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This blog is about the history of ice skating, loosely interpreted. See Aims & scope.

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About the author: Bev Thurber, PhD

I am an independent scholar whose research focuses on the history of ice skating. My book on bone skates has just been published by McFarland, and I’m working on a number of smaller writing projects.

I have four degrees in four different fields and have studied in three countries. I was a professor at Shimer College from 2009 until 2017, when it was acquired by North Central College. And yes, I still skate.

Publications relating to skating history

Website

I maintain a website about figures.

Skating Figures in the Twenty-First Century

Books

B. A. Thurber, Skates Made of Bone: A History. McFarland, 2020. Publisher link; Amazon link.
E. F. Benson, Skating Stories. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2020. Publisher link; Amazon link.
H. E. Vandervell, The Figure Skate: A Research into the Form of Blade Best Adapted to Curvilinear Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2020. Publisher link; Amazon link.
Henry C. Lowther, English Skating: Edges and Striking; Principle of Skating Turns; Combined Figure-Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2019. Publisher link; Amazon link.
Frostiana: Or a History of the River Thames in a Frozen State. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2018. Blog post; Amazon link.
G. H. Fowler, On the Outside Edge: Being Diversions in the History of Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2018. Blog post; Amazon link.
Cover imageR. Jones, A Treatise on Skating. Edited by B. A. Thurber. Skating History Press, 2017. Blog post; Amazon link.

Articles

  • “No ice? Practice outdoors on wheels!” Recreational Ice Skating Online, April 6, 2020. Direct link.
  • “How to skate a cat.” Recreational Ice Skating, Fall 2019, pp. 24–25. Companion video.
  • “The Viking ball game.” Scandinavian Studies, vol. 87, no. 2, 2015, pp. 167–188. Blog post; JSTOR link. Knattleikr (colloquially called “the hockey game” among medievalists) doesn’t actually involve skating, but it was usually played on ice.
  • “The similarity of bone skates and skis.” Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, vol. 9, 2013, pp. 199–217. Publisher link. Skiing figures much more prominently in medieval Icelandic sagas than bone skates, but there are lots of bone skates from medieval Scandinavia, especially southern Sweden.
  • “A new interpretation of Frithiof’s steel shoes.” Scandinavica, vol. 50, no. 2, 2011, pp. 6–30. Publisher link. In Esaias Tegnér’s Frithiofs saga, the title character appears on stålskor (steel shoes), which have normally been interpreted as ice skates.

Get in touch if you’d like pdf copies of these articles. I have also published book reviews and journal articles on historical and computational linguistics, archaeology, and fluid dynamics.