Leonardo Terrone, founder and coach of the Fencers Club of Philadelphia
Leonardo Terrone was the fencing coach at the University of Pennsylvania for 39 years, from 1903-1942 and was the founder of the Keystone FC and the Philadelphia Fencers Club. His success in the US Nationals for both men and women show the command with which he worked in all weapons while he was also coaching full time at the University of Pennsylvania.
Besides winning the Intercollegiate Fencing Association titles in foil in 1913 and 1915, Chauncey Ryder McPherson and Harold Van Buskirk (both from Penn with Terrone) became US fencing Olympians. McPherson was 1921 US National Champion in Men’s Epee and US National Champion in Men’s Saber both in 1921. Harold Van Buskirk was 1927 US National champion in men’s epee and captured 5 other US national medals. Van Buskirk went on to become President of the AFLA/USFA and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Joseph Brooks Bloodgood Parker is another success story from Philadelphia as he made 2 US Olympic teams (1920 & 1924) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bradford Fraley, 1920 Olympian, is another star US fencer trained by Terrone at the Philadelphia Fencers Club. Fraley was a member of the US saber team that took 5th at the 1920 Games. The Philadelphia Fencers Club under Leonardo Terrone defeated all NY teams in 1920 for the US National Men’s Saber Team crown. The 1921 US Men’s Saber championships were a huge statement for Mr. Terrone with 2 of is students on the medal stand..McPherson 1st, Joseph B. B. Parker 2nd. McPherson also took the epee crown. “Chauncey McPherson became a double champion in the finals last night of the national open fencing tournament, capturing the honors with both epee and sabre… Mc Pherson’s victory was accomplished with comparative ease.” . J. Grier Bartol, also trained by Terrone, joined McPherson (Terrone-trained ) and Leo Nunes for the 1922 US Men’s Saber team title.
In the Women’s US National foil events, Emily Sailer took the US National silver medal in the first US National Women’s Foil title event in 1912. Miss Sailer was a student of Mr. Terrone and in 1913, Mrs. William H. Dewar and Mrs. Max Biernbaum ( both from Philadelphia) took first and second in the US National Women’s Foil championships. The following year, Miss Bradley and Miss Evans took the silver and bronze in the US Women’s foil event.
Leonardo Terrone was the coach who made Philadelphia a fencing center. In 1915 in the AFLA’s 4th- ever National Women’s Foil Championships the Philadelphia women SWEPT the medals with Miss Jessie Pyle taking the gold, Miss Edith Evans the silver, and Miss Dorothea Samuels (only 16 years old) taking the bronze. 1916 US Women’s foil championships, Philadelphia’s Miss Samuel takes the silver medal. NY TIMES March 30, 1916 “Mrs. Voorhees represents the Fencers’ Club of this city, and her victory brings the championship back from Philadelphia, where it has been for the last year. The winner of the championship a year ago, Miss Jessie Pyle of Philadelphia, did not even qualify for the finals. She was twice defeated in the early fencing, once by Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, Jr., and a second time by Miss Marie Bradley. Several years ago Miss Margaret Stimson won the championship, but last night she did not win a bout in the qualifying round. (Miss Stimson would die later in this year.illness unknown) The fencing of Mrs. Voorhees was excellent. Her style was much superior to that of the majority of the contestants. One bout which she won by a score of 5 to 1 furnished the best contest of the evening. Her opponent in this was Miss Bradley of the Philadelphia Fencers’ Club, and it was agreed on every hand that there was more real fencing technique shown in this competition than is often seen in women’s tournaments.”