ten-Below Tango position

With the ragtime craze came The Turkey Trot, Bunny Hug, Kangaroo Hop, Monkey Glide, Duck Waddle, Angle Worm Wiggle And Grizzly Bear... All that was missing was the Camel Toe. Oh wait, there was the Camel Walk instead! The general idea of these light-hearted dances was that couples were supposed to imitate the animals the dances were named after with their movements. As you can imagine, hilarity often ensued and many dance clubs actually forbade the dances - which were seen by some as vulgar and gauche - to be performed within their walls.

Instead of give up the Grizzly Bear, animal dance aficionados translated these fad dances to the ice. The October 24, 1915 issue of "The New York Times" reported, "Already several adaptations of modern dances have been made to be executed on skates. The ice waltz, the snowball trot, the frosty hesitation, the ten-below tango and the polar bear hug are some of the ice dances." That same winter, The "Spokesman-Review" reported that "various modifications" of these dances had already been popularly performed on ice for several winters. These weren't ice dances how we think of them now. They were largely stationary and really wouldn't have required much skating skill beyond being able to stand up and turn around so even the least adept skaters could get their Ten-Below Tango on to the strains of Scott Joplin without too much trouble.

As most dance crazes do, animal dances fell out of favour by the early twenties. However, one of the more sophisticated ones survived and evolved... the Fox-Trot. It was was officially unveiled as a legitimate pattern ice dance by Eva Keats and Erik van der Weyden at a competition in April 1933 organized by the National Skating Association's Departmental Committee For Ice Dance which sought out new dances.

Illustrations of dancers performing Vernon Castle's 'The Skating Step' 

The on-ice waltz inspired off-ice dancers to transpose elements of skating to the floor. Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle described a side-by-side two-step with a dip popular in New York called 'The Skating Step', Or 'Le Corta Jaca'. In 1915, Maurice Mouvet published a book which included a solo ballroom dance of Mouvet's creation called 'The Skating Waltz', set to the music of Schirmer's "Innamorata". Mouvet's dance included adaptations of the Dutch roll, figure eight and pivot. An unnamed observer remarked, "That a man in conventional evening dress should be able to reproduce the skimming motions of ice-skating so vividly that even his most stolid observers are stimulated to vigorous enthusiasm, is in itself a remarkable accomplishment."


In the years leading up to the War, many talented skaters realized that there was a decent living to be made in teaching others the art. T.D. Richardson noted, " In those days skating was the premier winter sport which was becoming more and more popular, and therefore everybody wanted to learn it. Everyone wanted to be able to 'cut a dash' on the rink, hence the demand for teachers." However, the negative effects of the War in Europe - rink closures, enlistment, economic conditions - had a huge impact on those who had not long before made their livelihood at places like Prince's Skating Club in London and the Palais de Glaces in Paris. ISU historian Benjamin T. Wright noted, "In consequence of this upheaval, many prominent teachers, especially those from the neutral states of Europe, sought scope for their activities overseas, and amongst them was the great Bror Meyer of Stockholm, who took himself, his theories and his genius for teaching to the U.S.A., thereby laying the foundation of the edifice of the outstanding successes attained by American skaters since that date. Into the ground, rendered fertile by the perception of two outstanding personalities, Irving Brokaw and George Browne who, possessed of a wide knowledge of athletics and of the arts, to say nothing of a sound practical knowledge of skating as accepted in the U.S.A. at that period, Bror Meyer sowed the seed which in the passage of time has blossomed into the brilliance of modern American skating." Harry Paulsen, a Norwegian professional skater who performed at the Admiralspalast in Berlin until the outbreak of War forced him to return to Oslo, taught Scandinavian skaters for a time before following Meyer overseas. Many of these immigrant skating instructors supplemented their income from teaching by performing in hotel shows and carnivals. Coaches who made the pilgrimage to 'the New World' flourished, while those who chose to remain in Austria-Hungary and Scandinavia sometimes barely scraped by.

The skating craze in America created a different kind of problem... inexperienced coaches. Several trained dancers with zero experience on ice, including Eileen Molyneaux and Clifton Webb, began teaching skating at the St. Nicholas Rink in New York. As the blind led the blind, many talented skaters didn't develop the way they could have had they received instruction from more qualified individuals. This didn't stop them from paying top dollar for their lessons. James B. Cruikshank, a skating judge from New York, noted that skaters paid as little as four dollars to an hour to as high as fifteen! He also noted, "[A] woman teacher of much fame was engaged by the season by one of the families of wealth to teach the young girls the art of figure skating, holding herself in readiness at their call and skating either in the city or in society skating resorts in the suburbs."


Unlike today, judges of figure skating competitions during the War were usually seated on the ice or rink side. Judges schools didn't exist, so most judges were former skaters and influential members of skating clubs. All figure skating competitions during the War were judged by the Closed Marking System. As none of the competitions during wartime were official ISU Championships, organizers weren't obligated to follow ISU rules with regard to judging. That's not to say they sometimes didn't.

In his 1915 book "The Art Of Skating", Irving Brokaw described the ISU's rules of the time (unrevised during the War) thusly: "In the European and World's Championships there must be at least five judges; but in minor contests there may be as few as three, who would be chosen, if possible, from among expert skaters... The judges must be separated from each other while forming their opinions, which must be made up independently. Their marks must be written down on the official judging cards. The result is made up as follows. On the judging card each School Figure is multiplied by the 'Factor,' and this is given to every figure beforehand and is made up in accordance with its difficulty. When all the judging cards are added up, each competitor receives his mark for the School Figures given by each judge. In the Free Skating

a. Denotes the contents of the programme (difficulty and variety)
b. Denotes the manner of performance (harmonious sequence, sureness, position, etc.)

with the marks from 0 to 6 reckoned the same way as in the School Figures. The multiplication is arranged that the highest marks obtainable for Free Skating must not be more than two-thirds of the highest marks possible to receive in the School Figures. The marks for the Free Skating and the marks for School Figures, added together, give for each skater the sum of the numbers which he receives from each judge. Each judge counts up the marks for each contestant in the School and Free Skating, and the skater who gets the highest marks receives the first place, the next the second place, and so on. If there are two or more skaters with the same number of marks, first place is given to the skater who has received the highest marks in the School Figures. If there be a tie, the result is obtained by adding up the 'Plattziffern' or place numbers. If two or more skaters have the same place number, the decision is arrived at by counting together the sum of the marks on each card, and should this not give a decision, the marks for the School Figures are added together... The judges take the numbers 0 to 6 in deciding the marks fo each School Figure, thus: 0-not skated, 2-passable, 4-good, 6-perfect. The numbers 1 to 3 are intermediate. The judges reserve the right to put in fractions. In deciding the points the judges must consider correct tracings on the ice; secondly, position, carriage and movement; thirdly, size of the figure; and fourthly, the placing of the figure in triple repetitions. The total result must appear on each judging card, also the marks for the School Figures and Free Skating, and also the total result. In The World's and European Championships and the Ladies' Championship, if the International Skating Union desires to see the cards, the originals must be sent to it in each case not later than one month after the event. Any other method of judging these contests is irregular." Pairs competitions were marked using a similar system, but were decided on a sole free skating performance.

In his 1919 book "Guide To Artistic Skating", George Meagher described the judging system employed by the National Skating Association at the time, which the Figure Skating Department of the Amateur Skating Association Of Canada would have used as a model: "The officials of a figure-skating competition shall be three judges and one scorer. The judging shall be done on a scale of points running from the number of contestants down to 0...The number to be given to the one standing first in any section shall be that of the number of contestants. Should there be two or more of equal merit, they should be marked the same number; and the one coming next below takes the number resulting from subtracting the number of competitors above him from the number entered. A total failure is marked 'zero'. A fall does not necessarily constitute a failure. At the conclusion of each figure each judge shall, without consultation with his associates, mark the number of points which he awards to each competitor. These reports shall then be compared, and in case of disagreement the majority shall decide. The scorer shall keep an accurate record of the points allowed to each contestant, on each figure, but shall not be permitted to inform any competitor of his standing until the close of the entire competition. In deciding the relative merits of competitors, special attention will be given to grace and ease of position, accuracy in skating to place, and ability to use both feet equally well. Competitors, before coming on the ice, will draw lots to decide the order in which they shall skate, and shall preserve this order throughout, except that the competitor who leads in each figure shall skate last in the next on the programme, the others preserving their relative succession. If, in the opinion of the judges, any competitor shall not have skated in the first eleven numbers sufficiently well, they may require him to retire. Any competitor refusing to skate when called upon in his proper turn, without a reason satisfactory to the judges, will be ruled out of the competition, and shall leave the ice. The decision of the judges shall be final with regard to all questions of disqualifications, interpretations of the programme, and merits of the competitors." To clarify, competitions that employed this system of judging didn't consist solely of school figures and free skating, but were run on a 'schedule' of over twenty categories, which included figures, free skating elements and special figures. Two of the categories, "Display of complex movements, at the option of the contestant" and "Specialities, embracing original and peculiar movements" could be interpreted as free skating categories via a modern lens.

A system for judging valsing (Waltzing) competitions was adopted just prior to the War by the International Skating Club Of America, St. Moritz International Skating Club and Prince's Skating Club in London. Couples were generally required to skate the Once Back Waltz, only introducing changes, brackets, rockers and counters to the dance if they were sustained movements on one foot. Two-footed skating was frowned upon.

Clare Cassel and Paul Wilson demonstrating the Once Back Waltz

After determining their starting orders by drawing lots, couples participated in a preliminary round while they all waltzed twice around the rink in tandem, then waltzed one by around around a large eight pattern, then in tandem again in the opposite directions. If more than seven couples participated, the judges each wrote down the names of the four couples they thought should advance to the final round. If there were less than seven teams, four were selected to advance. A referee or 'scrutineer' then tallied up how many votes each couple received, and a second vote was held if there was a tie. In the final round, the couples who advanced all skated around a large double eight then waltzed once around the rink in the positive direction and then changed to the reverse direction. The results of the final round were determined using the ISU's 6.0 system.


Various skating clubs and associations around the world had developed testing systems for skaters in the decades leading up to the War. A common theme in all of these testing systems was that either two or three judges were required for a test to be tried. In England, the National Skating Association revised separate three tier systems of testing for both the English and Continental Styles in 1912, which remained in place during the War.

NSA test records courtesy Elaine Hooper

The Berliner Eislaufverein's figure tests devised prior to the War were similar, but had four classes. The International Skating Club Of America offered only a Lower and Higher test in 1915. The Club des Patineurs de Paris instituted a test to distinguish between juniors and seniors during the winter of 1911/1912.

Through the efforts of Irving Brokaw, George Henry Browne, Karl Zenger, Louis Rubenstein and others, the concept of International (Continental) Style tests made its way to North America early in the War. On February 12, 1916, the Cambridge Skating Club in Massachusetts held its first tests in the International Style. Sherwin Badger, Arthur M. Goodridge and Rachel Winlock qualified for Bronze Medals. The Figure Skating Department of the Amateur Skating Association Of Canada introduced a new three tier system of testing of its own in 1917, modelled after the National Skating Association's system. It was agreed that first and second class tests would only be tried during annual competitions where judges were available. The third class test could only be tried at a club where judges were members. As there was a judge shortage out West, this posed a problem for skaters outside of Ontario and Quebec. By 1921, only skaters from the Montreal Winter Club and the Minto Skating Club had passed the Figure Skating Department's tests.


On December 21, 1914, the International Skating Union issued 'No. 101', its only wartime Communication to member federations and clubs. This Communication announced that all ISU Championships for the 1914/1915 would be cancelled, citing the reason that nine nations that were members of the Union were among the belligerents in the War. This same communication indicated that international figure skating competitions would continue that season, noting three planned events in Norway and one in Switzerland. Ultimately, the chaos of wartime and safety considerations resulted in the cancellation of the European and World Figure Skating Championships for the duration of the War. Planning for the 1916 Summer Olympic Games, which had been awarded to Berlin, Germany, continued early in the War. Ultimately, that event - which was slated to include a Winter Sports Week that featured a figure skating competition - was ultimately cancelled as well despite the insistence of the German Imperial Olympic Committee that the Games be held at the end of War. The newly completed Deutsches Stadion went unused for a time.

Thea Frenssen in 1917

In Canada, the newly established Minto Challenge Cups and Grey Challenge Trophy weren't contested during wartime. Several other countries - notably Great Britain and Germany - also cancelled national and international competitions for the much of the War for economic and safety reasons. However, the Berliner Schlittschuhclub did play host to a domestic competition in January of 1917. Thea Frenssen took the senior women's title; Elli Winter the junior women's crown. Winter teamed up with her sister to win the pairs event and Frenssen gave a pairs exhibition with one of the few men on hand - the Baron von Petersdorff. A competition between German and Austrian skaters was held in Vienna on February 18, 1917. As in the Berlin event, only junior and senior women competed. German skating historian Matthias Hampe recalled, "German Skaters were criticized for skating style like Charlotte. They were influenced by professional skating performed by the Admiralspalast Eisballet, so junior Elli Winter and seniors Thea Frenssen and Margarete Klebe used their arms over head level and used posing and free foot in ballet position. That was new in amateur figure skating!"

Advertisement for the 1917 Norwegian Championships

Norway's National Championships were uninterrupted for the duration of the War. Solveig Andersen and Arthur Johannessen, a pair from Oslo, managed to win four back to back national titles during the War. Andreas Krogh, who would go on to win the silver medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Antwerp in 1920, took the men's title in 1915. Martin Stixrud, who would win the bronze in Antwerp, was the Norwegian men's champion from 1916 to 1918. Sisters Klara and Margit Johansen took turns winning their country's senior women's title.

On February 4, 1917, Denmark's best figure skaters gathered in Aarhus for the only Danish Figure Skating Championships held during wartime. Alice Krayenbühl defeated Gerda Iversen to take the women's title; Fru Quinlan and Rudi Sürig took the pairs. The men's title was won by Holger Thiel, who trained under Norway's Harry Paulsen. Thiel was a specialist in the school figures, and many though that Peter Sørensen, a young soldier who placed second, should have been awarded the title on the merit of his fine free skating. Sørensen was the son of a South African sportsman.

Competitive figure skating was very much alive and well during wartime in Switzerland, home to the famous skating meccas of Davos and St. Moritz. At an international Winter Sports competition for bobsleigh and Continental Style figure skating held February 6 and 7, 1915 in Gstaad, Lausanne's
Alfred Mégroz bested Henry Forster-Berham of Château-d'Œx in the men's event. Jacqueline Mellor won the women's event; a Miss West and Captain Paton the valsing (waltzing) contest. Mégroz was also victorious at the 1918 Swiss Championships, held February 3 of that year in Davos.

Skaters at the Wiener Eislaufverein in March 1918. Top: Gisela Reichmann, Paula Hanka and Mizzi Schilling and Emil von Bertalanffy. Bottom: Herma Szabo, Ilse Adametz, Herma Szabo (second photo)

Nowhere did competitive figure skating during wartime thrive more than in Vienna, Austria. It's interesting to note that while the Wiener Eislaufverein, Cottage Eislaufverein and Engelmann rink all played host to national and local competitions during this period, almost every single event included competitions for senior women, junior women and junior men only. The only competition in Austria during the War that featured senior men's and pairs events was the January 23, 1916 Austrian Championships at the Wiener Eislaufverein. Only one man and two pairs participated at the event. The man was a doctor; one of the pairs skaters a Baroness.

Paula Zalaudek

The two senior women who dominated the Austrian competitions of this era were Paula Zalaudek and Gisela Reichmann. However, a young Herma Szabo - who would win Olympic gold in Chamonix in 1924 - managed to claim several junior women's events during the War. Prominent junior men's champions of the period included Egon Kment and Emil von Bertanlaffy. Alois Lutz, the teenage inventor of the Lutz jump, made his only appearance in competition at the 1917 Austrian Championships at the Engelmann Rink, placing dead last. Although his fate during the War was unknown, it has been speculated that he may have been one of the many victims of the Spanish flu pandemic. Another equally obscure Austrian skater of this era was a woman of nobility who competed under the alias 'Herold'. She placed dead last at one competition, some hundred points behind Zalaudek and Reichmann.

Two of the few international competitions of note held during wartime in Europe were the 1917 Nordic Games in Stockholm and 1918 Internationale Skøitelop i Kristiania in Oslo. Both events drew figure skating participants from Sweden, Norway and Finland. Norwegians Alexia and Yngvar Bryn claimed the pairs titles at both events. Sweden's Gillis Grafström and Magda Mauroy - who would both claim gold at the 1920 Antwerp Games - were victorious at the 1917 Nordic Games. At the Oslo event in 1918, Gillis Grafström bested Norway's Martin Stixrud a second time, while Mauroy lost the title to Klara Johansen.

Magda Mauroy. Photo courtesy Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande Archive.

These events both drew a who's who of Scandinavian figure skating and large crowds of spectators. Although the absence of Continental figure skaters was surely felt, the level of skating was undoubtedly of the caliber of any European or World Championships.

Charlotte's "Hippodrome Skating Book" and a photo of Charlotte from an advertisement for the Hippodrome Challenge Cup

Although the newly formed Figure Skating Department of the Amateur Skating Association Of Canada decided to suspend competition in Canada for the duration of the War, there were several competitions of note held in New York City, America during this period. The first was a series of "amateur and professional skating contests" held at the Hippodrome Theatre in late February, 1916. One reporter remarked, "Such a crowd gathered around the exhibition that the intervention of the police was generally necessary to make the spectators move before the surface of the ice caved in." Contests for girls and boys under sixteen, special figures, amateur and professional men, women and pairs and waltzing were all on the bill. The Plaza Hotel donated a cup to the winner of the special figures, while Broadway impresario Charles Dillingham (who was responsible for bringing Charlotte over from Europe) donated the Hippodrome Challenge Cup for "the best skater, man or woman, of the International Style of skating". One of Dillingham's caveats regarding the Hippodrome Cup was that a skater had to defend on three separate occasions to be considered the champion and that it could "be challenged for at any time". Boston's William B. Chase was the first person to win the Cup at this event. Arthur Held won a competition for professionals that was judged by audience ballot. Charlotte also gave an exhibition and was presented a special award by George Henry Browne, the headmaster of Boston's Browne And Nichols School who had played an instrumental role in popularizing the Continental or International Style in America.

Left: Theresa Weld and Nathaniel Niles. Right: Theresa Weld.

William B. Chase didn't return to defend the Hippodrome Challenge Cup when it was next contested on March 23, 1917. Reporter Lawrence Perry remarked that on this occasion, "The lower tiers of orchestra seats were filled with skating enthusiasts, nine-tenths of these women, representatives of the 'Tuxedo set', the 'Lenox set' and other 'sets' who have gone in seriously for skating as a fine art. They followed the sport intelligently - in fact, expertly. Their comments revealed something more than merely local knowledge, a great deal more, in fact. Their allusions and analogies extended to Davos, St. Moritz, and other Continental centers of ice sport, and they followed the various mazurka steps, toe jumps and spirals with the appreciation of qualified enthusiasts. The immense stage presented a flawless expanse of white ice, set off by a highly effective - if equally incongruous - back-drop depicting an estate in sunny Castille. At left centre was an orchestra of six pieces, while the judges, frowning judicially - all accept Charlotte - sat at a table in the centre, flanked at either side by benches containing the contestants." Theresa Weld of Boston drew first to skate, and performed so well that one of her competitors, Miss Vera Tompkins, reportedly "went to the judges and begged that her entry be withdrawn, her plea extreme nervousness." The judges insisted Tompkins go on, and she actually skated so well that she finished second to Weld, defeating two other women and four men, including Nathaniel Niles. Six men submitted applications but withdrew, leading some to speculate that they were intimidated about "losing to a lady". Weld also won the pairs competition at that event with Arthur M. Goodridge, defeating Niles and partner Mary Curtis. Weld and Niles teamed up to win the Waltzing title. Charlotte, Bror Meyer and Irving Brokaw all performed exhibitions in conjunction with the event, and racer Edward Lamy gave a demonstration of speed skating. Swimmer and Vaudeville star Annette Kellerman made impromptu sketches of the contestants and distributed autographed copies as souvenirs.

Theresa Weld competing for the Hippodrome Challenge Cup in 1917. She's wearing a wine-coloured velvet dress trimmed with moleskin and a small toque to match.

The Hippodrome Challenge Cup was next contested from February 6 to 8, 1918 at an international figure skating competition held at Thomas Healy's Crystal Carnival Ice Rink on Broadway and Ninety Fifth Street. Unconventionally setting her free skate to a mazurka, Theresa Weld defeated Great Britain's Rosemary Beresford and New York's Rosalie Dunn to claim the women's title. Reporter George B. Underwood described Weld's winning performance thusly: "Her style in the fundamentals, the first part of the programme, was next to faultless. It was finished, studious, typically Bostonese in attention to every detail yet with all so smoothly executed as to belie the effort and study of technique that lay behind it... In the free skating, it was typical of Miss Weld that she chose a modern up-to-date fox trot. To the strains of the jazz band in the gallery Miss Weld 'trotted' all over the ice with a graceful abandon that delighted the onlookers. She executed the difficult figures of the ice tango with movements seemingly devoid of effort or exertion, fading and melting one figure into another as she wove with infinite grace and wondrous skill the separate parts into a harmonious whole. Like a Norse elf she flitted over the ice with effort so craftily hidden as to make her appear wafted along by some unseen air current." Nathaniel Niles won the men's event over Sherwin Badger and L.C. Howard, who had previously won skating titles in Toronto and Detroit. Badger also took top honours in the 'novice' men's event, ahead of Captain W. Nephew King and Howard. In the final round of the event, the fight for the Hippodrome Challenge Cup, Niles defeated Weld by a ten point margin. Rosemary Seton Beresford, who'd been slated to participate, withdrew at the last minute.

The final competition of note held in New York City during the War was held from March 6 to 9, 1918 at the St. Nicholas Rink. Though simply known then as an international figure skating competition under the auspices of The International Skating Union Of America, this event was years later recognized by the United States Figure Skating Association as the second U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Theresa Weld and Nathaniel Niles defeated Clara Rotch Frothingham and Sherwin Badger in the pairs event. Badger won the 'open skating contest for men not skating in the championship class' (later recognized as the junior men's title) over New York's Emil Fuchs. In the women's equivalent of this class, Clara Rotch Frothingham, Rosalie Dunn and Lillian Cramer placed first through third. Sixteen year old Duncan McIntyre Hodgson of Toronto won the novice men's event over F.M. Meline of Brooklyn. In the novice women's event, Susan Seligman of New York bested Margaret Stokes of Brooklyn and Fredericka Fox of New York. Nathaniel Niles won the senior men's event over Karl Engel, Edward Howland and Joel B. Liberman, while Rosemary Seton Beresford defeated Weld in the senior women's event. It took the judges an entire hour to determine Ms. Beresford was the winner, and to this day, she is the only non-American woman to have won the American women's crown, though Canada's Jeanne Chevalier claimed what was later recognized the U.S. pairs title in 1914 with Norman Mackie Scott.


Charlotte and her skates

The figure skates in vogue during the War had reached to the top of the calf, had rounded toes and two upright 'stanchions' from the blade to the foot or heel plates, the blade curving over in the front to almost touch the shoe. A greater distance from the skater's heel to the ice and a larger radius of the curve of the blade, which was splayed in the middle, were noted improvements in the skates of this era.

Advertisements for skates and boots from the A.G. Spalding & Bros (America) and Eaton's (Canada) catalogues

Irving Brokaw stated that this model of skate allowed for more control on backward loops, brackets and rockers as well as free skating movements. He also remarked, "The movements of the skater are softer and better in appearance, as the skate glides easily and gracefully over the surface of the ice." Boots, which were made of leather or ivory calfskin, laced well up past the ankle and had a heel, added to assist in the "bent-knee position essential for the proper execution of artistic figures." Of historical significance is the fact that skating boots were sold in a variety of colours, including white, black, tan and gray. Contrary to popular belief, Sonja Henie was not the first woman to wear white skating boots.

Left: Advertisement for The Hippodrome Skate And Shoe Outfit, from Davega Co. Right: Editorial cartoon from "The Sun" depicting just how far people were willing to go to buy skates.

In Sweden, Salchow model skates (named after ten time World Champion Ulrich Salchow) were manufactured by Stille-Werners A.-B.- in Stockholm and Libergs in Eskilstuna. A.G. Spalding Bros. mass produced various models of figure skates and sold them at their department stores in America and Starr Manufacturing in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia was still a major player in the skate making game. John E. Strauss Jr. of St. Paul, Minnesota, a custom blade maker, introduced the one of the first closed-toe blades of one piece steel during this period, which allowed skates to be both lighter and stronger. The William Eastwood and Son Co. Department Stores in Rochester and Buffalo, New York imported Salchow skates from Sweden. Italian leather maker Gustave Stanzione's shop at Columbus Avenue and 69th Street in New York City, which had a shingle out front that read "Fine Skating Boots For Ladies And Gentleman", had been operational since 1905. Chicago's municipal playgrounds even installed skate sharpening machines for the convenience of recreational pond skaters, but figure skaters were cautioned to take their dull skates to someone who knew what they were doing.

Excerpt from "The Sun", November 1916

Some skate manufacturers struggled to keep up with the demand for skates at different points during this period. They excuse they used - which some were dubious of - was that supplies were needed for the War.


At the time the War began, Sweden's Viktor Balck was the ISU's President. Emmerich Szent-Györgyi of Austria-Hungary and Hans Valar were Council Members. Holland's F.J. Backer was the ISU Council's Substitute Member. Fourteen nations were ISU members and they were represented by twelve national associations and ten clubs, totalling twenty two members. As the ISU was non-operational during the War, only a few members paid annual dues, and no effort was made to collect them.



Luna Park roller rink turned ANZAC hospital. Photo courtesy Australian War Memorial.

By the time the Great War broke out, two attempts to bring ice skating to Africa had both failed. Josephine Dale Lace's Niagara Rink, at the South African Party's Club on Eloff Street in Johannesburg, had flopped due to refrigeration issues, as had a rink constructed by Cecil John Rhodes for his workers in Rhodesia. By 1915, the hugely popular roller rink at Luna Park in Heliopolis, Egypt served as a makeshift ANZAC hospital with five hundred beds for injured soldiers.


Charlotte and Irving Brokaw

The Skating Club of Boston, Skating Club of New York and Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society were 'the big three' skating clubs in America during the War. Skaters from these clubs formed close ties with skaters from their Canadian counterparts - the Minto Skating Club in Ottawa, Toronto Skating Club and the Montreal Winter Club.

During the War, there was a concerted effort amongst the skating elite to firmly establish the International Style in America, putting an end to the days of 'fancy' skating competitions of years back. Irving Brokaw of New York and George Henry Browne of Boston led the charge and were supported by a number of European coaches who arrived in America either just before or during the War, including Germans Fritz Schmidt, George and Elspeth Muller, Arthur Held and Karl Zenger and Swedes Bror Meyer and Emmy Bergfelt.

Mlle. Dazie and Arthur Held

Without the efforts of these skaters, American skating wouldn't have advanced as dramatically as it did during wartime. Brokaw's book "The Art Of Skating", which enjoyed several reprints, became something of a skater's 'bible' during the War. A larger than life influence, Brokaw was considered one of the country's top skating authorities and movers and shakers, and his outlook on skating as both a sport and art helped shape many skaters viewpoints. French skating historian Jeanine Hagnuer noted, "Irving Brokaw, great skater of his time, was an eclectic man; he painted and when he came to Europe, he brought with him a skater's canvas which he exhibited in the courtyards where he passed. He was the one who sought Jackson Haines' souvenirs, and at a ballroom he appeared dressed in his own way. He wrote excellent books on skating."

Left: Street view of billboard for "Hip-Hip Hooray" at The Hippodrome, 1915. Right: Charlotte posing for publicity materials for "The Frozen Warning"

In addition to the efforts of Brokaw, Browne, Meyer and others, it was the explosion in popularity of professional skating during the War that had the a dramatic effect upon the development of the sport.
After dazzling audiences with her Eisballets at the Admiralspalast in Berlin prior to the War, Charlotte Oelschlägel - billed simply as Charlotte a la Madonna or Cher - and her troupe, which included Ellen Dallerup, Katie Schmidt, Hilda Ruckert and Cathleen Pope and George Kerner, took New York by storm in the productions "Hip-Hip Hooray" and "Flirting At St. Moritz" at the five thousand, six hundred seat New York Hippodrome in New York.

Charlotte performing at The Hippodrome

Charlotte was an overnight Broadway sensation, enthralling audiences with her unique and daring performances on the theater's forty five by ninety foot rink, which was called Lake Moritz. Her performances compelled over four hundred thousand Americans to order skates. Irving Brokaw admitted, "Charlotte has done in a month what I have been unable to do in years."

William Rhinelander Stewart Jr., Mrs. Charles Dillingham, Richard Peters and Anna Pavlova in November of 1916. Photo courtesy Library Of Congress.

Anna Pavlova appeared with Charlotte, dancing on a platform on the ice while she skated. Caruso sent Charlotte his picture. John Raymond Hubbell even composed the "Charlotte Waltz". The Hippodrome soon had its own skating club, which sold an instructional book penned by the theater's star for a quarter. Dansants a Glace - or Iced Teas - became the latest craze.

Charlotte even starred in a six-reel Commonwealth Pictures Corporation silent film about espionage on ice called "The Frozen Warning". The film, which debuted on January 28, 1918, was directed by Oscar Eagle, with camera work by Jackson Rose. It was in the style of the 1914 serial "Perils Of Pauline".

"The Frozen Warning" drew praise from critics from Chicago to Vancouver. In hindsight, the plot of the film - which included Charlotte (a German skater) carving out the word 'SPIES' on the ice and performing stag jumps in the direction of the villain - was quite risque. Anti-German sentiment was a very real thing in the United States during the War - particularly after America declared War on Germany on April 6, 1917 - and it was no secret that there were German spies in America plotting sabotage and planting propaganda. In some parts of the country, German residents were permitted to speak only English in public and German street names and monuments were removed. A well-heeled, famous German woman working in New York City like Charlotte would fared better than most, as there was a strong community of German cultural elites in the city who were unabashedly Pro-German.

At the height of Charlotte's popularity, Charles Dillingham engaged a Chicago circus performer named Fred Stone to take the stage to parody her on ice in another of his lavish stage productions, "Jack O'Lantern". Stone's impression of 'Charlotte Russe' was panned by a critics from "The New York Times", who remarked that his performance "had no trace of the fine, feminine grace and accomplished art of the real Charlotte."

Left: Advertisement for "The Frozen Warning". Right: Clipping advertising Charlotte.

"The Frozen Warning" wasn't the only skating film made during the Charlotte craze. Bud Fisher, the creator of the comic strip "Mutt And Jeff" created a short animated cartoon film called "On Ice". It was released by the newly founded Fox Film Corporation on April 14, 1918, but didn't receive much attention.

Owners of newly constructed Hotel McAlpin on Broadway and 34th Street considered installing an ice rink to get in on the skating craze. Ice revues popped up on the rooftop of Shubert's 44th Street Theatre, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Fifth Avenue, Thomas Healy's Golden Glades on 66th Street and Columbus Avenue and the eighteen thousand square foot St. Nicholas Rink on West 66th Street, which boasted a live orchestra and forty expert instructors. Admission was seventy five cents.

Skaters at the Biltmore Ice Gardens (top) and Thomas Healy's Golden Glades (bottom)

Well-to-do skaters at the the Biltmore Hotel on Madison Avenue's semi-enclosed Ice Gardens formed the Secours Nationale Skating Club, raising funds to aid Belgian and French women and children. By 1916, Harry A. Cochrane was in talks to install an artificial ice plant at Madison Square Garden.

Lawn tennis on ice became a fad at the 181st Street Ice Skating Palace. In 1916, the Iceland rink opened. In 1917, the Skating Club of New York held its first carnival. In 1918, the Crystal Carnival Ice Rink on Broadway and 95th Street opened and the Jackson Haines Skating Club was formed. This rink was short-lived and was soon converted into a one thousand, six hundred seat movie theatre.

Left: Actress Ethel Barrymore being pushed on an ice chair at Tuxedo Lake. Right: Illustration of the Iceland rink in New York City, which had a balcony café

Celebrities like actress Ethel Barrymore, as well as a who's who of New York City's upper crust took to the ice, among them Mrs. John Jacob Astor, Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Mrs. Daniel S. Lamont and Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Gould. The February 1916 issue of "The Edison Monthly" raved, "New York is ice-skating mad... No one knows exactly who is responsible for this newest trend of public interest. And what is more, no one seems to care. The chief desire is to skate, and to this end weak ankles are being strengthened by divers exercises recommended on the magazine pages of the daily papers; elaborate and startling skating costumes are being purchased, and Gothamites of all ages and sizes are renewing interest in the fickle 'red ball'."

The "Castles In The Air" show at Shubert's 44th Street Theatre 

The 'Charlotte phenomenon' wasn't limited to New York either! Ice revues popped up at the Terrace Garden at the Morrison Hotel and Hotel Sherman and College Inn in Chicago, Hotel Muehlebach in Kansas City and the Hotel Winton in Cleveland. In the summer of 1917, the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens unveiled an open-air skating rink, which was believed to be first summer ice rink in America. Operated by an artificial ice plant, the twenty by forty one inch rink - protected from the elements by a canvas fly - played host to six skating exhibitions given thrice daily by professional skaters.

Olive Barbee Dorrett and Abbie Gerrish Jones' song "Skating"

More Americans than ever became exposed to skating than ever. Newspapers and periodicals regularly featured how-to guides from professional skaters and pieces on the latest skating fashions. Author Laura Lee Hope included a 'skating scene' in one of her "Bobbsey Twins" books and Olive Barbee Dorrett and Abbie Gerrish Jones composed a rhythmic song for children called "Skating".
In early 1915, a women's only skating club called The North Star Skating Club was founded in Chicago. At its first meeting, twenty five women joined - mostly speed skaters.


Advertisements for ice shows at the Terrace Garden, Morrison Hotel , Chicago, Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City and Thomas Healy's Golden Glades, New York City

Skating blossomed on the West Coast too. Rinks in Portland and Seattle were doing record business and in 1916, four rinks opened in California. The first was a rink at the Portola-Louvre Café on Powell and Market Streets in San Francisco called Tate's Winter Garden. One of its big attractions was a 'Kostume Kandy Karnival' on ice, where all those skating in costume were given boxes of candy. The second was a twenty six by thirty six foot artificial ice rink at the Cafe Bristol in Los Angeles called the Ice Palace. The rink had a midnight blue lighting system and was decorated with stars to give the illusion of "moonlight in the Arctics". The rink offered matinee ice shows and well as skating sessions during dinner hour. Among the many performers at this rink were Gladys Lamb, Bobby McLean, Lora Jean Carlisle, June Rogers and Jack Davies, barrel jumper Gordon Thompson, 'ice comedians and polar clowns' Steele and Winslow and Russian figure skater Hala Kosloff. Among the instructors were Chicago's Grace Allen and Harley Davidson, the father of Canadian skating sensation Mabel Davidson.

Skaters at the Cafe Bristol in Los Angeles, 1916

In March of 1916, a thirty five by one hundred and thirty five foot artificial ice rink was unveiled at the Panama-California International Exposition in San Diego. This rink featured morning sessions where would-be skaters could receive expert instruction and evening exhibitions. An artificial skating rink and salt water swimming tank was also opened at Idora Park in Oakland, managed by Bertrand I. York. Only ten years prior, the amusement park had played host to over two thousand people displaced by the San Francisco Earthquake.

Ruth Cruger

On February 13, 1917, an eighteen year old skater who was a regular at the St. Nicholas Rink and the skating lake in Van Cortlandt Park in New York City went missing. Ruth Cruger was last seen by her sister leaving home to pick up her skates, which she'd dropped off at the Metropolitan Motorcycle Company to have sharpened. Her disappearance made the front pages of newspapers and led to a widespread search and investigation. Sadly, Ruth's body was discovered just over four months later in a pit underneath the cellar of the Metropolitan Motorcycle Company. She had been bludgeoned and slashed to death 'Ripper style' and her skates were found in the pit where her body was concealed, stained dark with blood. Her killer Alfred Cocchi - the man whom was to sharpen her skates - fled to Italy. Three years later, he was found guilty and sentenced to twenty seven years imprisonment. Mary Grace Humiston, the 'lady detective' and attorney whose insistence that the area where Ruth's body was found be searched ultimately led to the case being solved, earned herself the nickname 'Mrs. Sherlock Holmes'.

The American Exhibition Ice Skaters Association was formed in 1917 as well, with the goal of nationally controlling the many hotel ice shows that were popping up throughout America at the time. Professional skaters from America wanted assurance they'd be paid fairly for their work and that the market wouldn't be over saturated with skaters from abroad. The A.E.I.A. was run by a board of directors with William Arlington as president, John A. Scully as vice president, J. Lewis Coath as secretary and general manager and Edward W. High as treasurer. A 1917 "Variety" magazine explained the gist of what the Association aimed to do: "A plan has been worked out. Instead of the cafe proprietor paying a stipulated sum for the skaters, he can elect instead to turn over to the Association the total amount in cover charges. From that the Association pays the skaters and it also defrays the expenses of installing the tanks, which the Association will supply in such cases. After the engagement the hotel people have the privilege of buying the tank. Where a rink is already installed or where the hotel people so elect, a salary, fixed by the Association, is paid. The various skaters have agreed that the Association put a price on their work. Should a larger figure be obtained, the skater agrees that one-half of the excess salary over the stipulated amount shall be turned into the Association for promotion work... Each skater has weekly dues, $2.50 being paid by those working (in lieu of commissions) and $1.00 weekly for those not working. The figure mentioned as contributed for advance publicity among hotel interests is $2,000 and it is claimed that out-of-town hotels have already asked for bookings from the new Association... The capital stock will be $100,000, subscriptions expected to come from lovers of the sport and ice fans, which number many wealthy persons. There is no salary paid any of the officers save that of secretary." 

Gladys Lamb and Norval Baptie performing in 1917

The organization purported that an estimated eighty percent of American professional skaters performing in these hotel shows were in support unionizing. Quoted members included Norval Baptie and Gladys Lamb, Cathleen Pope and George Kerner, Franz La Mar, Bunny Moore and Runcie Martin, Ed and Dottie Lamy, The Fink's, The Old Smoothies, Bassett and Chappelle, Steele and Condon and Davis and Rodgers. Although the A.E.I.A. probably had the best of intentions, it just wasn't a model that ultimately worked at the time. Skaters from Europe were flocking to North America by the dozens to make an honest living as professional skaters and the Association couldn't ultimately control the explosion of skating in the way they aimed to at the time. 

Neither could Irving Brokaw himself. He lamented, "The sport has aroused such a tremendous storm of enthusiasm that it is not unlikely that too many rinks will spring up overnight. Everyone seems suddenly to gave gone ice-mad. For years I have tried to arouse enthusiasm in this most graceful of sports and now that the boom has come I'm almost afraid the thing may be overdone. There are so many people who are taking up skating now who will never really amount to anything. They are going at it in the wrong way. You see them at the rinks going around and around like so many mice on a tread-mill instead of endeavouring to perfect themselves in the only feature of ice-skating that is really worthwhile - figure skating. Of course, I realize that we must learn to crawl before we can walk, but when I see skaters who have been able to skate for years and are still content to roll around in a the ceaseless grind of rink-skating instead of trying to accomplish something in the way of figure skating, it makes me a little discouraged." 

Skaters on Como Lake in St. Paul, Minnesota, 1917

Juxtaposed with the glamorous world of professional skating, amateurs at skating clubs faced their own sets of challenges. In the Boston area, coal shortages meant that skaters either had the option of skating in a freezing indoor arena or outdoors at the Cambridge Skating Club, where membership had increased by two dollars. In 1918, the Boston Arena was destroyed by fire... so that choice was made for them.

Poem by Joseph Chapman, 1917

Philadelphia skaters had to sit outdoors on the rocks to put their skates on until an old tool shed was moved near the Merion Cricket Club's pond for that purpose. They also faced disappointment when plans to set up rinks on four separate locations all fell through. It wasn't until the end of the War when the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society put up three hundred dollars to set up a rink at the University of Pennsylvania Law School tennis courts at 34th and Chestnut Streets that they finally found a temporary solution. Joseph Chapman recalled skating during the War in Philadelphia thusly: "We lighted the pond by having people drive their automobiles to the edge, with headlights on. We had to take a chance on the weather, and I remember one such carnival when the temperature was forty above zero at four p.m. and it was up to me to decide whether to call the carnival off. As there was a slight west breeze rising, I decided to go ahead and we gave the carnival that evening in a howling wind and a temperature that had dropped to ten above zero."

Both the Buffalo and Brooklyn Figure Skating Clubs formed in 1918. Skaters in Brooklyn had to dodge seven posts and put up with the lingering smell of horses, for they were skating in a converted barn. A history of the Buffalo club noted, "During the early War years, Mrs. Bryant Glenny and some friends started skating at the Rumsey Pond located behind the Rumsey home on the corner of Delaware and Tracy. An Englishman, Dr. G.H. Alec Clowes introduced this group to 'fancy' skating and they all tried to emulate him. In 1918, Mr. Emil Rotopan, a Swiss who had figure skated many years on the continent, began to skate on the Delaware Park Lake. Always appearing with a broom to sweep the ice for his school figures, he attracted much attention. Soon there were several Buffalo people who joined him in figure skating."

Cover painting by Lester Ralph from "The Ladies Home Journal", 1915

Nearing the end of the War, in April of 1918, New York State Ice Controller Benjamin B. Odell ordered the closure of various artificial ice plants to conserve ammonia for munitions purposes. Despite the protestations of Thomas Healy of the Golden Glades and Cornelius Fellowes of the St. Nicholas Rink, Odell effectively shut down figure skating in New York for two months. The rinks re-opened in June of 1918.

Australia and New Zealand

Skaters on Lake Catani on Mount Buffalo, circa 1918. Photo courtesy Museums Victoria.

The Melbourne Glaciarium remained open for the duration of the War. The popularity of figure skating grew by leaps and bounds thanks to a series of fancy dress carnivals held at the rink. Nearly one thousand skaters participated in the rink's 1915 carnival, which offered prizes for Most Striking Costume, Best Sustained Character and Most Original. The year prior, a 'team' of five won an award for their 'Antarctic Expedition' costumes. Funds raised at these carnivals benefited the Victorian Red Cross Fund for Australian Sick and Wounded Soldiers.

Australian couple with woman posed in skating carnival costume, circa 1910-1920. Photo courtesy State Library Victoria.

The popularity of figure skating in Sydney, on the other hand, declined. A heavy demand for cold storage space caused the Sydney Glaciarium's managers to cease operations. Many Sydney ice skaters turned to roller skating at the Centennial Skating Palace. People skated on dozens of natural ponds and lakes in the Otago and Canterbury Provinces of New Zealand, but curling was more popular than either figure or speed skating.

Austro-Hungarian Empire

In 1914, Kaiser Franz Joseph I issued a decree in Vienna banning 'all racing and sport competitions.' Ultimately, this blanket ban was short-lived. However, in some rural parts of Hungary laws were passed forbidding skating on ponds and rivers in the evenings due to the inherent dangers of rescuing skaters who had fallen through the ice at night. In Croatia, skaters competed in informal obstacle and speed skating races to win prizes - luxuries like bottles of champagne, oranges and chocolate.

Skaters at the Városligeti Műjégpálya, January 1915. Photo courtesy Eötvös Károly County Library.

Both the Magyar Országos Korcsolyázó Szövetség (Hungarian Skating Federation) and Budapesti Korcsolyázó Egylet (Budapest Skating Club) were members of the International Skating Union. Károly Demény served as President of the latter for the duration of the War. Sadly, the figure skating community in Budapest suffered a blow when plans to construct an artificial ice rink on the site of the Városligeti Műjégpálya were delayed for financial reasons. There were no public skating sessions in the City Park from the time of Kaiser Franz Joseph I's decree until January of 1916. When skaters were allowed to return to their favourite haunt, they packed the ice until eight in the evenings. Then, the electric lamps that illuminated the ice were extinguished and they were escorted home by guards.
Many of the top figure skaters from Budapest were not only disheartened the delay in construction of an artificial rink, but their inability to connect with others in the international figure skating community due to the cancellation of ISU Championships.

One skater who hadn't lost her mojo was Lili Kronberger, the winner of the ISU Championships for women (later regarded as World Championships) from 1908 to 1911. In December 1917, the Hungarian newspaper "Huszadik Szadad" reported, "Lili Kronberger Szent-Györgyi, who has not [competed] for two or three years, is [restarting] serious training. Every morning at half past 8 o'clock, she has been great out there on ice and is conscientiously preparing for the [women's skating championships of the Central Powers]." Ultimately, both this competition and Lili Kronberger's comeback never came to fruition. An attempt by the BKE Sports Committee to organize figure skating competitions for high school students also failed.

Angela Hanka

Karl Fillunger served as the President of the Österreicher Eislaufverband from 1907 until 1917, when he was succeeded by Emanuel Hajek. The Engelmann Rink, Wiener Eislaufverein, Währinger Bicycle Club and Cottage Eislaufverein in Vienna all remained unabated during the War. Figure skating competitions were held regularly, though the women certainly outnumbered the men. A skating carnival held in the city in February 1915 drew a massive crowd. Performers included Gustav Hügel, Angela Hanka and Charlotte. The performance of the latter was described thusly: "Besides incomparable grace, Miss Charlotte has a downright fabulous skill and a sureness which one can only correctly designates as 'phenomenal'. Her program consisted of a series of all known figures and jumps, including the difficult Axel Paulsen jump, which has never been seen in such perfection [since] it was demonstrated by the inventor himself thirty four years ago... Charlotte performed happy dances on the ice and a combination of ballet poses with ice figures. She offers a picture of dazzling grace and you could watch for hours without getting tired."


An article from the December 5, 1914 issue of "Land And Water" magazine painted a romanticized Christmas on the fronts in Belgium, suggesting "there would be plenty of skates in Belgium [to] beg or borrow". The harsh reality remained that nearly all of Belgium was occupied by Germany during the War. Over twenty thousand buildings were destroyed and thousands of civilians were killed, injured and sent to Berlin to work in factories. Dutch internees in Mons were warned, "It is forbidden for transported internees to store or sell their riding gear, vehicles, vessels and skates."

The once-popular skating rink in Liège was transformed to a large restaurant, where former workers from the Liège Railroad Company supplied low-cost buffet meals to approximately four thousand Belgians daily.


Skaters in Riverdale, Ontario, 1915. Photo courtesy Library And Archives Canada, John Boyd fonds.

Figure skating in Canada was controlled by the newly formed Figure Skating Department of the Amateur Skating Association Of Canada, which was chaired by Louis Rubenstein of Montreal. There were nine member clubs as of 1916 - the Minto Skating Club, Montreal Winter Club, Afternoon Skating Club in Winnipeg, Connaught Skating Club in Vancouver, London Skating Club, Rideau Skating Club in Ottawa, Toronto Skating Club, Halifax Skating Club and Calgary Art Skating Club.
Though the Figure Skating Department opted not to hold competitions during wartime, they did appoint nine judges. Fortunately, none of the organization's founders served overseas, as most were past enlistment age. Annual membership to the Figure Skating Department was one dollar, and by April 1918 the organization had a bank balance of one hundred and thirty nine dollars and change, which came from memberships and donations.

Advertisement for the Victoria College Rink at the University Of Toronto, 1917

Unfortunately, many clubs struggled during the War because their male membership was decimated due to recruitment. Larger urban centers like Toronto and Ottawa thrived while skating clubs out West in particular suffered.

Skaters forming a line on Grenadier Pond in Toronto. Photo courtesy City of Toronto Archives.

Though the organization's financial resources were limited and cross country communication was a challenge, under Rubenstein's leadership efforts were made to organize a test system and recruit judges during wartime. In 1915, a rule was adopted that a judge had to be approved and appointed by the Figure Skating Department in order to judge at the Canadian Championships. This rule boded well for judges from the East who had friends in the close-knit organization, but less well for those out West who were both geographically and socially disconnected from the group. As a result, there was a judge shortage in the West. In 1916, the same year women's suffrage leaders celebrated a victory when women earned the right to vote in four Canadian provinces, the first female figure skating judge in Canada was appointed.

Figure skaters at Rideau Hall in 1915. Photo courtesy Canada Patent and Copyright Office / Library and Archives Canada.

Skating was alive and well in Ottawa during the war. Coach Dunbar Poole coached at the Minto Skating Club during the winters, returning to his native Australia to teach in the summers, which were of course winters down under. Though many club members were serving overseas, an influx of war workers in the Dominion's capital helped keep the club afloat.

Another contributing factor to the club's wartime membership was the fact that in 1913, a special junior category of membership was established. Two afternoons a week were set aside for young 'up and coming' skaters, with the cost of instruction included in the fee. Over one hundred skaters took advantage of the offer. A skating pantomime in February of 1915 in aid of the Canadian Red Cross Society featured in excess of two hundred skaters. The Duchess of Devonshire and the Duke and Duchess of Connaught were among the many distinguished guests at huge skating parties held at the Government House rink.


Skaters in Charance, France, 1915

France's figure skating community suffered a huge blow in 1914, when the Palais de Glaces closed its doors for the duration of the War. Louis Magnus, who was President of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques, vacated his position for the duration of the War. To further complicate matters for skaters in Paris, ice skating was prohibited on the lakes of Buttes-Chaumont and the Parc Montsouris.

"La Bûche de Noël" by artist Fabien Fabiano (Jules Coup de Fréjac), 1915

One of the few places where people were permitted to skate was the park at the Bois de Vincennes. Frederic René Coudert, a lawyer who was a keen member of the Skating Club of New York, served on an American committee that worked to evacuate orphans from the war front in Paris.

Left: French holiday card with skating pigs, 1915, Right: Unidentified soldier wearing ice skates in Vignacourt, France, circa 1916-1918. Photo courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Many skaters hung up their skates for several years, only to return enthusiastically when the Palais de Glaces re-opened during the winter of 1919/1920. However, French skating historian Janine Hagnauer recalled, "The young [skating champions] that the War had driven to Nice did not all return. Some of them had been married with permission or had acquired respect by becoming widows. The younger ones settled with new rich people. Others remained in the locker room."


Skaters at the Ruhleben Gefangenenlager (British Civilian Internment Camp) near Berlin, Germany during the winter of 1917-1918. Photo courtesy Harvard Law School Library.

In 1914, the Admiralspalast at Friedrich Strasse 101 and the Eispalast on Luther Strasse 22 in Berlin were thriving skating centers. A skating rink 'made of salt' was even opened at the city's zoo using a process patented by Dr. Edward Arnold opened.

A mother and daughter enjoying a winter skate in Germany, 1916

German holiday cards, circa 1914-1916

Less than a year later, the Eisballets at the Admiralspalast had ceased and the Eispalast went bankrupt and closed. It was used as a warehouse for meat reserves for the duration of the War. The Deutscher Eislauf-Verband was largely non-operational during wartime, though it retained skating judge Otto Schöning as its Secretary. One of the few rinks that remained operational in Berlin during wartime was the open air West-Eisbahn II in the Leibnitzstraße.

Great Britain

Mock trench at an exhibition held at the Prince's Skating Club at Knightsbridge, 1916

Two of the biggest changes that the Great War brought about in Great Britain was the mass exodus of men answering the call for military service and the number of women and children who began to work. An estimated two million women joined the work force in England from 1914 to 1918, replacing men who were serving in the military. Some served as 'canaries' in munitions factories, clarks in offices and cared for Belgian refugees. Yet others were nurses or agriculture workers 'doing their bit' to keep food on British tables. On the home front, figure skating would have been viewed as a leisure activity... and certainly not a priority. Lesley Hall, the archivist at the Wellcome Library surmised, "I am not convinced that women, after a hard day in the munitions factory or conducting a tram, etc, would have felt like skating, though of course there were also women taking up office jobs in place of men."

Another major factor that limited the figure skating community in Great Britain during the War was the lack of accessibility to the skating resorts in Switzerland. Even if skaters had the means and time to do so, they simply couldn't hop on a boat and take a train or vernacular to Davos or St. Moritz even if they wanted to. Prior to the War, people travelled freely without Visas and passports. The War changed that completely.

Women's Auxiliary Army Corps Christmas card, 1918. Photo courtesy National Army Museum, London.

The National Skating Association's President and Secretary for the duration of the War were William H. Fisher and George T. Cobbitt. Only a handful of rinks remained open, the National Championships were suspended and few tests were taken after 1915 owing to a shortage of judges. To invigorate the ranks of elderly male judges, the National Skating Association made a groundbreaking decision during the War. Phyllis (Squire) Johnson and Mrs. W. Coats were appointed as the first two female judges in Great Britain. BIS historian Elaine Hooper noted, "Mrs. Coats judged mainly Scottish tests but Phyllis judged at Prince's, Manchester Ice Palace and went up to Scotland as well."

Prior to the War, Prince's Skating Club at Knightsbridge, London had been something of a mecca for both champion figure skaters and high society types wishing to learn to "cut an edge", perform "the forward, and forward three out, and forward in" or dance the Waltz or Tenstep. The private skating rink had played host to the figure skating competition at the 1908 Summer Olympic Games... and several key suffragette exhibitions.

The Queen Consort Mary of Teck posing with toy-makers at Prince's Skating Club before making several purchases to support the war effort

Prince's played host to Princess Clémentine and Prince Victor Napoléon of Belgium's's War Exhibition in 1915, organized in aid of the Belgian Red Cross Anglo-Belgian Committee. The Economy Exhibition in 1916 offered suggestions on how to economize to those on the home front. Hand-crafted wooden soldiers made by disabled soldiers and sailors were sold to support the war effort. The British Women-Workers' Exhibition, also at Prince's in 1916, was essentially a job fair for women, which endeavored to "furnish women with new ideas of gaining a living". In 1917, the rink was taken over by the Red Cross for storage.

Prince's wasn't the only rink utilized for war-related purposes. The roller speed skating rink in Aldwych was one of the first to be acquired by the committee. As early as October of 1914, the Kensington Division of the British Red Cross Society had repurposed the space to temporarily house thousands of Belgian refugees. Rink staff and volunteers from the rink's the catering department worked alongside V.A.D. cooks, doctors and nurses to assist in the care of those who found themselves in Aldwych.

Christmas card, circa 1918

The Ice Palace on Cheetham Hill Road in Manchester, built in 1910, was perhaps the only ice rink that was open to the general public in England during this period. Its newspaper advertisements read, "The Most Superb Skating Palace In The World. Real Ice Skating. Popular Saturday Evenings, at 7:15. Admission 6d." However, in early 1915, the rink was taken over on behalf of the government by a firm which manufactured observation balloons. Because of its high ceilings, the Ice Palace was one of the few venues that was suitable for that kind of war work. Though ice was sporadically installed during the War, the Manchester Ice Palace didn't officially reopen until November of 1919. For the next several years, it would be the only ice rink open in England.

Earl's Court, which would later play host to a series of hugely successful ice pantomimes, became the home of Belgian refugees. In 1916, a skating carnival was held in Aberdeen. Its advertisement boasted: "attractions include a ladies' skating quartette, exhibition of pair skating by Prof. Lorentz and pupil, chariot race, grand lantern parade, musical chairs, etc. An exhibition fancy and skating will also be given by skating experts from Glasgow."

Skaters in Manchester during the winter of 1916

Skaters on the home front in Great Britain had to deal with their fare share of tragedy. In November of 1915, twenty people were submerged when the ice broke during a skating session at Warford, Cheshire. Eight of them perished. The following year, a skating rink in Tonypandy, Wales was completely demolished during an intense late March blizzard.

Wounded Private Alexander Henry Craigie of the Australian Imperial Forces, skating with an unidentified Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse at Regent's Park in 1917. Photo courtesy photo album of Enid Gordon, Blind Veterans UK Archives

Temperatures dipped low enough in Wimbledon and Hampstead in February of 1916 for a group of soldiers to enjoy skating on a frozen pond. In early 1917, a cold snap in London caused the Serpentine River in Hyde Park to freeze and ice floes to appear in the Thames. Though many took to frozen ponds and rivers during this 'gift' from Mother Nature to skaters, a nationwide government ordered blackout made night skating by lamp light an impossibility.

Many ANZAC soldiers from Australia and New Zealand stationed in England were in awe of seeing frozen ponds and rivers for the first time. "The Queensland Times" reported, "Many of the Antipodeans tried to skate on the various safe stretches outside London. One man with one leg and two rubber shod crutches made quite good progress at Richmond, with occasional lapses from the perpendicular. At Walton-on-Thames, where the New Zealand hospital is, the men were enjoying the sport greatly. There were some Canadians who were experts in skating, and at Regent's Park one wounded man from Montreal gave a good exhibition of figure skating. Afterwards he tried to teach a Queenslander. Both were in full hospital bit and their 'clues' and scarlet ties made an effective note of colour. At the Queenslanders retired baffled, contented to watch the experts, among whom was Princess Patricia of Connaught." Two nuns affiliated the Red Cross from New Zealand who had gone to Buckingham Palace to be invested by Queen Alexandra, Sister Marie Wilkie and Sister Nixon, wrote from Brockenhurst, "During the long winter [we] had been able to get in some skating, the patients also enjoying it."

Private Daniel Crowther, a British soldier who was invalided to England after developing trench foot in Bapaume, used skating as a form of physical therapy. In a 1917 letter he recalled, "When I was discharged from the hospital I was granted 10 days' leave, which I spent partly in London and partly with friends in Cheltenham. It has been the most severe winter in England for 30 years, and there was no sport but ice skating. I put most of my time on that to get my feet into form again."

Though The Edison Company exhibited a short silent film in England called "On The Ice" in 1915, one of the few figure skating exhibitions of note held in England during the War was an ice skating scene in Albert de Courville's revue "Razzle-Dazzle!" at The Empire at Drury Lane in London the following year. John F. Davidson, Freda Whitaker and Ethel Dean's performances alongside a crew of skaters from Switzerland, Russia and Sweden on a small artificial ice rink imported from America were considered a highlight of the play. 

Skaters onstage at The Empire at Drury Lane in "Razzle-Dazzle!"

Though "Razzle-Dazzle!" received accolades from the British press, a theatre critic writing in the July 9, 1916 issue of the "Chicago Sunday Tribune" wasn't as generous: "A much boomed skating spectacle, with real ice on the lines of the famous one at the New York Hippodrome, fell rather flat after being waited for for over four hours. We had heard of the 150 peoples on skates in the New York show and were disappointed to see only six at the Lane. The War, with the resulting shortage of men, is to blame for this."


Dutch skating art, 1915

The Nederlandsche Schaatsenrijders Bond - a member federation of the ISU - had four Presidents during wartime - M. Mzn van Heloma, F.J. Backer, W.J. Vollenhoven and B.W. van Vloten.

Though 'touring' (long-distance pleasure skating over the frozen canals near Amsterdam) and speed skating were hugely popular in Holland, figure skating was not. Interestingly, all  soldiers in Holland were issued skates by the Dutch military.


As far back as the nineteenth century, a manmade pond on the grounds of the Kanaya Hotel in Nikkō drew skating enthusiasts in winter. Lake Suwa-ko, the largest lake in the Nagano Prefecture, was another popular skating destination. Skating in Japan was still in its infancy during the War though. The Japanese Skating Association wasn't formed until 1920 and the skating season only lasted from two to two and half months. Few women skated, and with little to no instruction and less than ideal equipment, progress was slow during this period.


Russian sketch of skaters, 1916

Civilian life in Russia during the War was incredibly bleak. Devastation, hunger, crime, homelessness and health epidemics were at every turn... even before the Russian Revolution in 1917. Figure skating all but died in Moscow. Not only was there no specialist coach, but skates and skating literature were hard to come by. The once beautiful Petrovka 26 skating rink even became a dump of domestic waste. Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin, 1908 Olympic Gold Medallist in special figures and prominent skating coach, worked to keep figure skating alive in St. Petersburg during this period. His pupil, Xenia Caesar, won a competition in the city in 1915... one of the only known figure skating events during the War in the country.


Danish postcard with three young skaters, 1915

Figure skating in Scandinavia thrived. Jørgen Møller served as President of the Dansk Skøjte Union for the duration of the War. The Finksa Skridskoförbundet, also an ISU member, was presided over by Reinhold F. von Willebrand until 1917, when he was succeeded by Gostä Wasenius. Norway's Skating Federation, the Norges Skøiteforbund, had four Presidents during wartime - Ludwig A. Thue, Aksel Gresvig, Andreas Claussen and Knut Ørn Meinich.

A group of Swedish men dressed for ice skating, 1915. Photo courtesy Bohusläns Museum.

Both the Svenska Skridskoförbundet (Swedish Skating Federation) and the Stockholms Allmänna Skridskoklubb (SASK) were ISU members. Carl O.E. Silfverstolpe was President of the Svenska Skridskoförbundet until 1918, when Ulrich Salchow took over. Viktor Balck served as the President of the Stockholms Allmänna Skridskoklubb until 1916, when he was succeeded by Otto Rooth.

Swedish figure skater Svea Norén and speed skater Axel Blomqvist, 1917

The Stockholms Allmänna Skridskoklubb, Christiana (Oslo) Skating Club, Copenhagen Skating Club and Helsingfors Skridskoklubb were all bustling with activity. Numerous speed skating races, hockey and bandy games and figure skating competitions were held. The assets of the International Skating Union - over 3000 Swedish krona - were kept safe in a bank in neutral Sweden. That capital - however respectful it was - paled in comparison to the value of Queen Maud of Norway's gorgeous pair of custom brown leather skates.

"Death On Skates" by Finnish artist Hugo Gerhard Simberg, circa 1916

Prior to the Finnish Civil War in 1918, the figure skating community in Finland was embroiled by a complicated mess of politics between the Finnish Skating Association and Finnish Gymnastics And Sports Association (SVUL). The rules of the Finnish Skating Association claimed that each locality could have only have one club membership in the organization, and that each club had to have its own skating rink. As many clubs shared rinks, they weren't able to join. At the same time, SVUL began holding its own skating competitions, which weren't recognized as National Championships. The rules of both organizations differed greatly, and it wasn't until December 1917 that the latter organization 'handed over' the organization of skating events to the Finnish Skating Association, which was the only skating organization in Finland to hold ISU membership anyway. Famous Finnish skater John Catani's café closed in 1917 due to wartime rationing and remained closed during Finnish Civil War.

South America

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the lifestyle of high society in Buenos Aires, Argentina began to echo that of Europe more and more. In 1910, Joseph R. King, a Briton living in the city, built the opulent belle epoque style Palais de Glace on land provided the city and opened the space as South America's first ice rink. The venue is still operational today for trade shows and exhibitions and explains its early skating days as such on its website: "Modelled on the Paris Palais des Glaces, the skating rink round occupied the central hall, and the surrounding boxes and lounges gatherings were distributed. In the basement of the building machines manufactured ice that supplied the track were installed, and the first new floor boxes, confectionery and a body completed facilities with a vaulted ceiling culminating in a dome with a large central skylight that even today preserves, designed to give natural light to the rink. Halfway through the 1910s, with ice skating and less in vogue, the Palais de Glace became an elegant ballroom with oak floor to welcome the new ambassador of civic culture: tango." The actual year of the Palais de Glace's transition from ice rink to ballroom was 1915 and it was in the venue that Porteno trendsetter Baron de Marchi staged tango soirees there in the roaring twenties, after which the dance was accepted by local high society.


Poster advertising skating at Davos, 1917

Arthur Held, a New York City based skating instructor who hailed from Munich, noted,
"Comparitively few of the Swiss skate. Throngs visit the lakes of Switzerland annually but most of them are skaters from other countries, there to exercise and practice."

Postcard illustrating skaters at the Eisbahn in Davos, 1915

Switzerland, which remained neutral through the War, was the home of two of the world's biggest skating centers - Davos and St. Moritz - as well as a host of other 'winter health resorts' which advertised skating in their brochures. In the years leading up to the War, skaters from around the world thought nothing of making the arduous trek over the Julier Pass to carve out figures on pristine ice. Unfortunately, tourism to these popular winter sports meccas dwindled considerably as the War progvfressed. This loss of revenue, coupled with difficulty importing food and rationing, made for tough times for the Swiss people. However, they still continued to practice skating. The Club des Patineurs in Lausanne elected a new executive in 1917, the same year the first course for skating teachers was held in Davos. W. Holsboer served as the President of both the Schweizer Eislauf-Verband and International Skating Club Of Davos for the duration of the War.

Young patients of Dr. Henri Auguste Rollier skating in Leysin, 1917

The much maligned Dr. Henri Auguste Rollier presided over a Children's Sanitorium and Swiss Military Clinic during wartime. It was his belief that heliotherapy was a 'cure all' to tuberculosis.


Left: One woman's skating fashion of 1916: a Russian style coat in black velvet, trimmed in beaver fur, with pockets under the seams of the widening front panel, a homespun striped pleated skirt eleven inches from the ground and matching cap and gloves. Right: A dual purpose skating/bathing dress pictured in the British newspaper "The Daily Sketch" in 1916.

The importance placed on skating fashion throughout the war in newspapers and periodicals serves a  reminder that figure skating wasn't a sport for those without means. And let's be real here... many of the high society types who took to the ice did so not out of any great love for the sport, but moreso to 'be seen' in the trendiest skating fashions. Carolyn Towbridge Radnor-Lewis observed that a trip to the St. Nicholas Rink was essentially "a fashion show on skates."

Though many women's skating costumes were made of homespun wool, duvetyne, brood-cloth, upholsterer's velvet, worsted and silk, less practical fads like leather, angora, raccoon and beaver fur skating costumes popped up during this period. Inspired by the designs of French couturier Paul Poiret, these new styles inspired many women to shun the tightly-fitting corset... leading to a much greater freedom of movement to say the very least.

Top: Advertisement for Macy's, Bottom: Window display at Hamilton and Co., 1916

The Abraham & Straus Department Store in Brooklyn, New York displayed the latest ready-made skating fashions for women and girls on mannequins. A&S sold everything from muskrat and chinchilla skating muffs to the 'Princess Model' - a putty coloured velvet corduroy dress trimmed with skunk fur. Women's skating fashions went for as much as forty dollars - almost five hundred in today's money!

The competition, Macy's on Herald Square in Broadway, offered even pricier 'novelty skating suits' for women made of wool velour, melton and Hudson seal. One such suit, which featured trouserettes and a flared coat trimmed in fur, sold for seventy three dollars and seventy five cents.

Left: Charlotte modelling a leather skating costume trimmed with fur. Right: American illustration of skaters sporting velveteen and Angora.

Though female skaters had liberated themselves from tighter corsets and shortened their hemlines slightly, the fashions being sold to skaters weren't always practical. Charlotte warned, "The material of the skating costume ought to be something which does not bulk up, something which falls into naturally graceful curves and straightens up quickly. An undergarment of silk or satin in the form of a petticoat, bloomers or knickerbockers is important in skating any difficult or spectacular figures, since it serves to keep the gown from bunching around the legs. The skirt should be comparatively snug around the hips and free, even slightly flaring, around the edge. The new unrestrained and somewhat bold way of skating necessitates skirts which permit freedom in the swinging and spread of the legs. A petticoat or short skirt of thin woven elastic goods, especially if of silk, makes an ideal undergarment for the skater, whether beginner or expert. The length of the skirt should be about to the tops of the skating shoes. Sensible costumes are now being adopted the best skaters of all countries. One should as soon think of swimming in a long skirt as skating in one. The skirt which reaches to the middle of the calf will be found both comfortable and graceful... Skating is worth a pretty and appropriate costume, and such a costume will last for years and be always in style."

An unlikely contributor to skating fashion during the war was Ida Schnall, the captain of the New York Female Giants baseball team. She designed a skirt which, with the click of a few snaps, could be converted into a pair of nifty skating pantaloons.

Left: Advertisement for 'Onyx' hosiery from Emery & Beers Company, 1918. Right: Advertisement for Holeproof Hosiery Company, 1918.

Men's skating attire varied from practice to competition. In practice, men would often wear a double-breasted corduroy, suede or leather jacket lined with fleece and knickerbockers or trousers. These 'winter sports' jackets were widely sold by department stores and through mail order.

Commentary from Robert Lloyd Trevor on men's skating fashion, 1916

For competition, male skaters generally wore tight fitting coat or military style jacket with a collar, trimmed with astrakhan fur, mohair or decorated with braid and tights or knickerbockers with leather leggings which fit over the ankles. A smart felt hat made of fur or dark cloth was also sometimes worn. Canadian skater Norman Mackie Scott wore a civilian jacket with collar, necktie and tights for his skating performances.


Advertisement for Ivory Soap, 1915

Writers from Boston to Berlin raved of the health benefits of taking to the ice. One writer, Andrew A. Gour, went so far as to remark: "The effects of skating are plentiful and good. The chilly and crisp winter air compels one to action in order to keep warm. This activity reflects upon the body by promoting metabolism and increased respiration... There is much satisfaction felt in the ability acquired at every new achievement in skating. And these new achievements are limitless if possibilities are considered. But, in one's eagerness to achieve, skating may be carried to excess. Where opportunities afford a chance to carry skating to excess, the same bed affects as of running may result. That is, heart dilatation, lung congestion, and in women, pelvic congestion."

Advertisement for Quaker Oats, 1915

Skaters became increasingly aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. However, at the same time, wartime shortages meant that the nutrition of many skaters suffered greatly. While the British sent over sixty million pounds of meat to soldiers on the front lines, those living on the home front consumed less fruit and vegetables, butcher's meat, butter, cheese and sugar than usual. The Canada Food Board encouraged "meatless Sundays" and the canning of fruits and vegetables to preserve waste. Healthy food - the fuel that skaters needed 'to do their jobs' - was in shorter supply.

British advertisement for Buchanan's Scotch Whiskies, 1914

Still, Edgar Syers - who won the bronze medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London with his famous wife Madge - claimed to know "one genial Continental Champion, who had six poached eggs in his soup every day just as a start before dinner."


1917 holiday greeting card. Photo courtesy Library And Archives Canada.


1914 - Leopold Linhart (July 29), Emil Ratzenhofer (August 2), Fraser Sweatman (October 13), Clarence Hislop (November 6), Estelle Weigel (November 18)

1915 - Felix Kaspar (January 14), Ernest Yates (January 18), Gweneth Butler (June 1), Mabel Fairbanks (November 14), Günther Lorenz (September 17)

1916 - Liselotte Landbeck (January 13), Osborne Colson (March 31), Piroska Szekrényessy (May 1), Winfield A. Hird (May 5), Dénes Pataky (June 30), Tamako Togo (July 24), Violet (Supple) Cliff (November 2), Erle Reiter (December 29)

1917 - Hertha Frey-Dexler (January 16), Roman Turusanco (February 13), Jack Dunn (March 28), Len Liggett (April 28), Hilde Holovsky (April 29), Ryusuke Arisaka (September 15), Audrey Peppe (October 12), Janet Sweatman (October 29), Henry Graham Sharp (December 19)

1918 - Audrey Miller (February 11), Viktoria Lindpaintner (February 13), Eleanore Bäumel (February 21), Bianca Schenk (April 24), Geoffrey Yates (May 16), Pamela Prior (June 11), Joan Dix (August 3), Elemér Terták (November 2)


1915 - Mildred Allingham and Thomas Dow 'Tyke' Richardson
1916 - Lucie Erna Lieckfield and Franz Paul Jainczik, Edith Carol Finley and Daniel Frederick Secord
1917 - Ella Maria Anna Stoffel and Gustavus F.C. Witt
1918 - Anna Hübler and Ernst Horn, Muriel Maunsell and George Frederick Galt


1916 - Esther Ben Nahmias and Louis Magnus
1918 - Grace Helaine and 'Manny' Chapelle


1915 - Eugene Beauharnais 'E.B.' Cook (March 13), Eugène Sordet (July 15)
1916 - Franz Zillÿ (December 4)
1917 - Madge Syers (September 9)
1918 - John 'Jack' McCulloch (January 26), John Newton Digby (April 1), Josef Oppacher (August 5)

It has been claimed that Alois Lutz perished during the War and it is known that Russian skaters Karl Antonovich Ollo, Ivan Pavlovich Malinin and Sergei Van Der Fleet perished fighting on the front lines. Unfortunately, primary sources confirming their dates of death are unavailable.


"Deafness, Numbness. The loudening tornado.
Bullets. Mud. Stumbling and skating...
Cool madness."

- Excerpt from "The Assault", Robert Nichols, 1916

Editorial cartoon from "Punch" magazine, 1917

Several prominent Canadian figure skaters served in the military both voluntarily during the first two years of the War and through conscription after 1917. Edward Theodore Barclay Gillmore, a Colonel who had served in the Boer War, was a member of the Minto Skating Club in Ottawa. Originally a skater of English School, he was one of the first to encourage acceptance of the International Style in Canada. He voluntarily served on the front lines in France, commanding the 4th Canadian Divisional Ammunition Column which fought in the Battles Of The Somme and The Battle Of Vimy. Colonel Gillmore survived the War, only to pass away in 1929 of heart failure.

Dorothy Jenkins and Gordon McLennan. Photo courtesy Minto Skating Club.

Andrew Gordon McLennan, who won the Canadian pairs title in 1913 with Muriel Burrows, was also a member of the Minto Skating Club. In September of 1914, he put figure skating on hold when he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Military service was nothing new to Gordon. He had already served for fourteen years with the 43rd Regiment (The Duke of Cornwall's Own Regiment) . He headed overseas with the 2nd Infantry Battalion - the Governor General's Foot Guards - to fight in the Great War. Sadly, he was wounded during the Battle of Ypres in April of 1915 and sent to an infirmary in London to recuperate. His service records noted that he was the victim of a gunshot wound to the right arm and that "his nervous condition still continues, there being pain and disability in the right arm, especially during exposure to cold or wet weather. Does not sleep well." After he recovered, Gordon returned to Canada and was appointed to the Office Of The Provost Marshal at the Militia Headquarters in Ottawa. By the conclusion of the War, he had been given the rank of Major as well as the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers Decoration - V.D., the British War Medal and The Victory Medal. Following the War, he won the Canadian pairs title with Alden Godwin and the North American pairs title with Dorothy Jenkins.

Illustration from "London Evening News" depicting a fallen soldier from Orpington, Kent in the trenches in 1915, who was told by his Cockney peers to get up, because "this ain't a blinkin' skatin' rink!"

Ottawans Douglas Henry Nelles and Ormonde Butler Haycock were the first two men to win the Canadian title. They also both enlisted. Nelles served overseas with the Canadian Forestry Corps during the Great War, reaching the rank of Major. He was demobilized in 1919 and returned to Canada via Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the HMT Minnekahda. Haycock enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on March 8, 1916 and went overseas to serve in anti-aircraft batteries.

Philip Harvey Chrysler

Philip Harvey Chrysler, who won the Canadian men's title in 1913, served in the 3rd Canadian Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the War, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. However, he spent almost as much time in European hospitals as he did in service due to trench fever and chronic ear problems and was discharged in 1917. A medical board inquiry on his service record noted, "Since coming to England [his] condition has become worse owing to unfavourable climactic conditions. He has lost considerable weight and is very much run down."

Jeanne Chevalier and Norman Mackie Scott

Norman Mackie Scott, a Canadian skater who won the international competition later recognized as the first U.S. Championships in 1914, began his military service with the Canadian Engineers. He was injured while flying a caudron biplane in France and reached the rank of Captain.

Cecil Rhodes Morphy, a nineteen year old bank clerk from Listowel, Ontario, joined the 55th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in April of 1916, serving as a reinforcement to troops from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. After serving in the Theatre Of War in France, he was admitted to a hospital in Boulogne due to colitis. He contracted bronchitis and pharyngitis two months later and was shipped off to the Royal Free Hospital in London, England. He returned to Canada in January 1918 to receive further medical treatment. In the roaring twenties, he won four consecutive Canadian fours titles, as well as the North American fours title in 1923.

John Machado. Photo courtesy City Of Toronto Archives.

American born John (Juan) Zaldivar Machado, who would win the Canadian men's title in 1924, also travelled to France, spending four months with the American Field Service before driving an ambulance with the United States Army Ambulance Service. He earned the Croix de Guerre for his service. Melville Rogers, who would become one of the most decorated figure skaters in Canada following the War, enlisted as a Corporal in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in May of 1918 at the age of eighteen.

Clifford Sifton Jr. was a member of the Toronto Four that medalled at the 1923 and 1924 Canadian Championships. He was the son of politician Sir Clifford Sifton and Lady Elizabeth Armanella Burrows. During the war, he served with the 13th and 15th Batteries, 4th Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery and at the road quarters of the Staff Reserve Brigade. He was wounded in action on the field in May of 1918 and reached the rank of Major. Three of Clifford's brothers also served during the war, as did David Blain, another member of the Toronto Four in 1924. A civil engineer by trade, David served with the 256th Railway Construction Battalion in both England and France.

Frankford and Melville Rogers' graduation photos from Osgoode Hall. Photos courtesy The Law Society Of Upper Canada.

From 1925 to 1929, Melville Rogers dominated the North American figure skating scene, winning four consecutive Canadian senior men's titles, four medals in the Canadian senior pairs competition and gold and silver medals in singles and pairs at the North American Championships. In 1927, he was one of the first four skaters in Canada to pass the First Class Gold Medal test. He also spent sixteen months training in the Canadian Officers Training Course, enlisting as a Corporal in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in May of 1918 at the age of eighteen, nearing the end of the Great War. Melville's older brother Frankford, who made it a family affair by skating with him in the fours event at the 1922 Canadian Championships, also enlisted. He served with the 2nd Depot Battalion of the E.O.R.

Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor was a renowned speed and stilt skater who later turned professional, took up barrel jumping and figure skating coached his daughter Megan to gold at the 1938 and 1939 World Championships. He was born in England and came to Canada when he was six years old. He won a speed skating title in Winnipeg in 1915 but soon joined the 53rd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. A.C.A. Wade recalled, "During the war he joined the Machine Gun Corps and was wounded... in France. He was nine months in hospital, and for a long time was only able to walk with crutches, being a cripple for over a year. By careful training he gradually restored his legs to normal, and made such a fine recovery that in 1920 he was skating again as well as ever... [After the War] came to the Manchester Ice Palace, where he took up figure skating. Later he won a number of medals for figure skating in Switzerland."

Arthur Hubert Freidrich Preusch of Minnesota, who went on to become a Midwestern pairs champion with his wife Edith in the thirties and a respected U.S. figure skating judge, served with the American military. He was drafted in June of 1917 at the age of twenty one, giving up his job as a draftsman to fight the good fight in Europe. When the War ended, 'Uncle Sam' sent him to study École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was joined in the good fight by Hayward Kendall Kelley of Cleveland, who went on to serve as an Olympic and World judge and USFSA President in the fifties. 'Ken' attended Officer Candidate School at Camp Taylor and was a Second Lieutenant in the United States Field Artillery.

Claude Langley, a respected figure skating instructor in Australia, gave an exhibition of "first class skating" at the Melbourne Glaciarium in August of 1915. Mere months later, he enlisted in the First Australian Imperial Force, serving as a Major with the 4th Brigade of the 13th Light Horse Regiment, Headquarters and Machine Gun Section. His battalion fought in the second battle of Bullecourt on the Western Front as well the Battle of Broodseinde in Belgium.

Basil Williams

Argentina born stockbroker Basil John Williams won the Swedish Cup for figure skating in the Continental Style - the British Figure Skating Championships - in 1913 at Prince's Skating Club at Knightsbridge. Early in the War, he served with the British Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli. He was wounded in Palestine, but remained in the army for the duration of the war.

At the age of eighteen in May of 1918, John 'Jack' Ferguson Page enlisted in the Royal Air Force. It wasn't until after the Great War that he took up figure skating at the Manchester Ice Palace, which just happened to be the only indoor ice rink that was operational in England until the late in the roaring twenties. He went on to set records for the most British men's and pairs titles (eleven and nine) which haven't been matched to this day.

Thomas Dow 'Tyke' Richardson, who would go on to become an esteemed Olympian, judge, author and figure skating historian, served on the Western Front, reaching the rank of Captain. Roy Scott Hewett, who later won the 1921, 1922, 1923, 1926 and 1927 Championships of the National Skating Association in the English Style, served in the Royal Army Service Corps, reaching the rank of Temporary Captain. Albert Proctor Burman, who represented Great Britain in pairs skating at the 1928 Winter Olympic Games, served as a Private with the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry and a Second Lieutenant with the 4th Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment in Gallipoli.

Hubert Martineau

Hubert Melville Martineau achieved the rank of Major for his service with the Welsh Guards. Following the War, Martineau served as a figure skating judge and donated the Martineau Cup for the winner of the National Skating Association's first Women's Championship. Albert Proctor Burman served with the 1/4th East Lancashire Regiment of the Royal Air Force, reaching the rank of Second Lieutenant. After the War, Burman won seven medals at the British Championships, competing in both singles and pairs. British impresario Gerald Palmer, who would later be known for his work with Tom Arnold putting on England's beloved ice pantomimes, served with the The Queen's Bays, which was part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade after going from Bedford School to Sandhurst. Henry Rule, who would later serve as the longtime chairman of the Richmond Ice Rink, served with the Royal Scots in both Egypt and France.

Arthur Vincent Quinn, a future skating instructor at the Manchester Ice Palace, contracted malaria while serving as a Private with the Manchester Regiment in Salonika. Claude Swanwick Worthington, an esteemed member of the Manchester Skating Club, served on the front lines in Gallipoli, Egypt and France. He died from wounds received in France in early November of 1918... right around the end of the War.

Kenneth Macdonald Beaumont

Prior to the War, Kenneth Macdonald Beaumont was a member of Prince's Skating Club. He teamed up with America's Beatrix Loughran to win an informal waltzing competition held in conjunction with the 1914 World Championships for women and pairs in St. Moritz. Shortly after, he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps. He achieved the rank of Major and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1918 for his involvement during the capture of Jerusalem and service in the Middle East. After the war, he went on to compete in the Olympic Games and become a distinguished skating judge, referee and National Skating Association President.

The Duchess Of Bedford

Adeline Marie Russell, Duchess of Bedford and patron of Prince's Skating Club at Knightsbridge - herself a Silver Medallist of the National Skating Association - served as the chair of the European War Fund. She worked tirelessly for the wounded, visiting hospitals on the Western Front to interview the wounded in hopes of improving conditions. Upon returning from Boulogne, she wrote to a friend advising, "I went from hospital to hospital, seeing these wrecked and suffering beings, each one more maimed than another, but with a spirit and faith that shone in their faces and made them great... All the men who came from Headquarters were most hopeful, but the wounded only know their own trench or trenches and say they make no way. It is rather a parable of life!"

Many prominent British speed skaters also fought the good fight, among them the decorated racer R.W. Marsh. Writer A.C.A. Wade recalled, "Marsh competed in every title event and open race up to the outbreak of the Great War, when he joined up. He met several skaters while on active service. One of the most dramatic of those meetings was in France - when he was with a fatigue party at Plugstreet in May, 1916. A head suddenly appeared from a dug-out in a front line trench, and a voice asked what the Wandsworth Club was doing there? It was Cox, of the Catford Club. During the battle on the Somme in 1916, Mr. Marsh was wounded in the thigh, and thought his skating days were over, but after three months in hospital the muscle knitted perfectly and he returned to active service. Later during the campaign in Italy, Mr. Marsh ran across another skater, G. Branson, of Brixton. This was at a Divisional soccer match on the Asiago Plateau in 1918. H. H. May, of Ilford, was in the same hut as Marsh in 1917, and by another strange coincidence he crossed in the same transport, and was on the same train for Italy as W. F. K. Thomson, of Aldwych. Thomson returned for demobilisation at the same time, and later won the Southern Counties title."

Lady Helen Vincent

Lady Helen Vincent, the Viscountess D'Abernon, was a habitue of Prince's Skating Club at Knightsbridge prior to the War. Though she never competed, she was regarded as an outstanding figure skater. During the War, she trained as a nurse anaesthetist and treated thousands of patients on the front lines in France in allied military hospitals.

Top: Irene Lawley at Prince's Skating Club at Knightsbridge prior to the War. Bottom: Irene Lawley at a Red Cross hospital during the War. Photo courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Irene Constance Lawley, the only child of Beilby Lawley, the 3rd Baron Wenlock and Constance (Lascelles) Lawley, the daughter of the 4th Earl of Harewood, skated with Lady Helen Vincent at Prince's prior to the War and represented Great Britain at the 1914 World Championships in St. Moritz. During the War, Irene nursed with the Red Cross, hosted benefits for Belgian refugees and organized sporting activities for wounded soldiers at the Escrick Red Cross Hospital. For her efforts, she was invested in 1918 as Dame of Grace, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem - a rare honour for someone so young. Clementine Churchill marveled at how a woman who she once considered "rather pretty and fluffy and used to be rather silly" had transformed herself during the War: "She gets up at the crack of dawn and nurses all day at a hospital and in her off time she drives herself in a little open car. She took me home last night thro' the pitch black streets driving most skilfully... She wears white fur clothes... and altogether she looked rather attractive but very overworked and unhappy and then I recollected that Lord Vernon whom she loved and Charles Lister who loved her are both dead."

Two of the few members of the American skating family who served in the Great War were Herbert Cook and Harold Grey Storke. Herbert served overseas and went on to graduate from Princeton, found the Olympia Skating Club in Detroit and serve as a national level judge. Harold, who went on to later become a World referee and judge, first volunteered as private in the army when all of his friends were going to officers training school. After serving in the Mexican Border dispute, he served in the Great War as an officer. He later served in World War II, reaching the rank of Colonel. At the time of his death in 1961, USFSA President F. Ritter Shumway recalled his World War II service thusly: "Though he was well past the age at which he would be expected to serve, he felt the call of duty so strongly that he volunteered again and was put in charge of prisoners of war in New England and later in Europe where after the close of hostilities he served with great distinction in the difficult task of repatriation of prisoners, finding families and reuniting homes. It was at this time that he performed one of the least known but most important services helping those who desperately wanted to escape from behind the Iron Curtain, including many skaters who later attained great prominence."

Count Alberto Bonacossa, who amassed numerous wins in both singles and pairs skating between 1914 and 1928 at the Italian Figure Skating Championships, served with the Italian Army during the War. A versatile athlete who also excelled in football, skiing, roller skating and tennis, Bonacossa reached the rank of Major after serving on the Italian Front and was awarded the Silver Medal Of Valour for his wartime service.

Top: Karl Ollo. Bottom: Ivan Malinin. Photo courtesy Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande Archive.

Tragically, a trio of Russian skaters - St. Petersburg's Karl Antonovich Ollo, Moscow's Ivan Pavlovich Malinin and Sergei Van Der Fleet - perished fighting on the front lines during the War. Malinin and Van Der Fleet had both competed at the final pre-War World Championships in Helsinki in 1914.

Ernst Oppacher

Prior to the War, Austrian brothers Josef and Ernst Oppacher were two of the Wiener Eislaufverein's biggest stars. Both had won the Viennese club's annual competition, medalled at the Austrian Championships and represented the club in international competition. Though Ernst was the more experienced internationally, many felt that it wouldn't be long before Josef eclipsed his successes. During the War, both brothers were aces with the K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppen, flying single seat biplane aircrafts in missions over Europe. Ernst managed to escape the war relatively unscathed and go on to win medals at the 1922 European Championships and 1924 World Championships, while Josef died of his injuries when his plane crashed during an air battle in the Southern Theater Of War in August of 1918.

Thomas Bohrer, a member of the Klagenfurter Eislauf-Vereines 'Wörthersee' and European Champion speed skater, served in the radio department of an Allied Powers field gun regiment. On December 30, 1915, he penned a letter to the "Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung" that read: "Dear Mr. Editor! I find today I have opportunity to sincerely thank you for regularly sending me the 'Sport-Zeitung'. By the way, some comrades of various sports... have heard and listened and [reading] has [brought] much pleasure to our war experiences. I'm feeling very well myself now; from the severe injury I suffered in the northern theater of war in the previous year I recovered completely since. Since the beginning of the Italian war I am active on the Carinthian front and am looking forward to the magnificent wonderful skiing that I occasionally enjoy during my service. To the new year to you and all sports mates. Good luck and best regards."

Andor Szende (left) and Otto Preißecker (right)

Andor Szende, a three time medallist at the World Championships prior to the War, served as as a Lieutenant in a Bomber Squadron in Kaiserliche und Königliche Luftfahrtruppen (Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops). Otto Preißecker, who would win seven medals at the European and World Championships during the roaring twenties, spent two years with the mountain artillery of the Landstreitkräfte Österreich-Ungarns. Unfortunately, the personnel files of the Prussian Army during the Great War were almost completely destroyed when the Heeresarchiv (Archive Of The Army) in Potsdam burnt down during an air attack in 1945, greatly limiting research of German skaters who served.


"Badinage et Patinage" by artist Louis Houpin, 1918

Capturing the overall essence of a time period is a difficult thing to do. No doubt many of us have a personal connection to someone who lived through World War II.

Magic lantern slide entitled "British Merchant Seamen Skating on Lake at Brandenburg Prisoners Of War Camp", circa 1919

As time has passed, our connections to the stories of those who lived during the Great War have largely become more distant. Shedding new light on how the world's most fabulous sport survived some very dark days is an important reminder in itself.... that figure skating can survive anything.


Books, Catalogues And Programs:

"500 Of The Best Cockney War Stories Reprinted From The London Evening News" (Various Authors, 1920)
"A Book Of Winter Sports: An Attempt To Catch The Spirit Of The Keen Joys Of The Winter Season" (J.C. Dier, 1912)
"Ardours And Endurances: Also A Faun's Holiday & Poems And Phantasies By Robert Nichols" (Robert Nicols, 1918)
"Artistic Impressions: Figure Skating, Masculinity And The Limits Of Sport" (Mary Louise Adams, 2011)
"Beckmanns Sport Lexikon" (Otto Beckmann, 1933)
"British Theatre in the Great War: A Revaluation" (Gordon Williams, 2003)
"Boy's Own Book Of Outdoor Games And Pastimes" (Sir Pelham Francis Warner, 1914)
"Cambridge Skating Club, 1898-1948" (Arthur M. Goodridge, 1948)
"Christmas Catalogue" (Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 1916)
"Clementine Churchill: The Biography Of A Marriage" (Mary Soames, 2003)
"Complete Figure Skater" (T.D. Richardson, 1948)
"Dancing On Ice" (Ernest Law, 1925)
"Die Schule des Eislaufes" (O. von Kaetterer, 1935)
"Earls Court" (Claude Langdon, 1953)
Eaton's Fall and Winter 1915/1916 Catalogue
"Encyclopedia of American biography. New series. Under the editorial direction of Winfield Scott Downs in association with a notable advisory board" (Winfield Scott Downs, American Historical Society, 1970)
"Fifty Years Of Skating" (Joseph Chapman, 1944)
"Figure Skating And The Arts: Eight Centuries Of Sport And Inspiration" (Frances Dafoe, 2011)
"Figure Skating For Women" (James A. Cruikshank, 1921)
"Figure Skating History: The Evolution Of Dance On Ice" (Lynn Copley-Graves, 1992)
"Figure Skating In The English Style" (Humphry Cobb, 1913)
"Figure Skating In Russia" (Alexei Mishin, 2007)
"First Twenty-Five Years Of The United States Figure Skating Association, 1921-1946: An overview of the history of the United States Figure Skating Association, its various presidents, growth, and constituent clubs." (USFSA, 1946)
"Girls And Athletics: Giving A Brief Summary Of The Activity rules and method of administration of the following games in girls' schools and colleges, women's clubs, etc.: archery, basket ball, cricket, fencing, field day, field hockey, gymnastics, golf, hand ball, ice hockey, indoor base ball, rowing, soccer, skating, swimming, tennis, track athletics, volley ball, walking, water polo, water basket ball" (Mary C. Morgan, 1917)
"Girls' Book Of Skating" (T.D. Richardson, 1959)
"Guide To Artistic Skating" (George Meagher, 1919)
"Hippodrome Skating Book: Practical, Illustrated Lessons In The Art Of Figure Skating As Expemplified By Charlotte, Greatest Woman Skater In The World" (Charlotte Oelschlägel, 1916)
"Historical Dictionary Of The Modern Olympic Movement" (John Grasso, Jeroen Heijmans, Bill Malone, 1996)
"Ice-Skating: A History" (Nigel Brown, 1959)
"Ice Skating" (T.D. Richardson, 1956)
"Konståkning på skridskor" (Agard Palm, 1919)
"Konståkningens 100-a°riga historia : utveckling, OS-VM-referater, intervjuer och bera¨ttelser" (Gunnar Bang, 1966)
"Le Patinage Sur Glace" (Jeanine Hagnauer, 1968)
"Maurice's Art of Dancing - An Autobiographical Sketch with Complete Descriptions of Modern Dances and Full Illustrations Showing the Various Steps and Positions" (Maurice Mouvet, 1915)
"Minto Skating Through Time: History Of The Minto Skating Club 1904-2004" (Janet B. Uren, 2003)
"Modern Dancing By Mr. And Mrs. Vernon Castle; With Many Illustrations" (Vernon Castle, 1918)
"Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story Of New York City's Greatest Female Detective And The 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated A Nation" (Brad Ricca, 2016)
"One Hundred Years Of The Philadelphia Skating Club And Humane Society" (William Morris Maier, 1949)
Program for the 1971 United States Figure Skating Championships, "The Buffalo Skating Club"
"Reader's Guide To Figure Skating's Hall Of Fame" (Benjamin T. Wright, Gregory R. Smith, Ian A. Anderson, 1978)
"Reflections On The CFSA 1887-1990" (Teresa Moore, 1993)
"Rhythmic Songs, Games For Children" (Olive Barbee Dorrett and Abbie Gerrish Jones, 1915)
"Skaters' Cavalcade" (A.C.A. Wade, 1939)
"Skating Around The World 1892-1992: The One Hundredth Anniversary History Of The International Skating Union" (Benjamin T. Wright, 1992)
"Skating: English, International And Speed" (A.E. Crawley, 1920)
"Spalding's Winter Sports" (James A. Cruikshank, 1917)
"The Art Of Skating: International Style" (Edgar and Madge Syers, 1913)
"The Art Of Skating With Practical Directions By Diagrams And Instantaneous Photographs Of Skaters In Action" (Irving Brokaw, 1913)
"The Bobbsey Twins In A Great City" (Laura Lee Hope, 1917)
"The Golden Age Of Canadian Figure Skating" (David Young, 1984)
"The Mad River Country And The Old Skating Pond, With Over Verse" (Orton G. Rust, Theo J. Rebert, 1915)
"The Therapeutics Of Activity" (Andrew Anasatas Gour, 1915)
"Thin Ice" (Jacqueline du Bief, 1956)
"This Skating Age" (Howard Bass, 1958)
"Valsing On Ice" (Ernest Law, 1910)
"Women As Decoration" (Emily Burbank, 1917)
"Women Of Belgium: Turning Tragedy To Triumph" (Charlotte Kellog, 1917)
"Women Of The Empire In War Time: In Honour of their Great Devotion and Self-Sacrifice" (A.M. De Beck, Dominion of Canada News Company, 1916)
"Wonderful world of skates; seventeen centuries of skating" (Arthur R. Goodfellow, 1972)

Archives, Libraries, Interviews And Online Sources:

"A Summary History Of The Skating Club Of Boston" (Benjamin T. Wright, 2007)
Australian War Memorial
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Blind Veterans UK Archives
Bohusläns Museum
British Film Institute
Correspondence With Irvine Green (January 6, 2018)
Correspondence With Lesley Hall (June 15, 2018)
Correspondence With Elaine Hooper (January 24, 2018)
Correspondence With Matthias Hampe (July 6, 2018)
Correspondence With Michael M. O'Leary (February 18, 2018)
Correspondence With Mihály Orendi (February 7, 2018)
City Of Toronto Archives
Eötvös Károly County Library (Hungary)
German Federal Archive
Governor General's Footguards Museum
Harvard Law School Library
"History Of Figure Skating In Croatia" (Dora Strabic, 2013)
Imperial War Museum Of London
Interview With Benjamin T. Wright (March 1, 2017)
Interview With Benjamin T. Wright (March 13, 2017)
Interview With Benjamin T. Wright (July 25, 2017)
Interview With Benjamin T. Wright (January 2, 2018)
Law Society Of Upper Canada Archives
Legends Of Australian Ice
Library and Archives Canada
Library Of Congress
Minnesota Historical Society
National Army Museum, London
National Library Of Australia
National Library Of Finland
National Library Of New Zealand
National Library Of Norway
National Museum Of Art, Architecture And Design, Oslo
New York Public Library
"New Zealand Ice Skating Association 50th Jubilee 1937-1987" (Rhona Whitehouse, NZISA)
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library)
Palais de Galace: Palacio Nacional De Las Artes (Website Of Argentine Historical Site)
"Skating Rink On Pevtroka, 26: The History Of The First Moscow Club Of Figure Skating" (Yuri Yakimchuk, 2006)
Stadsarchief - Stad Aalst (Archives Of Aalst, Belgium)
State Library Victoria (Australia)
"Svensk Konståkning Under Etthundra År" (Gertrud Olsson)
Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande Archive
"The First World War And Working-Class Food Consumption In Britain" (Ian Gazeley, Andrew Newell, 2013)
The Illustrated First World War: From The Archives Of "The Illustrated London News"
"The Nordic Games And The Origins Of The Olympic Winter Games" (Ron Edgeworth)
"Toimittanut Jouko Nieminen: Suomen Luisteluliito 1908-2010" (Jouko Nieminen, 2010)
Treccani Encyclopedia
Vancouver Island University Canadian Letters And Images Project
"World War I And New York's German Community" (Urban Oyster blog, August 20, 2011)

Film, Radio And Television:

"And We Knew How To Dance: Women In World War I" (Maureen Judge, 1994)
"Home Front" (BBC Radio 4, 2014-2018)
"Mr. Selfridge" (ITV Studios and Masterpiece/WGBH, 2013-2016)
"Women At War 1914-1918" (Hugues Nancy and Fabien Beziat, 2014)

Journals, Magazines And Newspaper Articles:

The Age, August 7, 1914. "Amusements: Ice-Skating Carnival"
Stawell News and Pleasant Creek Chronicle, September 12, 1914. "A Skating Rink Of Salt"
Land And Water, December 5, 1914. "Christmas Cheer At The Front" (Athol Forbes)
The Illustrated London News, December 19, 1914. Advertisement for Buchanan's Scotch Whiskies.
Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 8, 1915. "Wintersport"
The Ladies Home Journal, February 1915.
The Billboard, February 2, 1915. "Women's Skating Club"
The Sun, February 1, 1915. "Sydney Ice Skating And Cold Storage"
Sport und Salon, February 6, 1915. "Eissport"
Journal Suisse, February 9, 1915. "Chronique Sportive"
Manchester Evening News, February 13, 1915. "Amusements"
The Ottawa Journal, February 16, 1915. "Skating Pantomime At Arena Last Night Was A Brilliant Spectacle"
De Volksstem, February 25, 1915. "De Belgische Geinterneerden La Holland"
Aberdeen Evening Express, March 16, 1915. "Amusements"
The Daily Sketch, June 1, 1915. "War Trophies - Not Skating"
The Argus, June 4, 1915. "Ice-Skating"
Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate And Cheriton Herald, June 19, 1915. "Central Picture Theatre"
The Daily Sketch, June 30, 1915. "Echoes Of The Town And Round About"
The Argus, August 6, 1915. "Ice-Skating Carnival"
The New York Times, October 24, 1915.
Daily Record, October 27, 1915. "The Queen's Interest In Soldier Toy-Makers"
Suomen Urheilulehti, October 28, 1915. "Lokakuun 28"
Outing: Sport, Adventure, Travel Fiction, v. 67, October 1915-March 1916. "Pair Skating" (Claire Cassel and Paul Wilson)
New York Tribune, November 14, 1915. "The Skating Fads Brings Its Own Fashions"
The Sun, November 21, 1915. "Ice Skating New York's Newest Fad"
The Sun, November 22, 1915. "Eight Drowned"
The Sun, December 5, 1915. "Many Fascinating Costumes For The Skating Girl"
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 7, 1915. "The Girl Who Skates -- Her Costumes And All The Accessories"
Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 12, 1915. "Dancing On Ice Skates The Latest"
The Bee, December 16, 1915. "Pair Skating, An Art Which Gives Great Scope For Grace And Never Grows Tiresome"
The Independent, January to March 1916. "The Fine Art Of Skating" (George Henry Browne)
The Lotus Magazine, January 1916. "The Graceful Pastime Of Skating"
The Sun, January 2, 1916. "Society Ends Gayest Week With No Rest In Sight"
The Washington Herald, January 2, 1916. "And Now We Skate"
Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 9, 1916. "Die 'Sport-Zeitung' Im Feld" and "Wintersport"
The Niagara Falls Gazette, January 13, 1916. "Skating Rinks Knocking Out The Cabarets"
The Washington Times, January 13, 1916. "Some Chic Costumes For Outdoor Wear"
The Sun, January 16, 1916. "Horrors! No. 9 Skate Famine Rages In New York"
Omaha Sunday Bee, January 23, 1916. "How To Do The New Dances On Ice Skates"
The Edison Monthly, February 1916. "Current Rinks"
Vanity Fair, February 1916. "Shopping For The Well-Dressed Man" (Robert Lloyd Trevor)
Woman's Home Companion, February 1916. "The New Craze For Skating", "Skating Is The Newest Fad"
Los Angeles Herald, February 16, 1916. "To Open Ice Skating Rink In L.A."
The New York Times, February 18, 1916. "Held Wins Pro Contest"
The Owl, February 25, 1916. "Hippodrome Skating Contest Finals"
Illustriertes (Österreichisches) Sportblatt, March 3, 1916. "Kunstlaufen für Mittelschuler"
New York Clipper, March 4, 1916. "Bathing And Skating"
Los Angeles Evening Herald, March 6, 1916. "Society Skatefests Will Be Held Daily"
Los Angeles Evening Herald, March 8, 1916. "Herald Presents Rudiments Of Indoor Ice Skating"
Los Angeles Herald, March 21, 1916. "Ice Skating Rink To Be Built At San Diego"
The Daily Sketch, March 30, 1916. "Many Deaths In The Storm"
The Queenslander, April 16, 1916. "The British Women-Workers' Exhibition"
The Daily Sketch, May 5, 1916. "Echoes Of The Town"
Sacramento Union, May 16, 1916. "Ice Skating At The San Diego Exposition"
Chicago Sunday Tribune, July 9, 1916. "Razzle Dazzle, Big London Revue, Is Mostly American Made"
The Argus, July 20, 1916. "Ice-Skating On Mount Buffalo"
The Era, August 23, 1916. "Razzle-Dazzle! At The Empire"
Los Angeles Herald, October 5, 1916. "Ice Palace Opens With Skating Stars"
The Leeds Mercury, October 13, 1916. "Walking The Plank At Wounded Soldiers' Sports"
The Sun, November 5, 1916. "New York Skates In The Shade Of The Sheltering Palm"
The Sunday Telegram, November 28, 1916. "The New Season Passion - Indoor Ice Skating"
Rochester Democrat And Chronicle, December 8, 1916. "Skates And Skating Shoes For Christmas"
The Richmond Palladium, December 9, 1916. "Ice Skating Tea"
The Sun, December 10, 1916. "Furs, Skating Togs And Negligees All Tempt The Christmas Shopper"
The Sun, December 10, 1916. "Skate For Fun, To Reduce, To Be Graceful, But Skate"
The Sun, December 17, 1916. "Advent Of Snow And Ice Finds Park Board Prepared To Offer Unprecedented Advantages For Local Skaters"
Industrial Development and Manufacturers' Record, 1917. "Ice And Cold Storage Plants"
The Ottawa Journal, January 3, 1917. "Junior Skaters To Be Looked After"
Sportblatt, January 5, 1917. "Trauerkundgebungen nach welland Kaiser Franz Joseph I"
Los Angeles Herald, January 13, 1917. "Thrills For Fans Of Ice Skating"
New Rochelle Pioneer, January 13, 1917. "Country Gaining In Ice Skating"
Suomen Urheilulehti, February 22, 1917. "Pohjoismaisten kisain"
BT, January 23, 1917. "Skøjtekongen?"
Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 28, 1917. "Zuschrift"
Prager Tagblatt, January 29, 1917. "Wiener Eislauf"
Berlingske Politiske og Avertissementstidende, February 5, 1917. "Skøjtemesterskaberne"
The Day Book, February 15, 1917. "Hokus Pokus! Skirt Becomes Skating Togs"
Kalmar, February 12, 1917. "Nordiska Spelen"
The Day Book, February 17, 1917. "The Kids All Envy This Star Skater"
Dagbladet, February 19, 1917. "Helsingfors gymnastikklubb"
Illustriertes (Österreichisches) Sportblatt, February 23, 1917. "Nordiska Spelen"
The Daily Standard Union, March 24, 1917. "Woman Skater Wins Hippodrome Cup"
The Evening Post, March 28, 1917, "Boston Woman Skater Wins Championship"
Queensland Times, April 13, 1917. "Skating Weather: Australians' First Sight Of Ice"
Lithgow Mercury, June 8, 1917. "Our Soldiers' Letter Box"
Arrow, June 23, 1917. "Tennis On Ice"
Kai Tiaki: The Journal Of The Nurses Of New Zealand, July 1, 1917.
Referee, October 10, 1917. "Zoo Has Open-Air Ice Rink"
Bulletin Municipal Officiel, October 14, 1917.
The New York Times, October 17, 1917. "Fred Stone Brings Jack O'Lantern"
The New York Times, October 21, 1917. "Fred Stone, Ice Skater"
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 9, 1917. "Curves And Straight Lines Form The Skater's Alphabet"
Cinema News, January 1918. "Short Barks"
Motography, January 19, 1918. "Sells Charlotte Film For Three States"
The Sun, February 7, 1918. "Miss Weld, Boston Girl, Wins Figure Skating Title"
The Troy Times, February 7, 1918. "Boston Woman Wins"
The New York Times, February 1918. "Nat Niles Cuts Figures"
The Evening Post, N.Y., February 9, 1918. "Figure-Skating Championship"
Daggry, February 19, 1918. "Dei internationale skøiteløp i Kristiania"
San Francisco Daily Times, February 23, 1918. "Gala Night For Skaters"
Illustriertes (Österreichisches) Sportblatt, March 1, 1918. "Die Großen Kunstlauf-Wettbewerbe des Wiener Eislauf-Vereines"
The Daily Colonist, March 3, 1918. "Charlotte In The Frozen Warning"
New York Clipper, March 6, 1918. "Rinks May Escape Closing"
The Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 1918. "Mrs. Beresford Wins The Title"
The New York Times, March 10, 1918. "Laurels For Boy Skater"
Cambridge Independent Press, April 5, 1918. Obituary Of Councillor James Newton Digby.
The Exhibitors Herald, April 20, 1918. "Exhibitor's Briefs"
The Exhibitors Herald, April 27, 1918. "Booking Cartoons On The Same Scale As Bigger Features"
New York Clipper, June 5, 1918. "Ice Skating Rinks Resume"
New York Times, June 18, 1917. "Find Ripper's Mark On Ruth Cruger's Body"
Punch, June 20, 1918. "Glaciarium Ice Skating Carnival"
Illustrated Sporting And Dramatic News, November 16, 1918. "The Sportsman's Roll Of Honour"
The Spectator, May 1, 1920. "Adeline, Duchess Of Bedford: A Character Study"
Skating, 1925. "Skating In Japan Progresses"
Sports De Neige Et De Glace, January 15, 1925. "A Propos Du Classement Général Des Patineurs De Figures"
Skating, 1930. Obituary Of Colonel E.T.B. Gillmore
Skating, 1938. "Rockers And Counters"
Actual Detective Stories, May 4, 1938. "Won't You Help Find My Girl?" (Grace Humiston With Isabel Stephen)
Winnipeg Free Press, February 19, 1941. "Winnipeg's Mary Rose Greets World Ice Star, Megan Taylor, First Time"
Manchester Evening News, December 20, 1945. "The Ice Has It - Have We The Ice?" (Cyril Walters)
Skating World, September 1958. "Editorial"
Skating, June 1961. Obituary of Colonel Harold Grey Storke.
Skating, March 1966. "Noel's England" (Dennis Bird)
The Heritage Portal, May 31, 2006. Book Review: "Bird of Paradise - The Story of José Dale Lace" (Kathy Munro)
Művelődés-, Tudomány- és Orvostörténeti Folyóirat, 2012. "The Development of Ice Skate Competition in Cluj in the Light of Contemporary Sports Reports (1900-1914)" (Killyéni András)
Berliner Zeitung, October 21, 2017. "Wie und wann kam das Schlittschuhlaufen nach Berlin?"

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":