Exploring The Collections: The Belita Collection

Every Skate Guard blogdraws from a variety of different sources - everything from museum and library holdings and genealogical research to newspaper archives and dusty old printed materials I've amassed over the last ten years or so. These Collections date back to the nineteenth century and chronicle figure skating's rich history from the days of quaint waltzes in coats and tails to quadruple toe-loop's. Whether you're doing your own research about a famous 'fancy' skater in your family tree or a long-lost ice rink in your community or just have a general skating history question you can't find the answer to online, I'm always happy to draw on these resources and try to help if I can.

This month, I'd like to talk a bit about the Belita Collection. As many of you know, back in 2017 I published a lengthy biography of figure skater, actress and dancer Belita Jepson-Turner. If you haven't read it yet, you can find it here. In the process of researching this feature, I amassed a great deal of material on Belita thanks to donations by her family, friends, BIS Historian Elaine Hooper, World Champion Randy Gardner and others. 

This material included a thirty-six page typewritten memoir penned by Belita that was used as the feature's introduction, a copy of a rare audio interview from the collection of the Pro Skating Historical Foundation, numerous photographs, letters, programs, videos and other memorabilia. Most of these items are physical copies, but there are many items are digitized as well. 

Photo courtesy The Jepson-Turner Private Family Collection. Used with permission.

A great deal of this material was included in the biography, but there was a ton that wasn't included either. This was mainly just due to space when it came to focusing on certain aspects of her story - in particular her film career. 

If you have a special interest in her any aspect of Belita's story, I'd be more than happy to share whatever materials that are in the Skate Guard Collections. If you've got memorabilia pertaining to her career collecting dust in your attic or basement that you'd like to donate, I'd love to hear from you!

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating and archives hundreds of compelling features and interviews in a searchable format for readers worldwide. Though there never has been nor will there be a charge for access to these resources, you taking the time to 'like' the blog's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard would be so very much appreciated. Already 'liking'? Consider sharing this feature for others via social media. It would make all the difference in the blog reaching a wider audience. Have a question or comment regarding anything you have read here? Have a suggestion for a topic related to figure skating history you would like to see covered? I'd love to hear from you! Learn the many ways you can reach out at http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca/p/contact.html.