West Coast Fencing Archive

Desaro v SelbergWest Coast Fencing Archive

Fencing on the west coast has, since its beginning, seen an array of varied personalities, with some of the world’s most successful champions and coaches having come to this beautiful region to fence, teach and live out their lives. Aldo Nadi coached in Los Angeles for years while also working in Hollywood movies. Helene Mayer attended Scripps College in Claremont and taught at Mills College in Oakland. George Piller, after defecting from Hungary at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, settled in San Francisco and taught for the remaining years of his life. Each of these in turn created future generations of fencers and teachers that continue to impact the sport today. If those names are new to you, we look forward to sharing tales of some amazing lives.

Telling stories like these, sharing images and movies on the web, while maintaining a world-class repository of the history of the sport of fencing, is the mandate of the West Coast Fencing Archive. The physical Archive is housed in the West Berkeley Fencing Club, started in 2012 by Berkeley native Mark Headley. Tasked initially with conserving and creating a digital record of the estate of Charles Selberg - long time Bay Area fencing master and popular teacher at UC Santa Cruz - Doug Nichols, as Executive Director of the Archive, is actively seeking out additional collections of fencing history and ephemera to conserve, digitize and disseminate through the web, live presentations and documentary videos. Using new technology and old-fashioned detective work, the Archive will create a digital repository for passing along the dramatic accounts and myriad stories to be told of fencers, both famous and obscure.