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Protest from Fencers


(We invite all men in the University to submit communications on subjects of timely interest, but assure no responsibility for sentiments expressed under this head.)

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

It was voted at a meeting of the Fencers' Club last Monday evening to take exception to the statements regarding fencing at Harvard in the May issue of the illustrated Magazine. These statements appear in an article entitled "The Minor Sports".

It was stated that "at present interest in fencing is decidedly on the decline," the reason for this being that "only sixteen men reported in 1910." The writers of this article must have appreciated that their statistics are slightly out-of-date. Fully double that number of men reported the past season; and this season was by no means remarkable. The large number of men that reported in 1895 was doubtless due to the fact that there was then no charge for fencing tuition.

So, contrary to the impression which this article conveyed, that "interest is on the decline" interest in fencing is steadily increasing.

Sport Still Practical

The article also states that this "decrease in interest" is due to the "decrease in the practical value of the sport." It is hard to conceive in what way the "practical value" has declined during the past years, as duelling went out of style long ago. The fact that at both West Point and Annapolis fencing is required as part of the curriculum ought to be sufficient proof that our government still considers it practical enough. Moreover, fencing as an official sport is increasing not only among colleges, but among preparatory schools as well. Both Exeter and Groton started the sport during the last year.

Fencing is "practical" as being one of the few sports that exercises simultaneously all the muscles of the body; it can be played at any season, and generally is continued when the fencers leave college. In view of these facts, it is hard to see how the "practical value" of the sport is decreasing.

Fencing at Harvard

The social side of fencing is sustained not by the Harvard Fencing Club founded in 1889 and since dissolved, but by the Harvard Fencers' Club, founded in 1898, which is showing a steady growth.

The intercollegiate championship in fencing not having fallen to Harvard more often is due to the competition with West Point and Annapolis, where fencing is required of every man.

These facts are not presented in any controversial spirit, but merely to correct a mistaken impression of the writers of the article in the Illustrated.  S. F. DAMON '14, Captain  C. T. VAUGHAN '15, President

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