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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 s…

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