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En Garde: 1925

En Garde: 1925

May 14, 1925. Washington, D.C. "Western High School fencing team." 4x5 glass negative from the National Photo Company Collection. View full size.


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Cool Outfits?

I belive that those bloomers were far from cool in any sense of the word. Those are gym suits - not something one could wear in public. My grandmother wore silk stockings and nice dresses to high school (in a pretty small town - not a big city) during this era.

Nice haircuts, though!


I briefly tried fencing myself, and recall a tournament where I had a saber match against a woman. She could really hit hard! Her favorite trick was to whack her opponent across the head. She put so much whip into the blade that usually the back of the neck got smacked too.

Several trainloads of WIN in this picture

Honestly, I could stare at this picture for days. The stockings on the girls (line up the back, one rolled down past the knee like a grandma), the cool outfits, the exercise clubs on the wall, the animal with the fencing vest (or whatever you call that)...

Sabre Girls

It's interesting that they are using sabres; it used to be rare for women to fight at sabre, usually using the foil. I'm intrigued by the plastron and mask which appear to be hanging from cow horns over the door - which is itself blocked by the rack holding Indian Clubs and fencing gloves. The plastron and gloves also seem to be for fighting at sabre. The girls aren't wearing what would later be considered normal for fencing (especially the rolled-down stockings) - usually white canvas tops and breeches, so clearly posed. But they do look as if they know what they are doing. I wonder if the girls used the boxing gloves as well?

Re: No Masks

I noticed the lack of protective gear also, but my guess is that it was omitted for this photo so the young ladies' faces would show. With the masks on, they could be posed mannequins.

[At least the critter above the door is protected. - Dave]

No Masks

My dad was a fencing instructor. He'd be spinning in his grave if he saw these young ladies even pretending to fence without protective gear including the wire mask.

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