Edgar Seligman

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Edgar Seligman
Personal information
Full nameEdgar Isaac Seligman
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Born(1867-04-14)14 April 1867
San Francisco, California, United States
Died27 September 1958(1958-09-27) (aged 91)
Kensington, London, England
OccupationArtist, Painter and Fencer

Edgar Isaac Seligman (14 April 1867 – 27 September 1958) was a British épée, foil, and sabre fencer. After the family moved to London he became a British citizen by naturalisation.[2]

Seligman competed in five Olympiads and won two silver medals as a member of the British fencing team despite not making his Olympic debut until age 39, and was the only man to win the British fencing championship in all three weapons twice.[3][4]

Early and personal life[edit]

Belgian Steel Factory, Goldhawk Road, W12 - Workers (1918), painting by Edgar Seligman

Seligman was born in San Francisco, California, in the United States, to German parents, and was Jewish.[5][6][7][8] His father was Leopold Seligman.[7] After his family moved to London, England, he became a British citizen by naturalisation.[2]

He fought in the Boer War as a Corporal in the Imperial Yeomanry,[7] and his brother was Brigadier General Herbert Seligman who served in the Royal Artillery.[7]

He was also a notable painter.[7][4] He exhibited his art at the Royal Academy and the Fine Art Society in London, and entered his works in the Olympic art competitions of the 1928 and 1932 Games.[4]

Fencing career[edit]

Although he made his Olympic debut at age 39, Seligman's Olympic career lasted for 5 Olympics.[4] Seligman was the only person to win the British title in each weapon at least twice: epee (1904, 1906), foil (1906, 1907) and sabre (1923, 1924).[4] In the Olympics in epee Seligman won three consecutive team silver medals with the British team between 1906 and 1912, and came in 6th individually in 1912.[4] From 1912 to 1924, he served as the team captain of the British fencing team.[4]

British Championships[edit]

Seligman was the British epee champion in 1904 and 1906,[9] the foil champion in 1906–07, and the sabre champion in 1923 and 1924.[7]

Intercalated Games[edit]

Seligman (39 years of age) first competed at the 1906 "Intercalated Games" held in Athens to renew interest in the Olympic Games. Although considered "unofficial," the Games attracted 900 athletes from 20 countries. The British épée team came in second.[9] The Games succeeded in renewing interest in the Olympics, and Seligman competed in his first "official" Olympiad 2 years later at the 1908 London Games.

1908 London Olympic Games[edit]

With England the host country in 1908, Seligman (41 years of age) and his teammates won the silver medal in the team épée competition[1] (they defeated Belgium and Denmark to win the silver).[7] Seligman was not successful in the individual épée, however, losing in the 1st round. The "Official Report" of the Olympics stated that his "failure was unaccountable and naturally caused disappointment."

1912 Stockholm Olympic Games[edit]

Four years later at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, Seligman (45 years of age) captained the British fencing team,[7] competed in 3 events, and won another medal (he reached the finals in all 3 of his events).[4] In the team épée competition, Seligman and the British team won the silver.[7] In the individual épée, Seligman finished 6th overall after winning only 2 of 7 matches in the final round.[4] He also competed in the individual foil event and won 3 of 7 matches in the finals, to finish in 6th place.[4]

1920 Antwerp Games[edit]

At the 1920 Antwerp Games (there were no Olympics in 1916 due to World War I), Edgar (53 years of age) was again the British captain[7] and finished in 7th place in the team foil competition, and 5th in the team épée.[4]

1924 Paris Olympic Games[edit]

At the 1924 Paris Games, Seligman (57 years of age) was captain for a third time.[7] In the first three rounds of the competition in the individual foil event, he won 12 of 13 matches and easily advanced to the finals.[4] Unfortunately, according to the Olympic Games of 1924 British Report: "in the final pool of the individual foil event, he [Seligman] slipped in the course of his second fight and strained his leg, with the result that he was compelled to retire – a most unfortunate happening, since he had previously won his fight against Roger Ducret of France, the eventual Olympic winner."

In Paris Seligman also managed to compete in the individual sabre and team foil events.[4] In the individual sabre, he finished 3rd in his elimination pool, but then forfeited in the semifinals.[4] The British team was eliminated in the quarterfinals; Seligman fenced in both matches and won 6 of 8 bouts combined.[4] He was also scheduled to participate in the team épée and team sabre, but his injury did not allow him to compete.

1928 and 1932 Olympic Games[edit]

At the Art competitions at the 1928 Summer Olympics and Art competitions at the 1932 Summer Olympics, Seligman competed in the Mixed Painting Art Competitions.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Edgar SELIGMAN". Olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Wills and Bequests – Print Collection for Museums". Deaths. The Times (54372). London. 30 January 1959. col B, p. 15.
  3. ^ "20 Century". fencingmuseum.com.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Edgar Seligman Bio, Stats, and Results | Olympics at Sports-Reference.com
  5. ^ Day by Day in Jewish Sports History - Bob Wechsler
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Jews in Sports - Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, Roy Silver
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History
  8. ^ Encyclopedia of Jews in Sports - Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, Roy Silver
  9. ^ a b Wikisource Robinson, Charles Edmund Newton (1911). "Épée-de-Combat" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 668.
  10. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Edgar Seligman". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 25 March 2010.

External links[edit]