I only ever saw Julie (Moore) Selberg fence sabre. This would have been in the late ‘70’s, early ‘80’s, before there was a National Championship for Women’s Sabre. Now, of course, we have women fencing all three weapons, as is only right. Jeez, was it really so recently that women were – what – too frail? to be fencing epee & sabre? That’s another topic all together, I don’t doubt.
Julie Moore in 1964
Well, in 1964, Julie was a foil fencer, and a good one. Good enough to make the final at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, where the Olympic Qualifier event was held. Now, I’ve been perusing Google to try and track down some reference to this event or, heck, any sporting event held at the World’s Fair, with no success. Lots of stuff about Disney, as “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” and “It’s A Small World” both had their debuts at the Fair. But nothing about sports, or the fencing event.
What I know comes only from a scrapbook put together by Julie and the hand-written notes next to some of the pictures. Notes, for example, like this one:
Julie’s hand-written scrapbook note
That’s pretty specific and a hard one to misinterpret. So knowing where they were, the next thing to figure out is who was fencing.
Eleven fencers. One strip?
So, this will take some filling in. Some of the names are well known; Jan Romary, Harriet King, Tommy Angell, Denise O’Connor, Maxine Mitchell, and down at the eighth position, Julie Moore. The others, Sokol, Miyamoto, Gerakin, Drungis and Abby are unknown to me. Andy Shaw can probably run down their individual histories and Harriet King – the winner of this event – no doubt knows even more. But these are Julie’s photos, so Julie gets the spotlight.
Julie Moore began fencing in High School at a new fencing school in her hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, run by a dashing young fencing coach named Charles Selberg. Selberg, also a native of Fargo, had gone to San Francisco to get his Bachelor and Masters Degrees at San Francisco State University, where he took up fencing. He moved into teaching after graduation and returned to Fargo to open the Selberg Fencing Academy. Selberg’s fencers began to dominate the Midwest regional events and Julie, along with teammates Jan Myerson and Diane Amidon, tore through the competition. Julie was Midwest Champion of 1964, fenced at Nationals in Atlantic City in July and, later that same month, the Olympic Qualifier.
Janice York Romary, left, versus Julie Moore.
Now that I look at this photo a little more closely, I’m realizing that there had to be at least two strips. In the above photo, the clock (blocked by a passing man in a suit) is to the left of the scoreboard, and there is no large score board.
Julie Moore, left, versus Maxine Mitchell
In the above photo here, we see the big score board and the clock is to the right of the scoring machine. So, ok. Not a single strip, but at least two. That’s one thing settled. Also, fortunately for us, Julie’s teammate Jan Myerson was at the event to take these photos.
Jan Myerson (in shorts) cheers Julie on.
Julie heading to battle.
Unfortunately, there aren’t pictures from late in the event showing more of the scoreboard, so it’s difficult to track the progress of the results. The only certainty is that nobody went undefeated. Everyone on the board has at least one defeat, so I don’t doubt it was a battle from start to finish.
Julie facing the woman who came out on top in this event, Harriet King.
Interesting to note in the above image that this would seem to be before the rule was made where left handed fencers (when fencing a right handed opponent) line up to the director’s left.
Finally, we are graced with a picture showing the results; a line up of the finalists in placement order!
In reverse order, left to right:
11th place: Gerakin (not pictured)
10th: Carol Abby
9th: Julie Moore
8th: Vivian Sokol
7th: Janice Lee Romary
6th: Maxine Mitchell
5th: Madeline Miyamoto
4th: Anne Drungis
3rd: Tommy Angell
2nd: Denise O’Connor
1st: Harriet King
Julie moved to San Francisco in 1965 and began fencing at Halberstadt Fencers Club. Charles Selberg returned to San Francisco in 1966 and Julie Moore became Julie Selberg.