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Baker, Hobey (15 January 1892–21 December 1918), ice hockey player, was born Hobart Amory Hare Baker in Bala-Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, the son of Alfred Thornton Baker, an upholstery manufacturer, and Mary Augusta Pemberton, a socialite. Baker attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, between the ages of eleven and eighteen. His parents, who subsequently divorced in 1907, sent Baker and his older brother to this prestigious Episcopalian preparatory school in 1903. It was a school much in favor with the socialites of Main Line Philadelphia and was patterned after the so-called “public” schools of England. While there Baker came under the sporting influence of one of the masters, James Conover, his father’s cousin, who established hockey as the school’s most dominant sport after he had made an early trip to Montreal to purchase sticks and pucks....

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Blanchard, Theresa Weld (24 August 1893–12 March 1978), figure skater, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the daughter of Alfred Windsor Weld, a stockbroker, and Theresa Davis. Theresa Weld attended private schools and enjoyed the privileges of membership in the Country Club of Brookline, where she learned horsemanship, tennis, and figure skating. She won her first meet in a skating event intended for males only. While awaiting the scores, she overheard one judge remark, “Give it to the pretty girl.”...

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Eagan, Eddie (26 April 1898–14 June 1967), Olympic champion in boxing and bobsled, was born Edward Patrick Francis in Denver, Colorado, the son of Clara Bartholemew and John William Eagan, a railroad engineer who died soon after his birth. Eddie’s mother taught German and French to support the family. From an early age, he was fascinated by sports. The Frank Merriwell at Yale stories were particular favorites, and young Eagan took up boxing. In 1914 he won a boxing championship of the city of Denver and earned an academic scholarship at the University of Denver. He won the western amateur middleweight title before entering the U.S. Army upon the nation’s entry into World War I in 1917. Also during that year he transferred his academic credits to Yale University and left for Europe as a lieutenant of field artillery. In 1918, in Paris, he won the American Expeditionary Force and Inter-Allied Games middleweight titles....

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Goheen, Francis Xavier (09 February 1894–13 November 1979), hockey player, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of John William Goheen, an odd-job laborer, and Mabel Theresa Rotter. Popularly known as “Moose by his late teenage years,” Goheen learned hockey on the outdoor rinks of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, where he grew up. He starred in hockey for the local town team while playing football and baseball for White Bear Lake High School, and at Valparaiso University in Indiana, he played football and baseball....

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Grey, Clifford (05 January 1887–25 September 1941), librettist, lyricist, and bobsledder, was born Percival Davis in Birmingham, England, the son of George Davis, a whip manufacturer, and Emma Lowe Davis. He was educated at the Camp Hill School for Boys, one of the schools of King Edward the Sixth in Birmingham, winning Latin and English prizes and becoming interested in theatrics....

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Clifford Grey. Second from left, with his Olympic bobsled teammates, Jay OBrien at far left, Edward F. Eagan, second from right, and William Fiske at far right. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Haines, Jackson (1840–1879), ice skater, was born in either the United States or Canada to Alexander Frazee Haines, a cabinetmaker, and Elizabeth Terhune Earl Haines. His exact date of birth is unknown, and his birthplace is still in dispute: among American cities, Chicago, New York, and Troy (New York), are often mentioned. Most sources agree, however, that he came from a prosperous family and was well educated. Young Haines left North America when he was ten years old, accompanied by a relative, and traveled to Europe to study dancing. There he not only mastered ballet but also became a skilled ice-skater. He returned to the United States a few years later because his father wished him to apprentice as a cabinetmaker, but Haines was irresistibly drawn to the stage and left home in his late teens to become a performer....

Article

Kurt R. Zimmerman and Sharon Kay Stoll

Harvey, Beatrix Loughran (30 June 1900–07 December 1975), figure skater and coach, was born in New York City, the daughter of Thomas Loughran, a wealthy real estate broker, and Marguerite Foley. A well-versed individual, Beatrix graduated from the Friends Seminary and Parsons School of Design before entering a career in figure skating. Her first American championship came in the ladies’ junior singles division in 1921, and she earned second place in the ladies’ senior singles event the following two years....

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Sonja Henie At the Winter Olympics. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100744).

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Henie, Sonja (08 April 1912–12 October 1969), figure skater and film actress, was born in Oslo, Norway, the daughter of Hans Wilhelm Henie, a wealthy fur trader, and Selma Lochman-Nielsen. In her autobiography Henie described herself as sometimes feeling like a “lottery winner.” If by that she meant that she was born into circumstances allowing her the opportunity to develop into a world-class athlete, she was certainly correct. Her father was a champion sportsman himself and encouraged her to skate and ski from an early age. Once her talent for figure skating became apparent, her parents invested a portion of their wealth in her skating career, providing her with the coaching, dance lessons, costumes, and tutors that allowed her to quit school and concentrate on her sport....

Article

Johnson, Bob (04 March 1931–26 November 1991), ice hockey coach, was born Robert Johnson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of a Swedish immigrant who adopted his American surname in place of Olars; no other family information is available. He demonstrated his aptitude for ice hockey at an early age, winning the city ice skating championship when he was thirteen. After military service during the Korean War, he played collegiate ice hockey at the University of Minnesota for two years, leading the team in goal scoring; he had earlier played at the University of North Dakota. He married Martha (maiden name unknown); the couple had five children....

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Owen, Maribel Yerxa Vinson (12 October 1911–15 February 1961), figure skater and coach, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Thomas A. Vinson, a lawyer, and Gertrude Cliff. Growing up in a skating family, Maribel seemingly began her life on the ice. Her father had competed in North American skating competitions in the 1890s using the “Old American” style of skating and was a runner-up in international competitions in Canada. He gave Maribel piggyback rides across the ice at the age of two, and she first skated at the age of three at an outdoor rink in Cambridge. Maribel won her first championship at the age of eleven, winning the ladies’ singles at the Cambridge Skating Club in Boston. At twelve she won the Junior Nationals held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after being promised a meal of lobster, her favorite food, if she did well. In 1925, at the age of fourteen, Maribel placed third in the National Seniors competition, behind ...