Forestry And Forward Outside Eights: The Egbert S. Cary Jr. Story

Photo courtesy Cornell University Archives

In the thirties and forties, singles skaters from the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society were major players on the American skating scene. Dick Button represented the club when he won the 'grand slam' of novice, junior and senior U.S. titles in consecutive years. Siblings Jane and Arthur 'Buddy' Vaughn made history during World War II as the first skaters from the Club to win U.S. senior titles. Talented young skaters like Eileen Seigh, Marcia Zieget, Barbara Jones and William Grimditch Jr. all won U.S. novice and junior titles during the forties as well. However, it was the success of another talented young skater during the roaring twenties that 'got the ball rolling'.

The son of Elizabeth (Allen) and Egbert Snell Cary Sr., Egbert 'Bert' Snell Cary Jr. was born April 28, 1907 in Westtown, Pennsylvania. His parents were Quakers and his father taught at the Westtown School, a co-educational Quaker boarding school not far from Paoli when he was an infant. The Cary family moved to Moorestown, New Jersey in 1911 when Egbert Cary Sr. took a job as the superintendent of the Pocono Lakes Preserve, but spent their winters in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy Penn Charter School Archive

Egbert Sr. became enchanted with figure skating after reading an article about the sport in a local newspaper and soon he, Egbert Jr. and his sister joined the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society. While attending the William Penn Charter School, Egbert Jr. began taking lessons from a then relatively unknown young skating instructor named Gustave Lussi. In 1924, Mr. Lussi's first 'star pupil' claimed the junior men's title on home ice at the U.S. Championships in Philadelphia.

Egbert S. Cary Jr. (front row, second from left) on the 1930 Cornell soccer team. Photo courtesy Cornell University Archives.

Egbert went on to study forestry at Cornell University, where he was a member of the soccer team and a keen amateur ornithologist. He graduated in 1930 and married Sara Carr that fall. The couple had two children and both became members of the Atlantic City Skating Club in New Jersey. Though he followed in his father's footsteps and worked at the Pocono Lakes Preserve, Egbert remained very active in the skating community, serving on the USFSA's Standards and Test Committee and judging at the national level for several years. In 1938, he was the swing judge responsible for Joan Tozzer's upset victory at the U.S. Championships. He skated in local carnivals throughout the thirties and forties and his comedy drag act as the tall, lanky 'Fraulein Ileepa Lott' was a perennial favourite with audiences. He sadly passed away of a heart attack at the age of fifty six on August 25, 1963 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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":