Richard T. Button Trophy Room

As a two-time Olympic champion, five-time World champion, three-time North American champion and seven-time U.S. champion, Richard (Dick) Button has set a standard for the sport of figure skating that few will ever come close to meeting. Apart from his success on the podium, his innovation on the ice was something to behold. Dick was the first skater to land a double Axel; the first skater to land a triple jump; the first male skater to perform the camel spin, and he is the inventor of the flying camel spin. In addition, Dick Button didn’t just add to the history of American figure skating, he helped create it. Dick was the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating; the first American to win a World Championship (1948); the only American to win a European Championship (1948), and he is the only male skater to simultaneously hold the Olympic, World, North American, European and National Championship titles.

To that end, it is with great pride that The Skating Club of Boston is establishing the Richard T. Button Trophy Room to honor one of the greatest athletes in the history of the Club and the sport of figure skating. The Richard T. Button Trophy Room will honor, celebrate and perpetuate Dick Button’s legacy, a career that exemplifies the personal strengths and qualities that are fundamental to almost every champion and lead to longstanding success: passion, discipline, integrity, and joy in the process.

The enduring impact and relevance of the Richard T. Button Trophy Room can be best summed up in one word:

Inspiration.

Button-Salchow Trophy

Among the many trophies in the Richard T. Button Trophy Room, there is one trophy whose narrative continues to be written: the famous Button-Salchow trophy. The story began at the 1947 World Figure Skating Championship in Stockholm, where Dick’s performance impressed Ulrich Salchow, ten-time winner of the World Figure Skating Championships and inventor of the now-famous Salchow jump. The judges awarded Dick second place, but Salchow thought he deserved the gold. Befriending the young talent, he invited Dick to select a trophy from his own vast collection, and as Dick did, a new tradition was born. Following the 1972 World Championships, Dick passed on the Salchow trophy to Misha Petkevich, and in 2010, Misha passed the trophy to Paul Wylie, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist, all in the spirit of commemorating a passion for excellence, generosity of mentorship, and a love of skating that now spans more than seven decades.

When the Button-Salchow Trophy was formally created in 2019, by Misha Petkevich, Paul Wylie and Paul George, with Dick’s imprimatur, Misha said, “I insisted that his name be added to it, because Dick’s the one who started the sequence of events that would lead to this becoming the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football.” A committee has now been established within the United States Figure Skating Foundation to select future recipients of the trophy. In each year of the Olympic Winter Games, the committee will determine who should receive the trophy for the previous quadrennial. Importantly, the Richard T. Button Trophy Room at The Skating Club of Boston, is now the new, permanent home for the Button-Salchow Trophy.

Contributions

The Club is grateful to have an extensive collection of books, medals and other skating memorabilia generously contributed by our members. Anyone wishing to donate items to the Club should review the Gift Acceptance Policy, review the criteria listed below and must contact the Club Historian, Jane Piercy at jane.piercy@scboston.org prior to delivering any items to the Club.

The Club is especially interested in the following items:

  • Ice Chips programs prior to 1935 only.
  • Ice Show programs prior to 1950 (ex: Ice Capades, Ice Follies, Sonje Henie show, Holiday on Ice)
  • National or International Medals/Trophies
  • Original Club trophies and pins (ex: Rotch pins)
  • U.S. Figure Skating medal collections prior to 1961.
  • Items, awards or other ephemera related to the 1961 World Team
  • The following Skating magazine issues are needed:
    • 1977: Any issue
    • 1979: October
    • 1983: August/September
    • 1993: January – August/September
    • 2005: August/September
    • 2008: March, August/September, October
    • 2010: August – December
    • 2015: May – December
    • 2016: Any Issue
    • 2017: Any Issue
    • 2018: Any Issue
    • 2019: August/September, November, December

The Club may be able to accept additional items. Please contact the Club Historian jane.piercy@scboston.org if you are interested in donating any of the following:

Books/periodicals/event programs/posters
The Club will evaluate books, periodicals and event programs before acceptance. New additions will be compared to current inventory and the club may consider declining gifts of books, periodicals or programs if copies of the proposed gift(s) already exist in the collection. The Club has a robust collection of books and a very complete collection of Skating magazine. Gaps in the current Skating magazine collection are documented and welcome.

Items for Consideration

  • Books published after 1960. The Club has a large collection of skating publications and can only accept new unique additions to our collection at this time. Books published prior to 1960 may be welcome but should also be cleared with the Club Historian.
  • Photographs prior to 1990 are especially welcome. Please reach out to Club Historian for photo collections after 1990.
    Olympic memorabilia.
  • Bound copies of Skating magazine

Glassware, figurines, small statues and other dimensional decorative objects
Due to limited secure display space, the donation of any “skating-themed” decorative object must be approved prior to delivery to the Club. Donations of this type may be considered if the item is directly related to the Club or depicts a Club member. The Club may be able to accept some Olympic items in this category.

Antique skates and skating equipment
The Club has a large collection of antique skates. Most of this collection was donated by long-time Club manager Gordon Kendall. The Club also has two vintage scribes, one full size and one loop scribe. The Club may evaluate additions to this collection and will generally accept unique additions to the collection.

Wall Art
Donations of any painting, framed artwork, posters or plaques will be reviewed by the Club prior to acceptance. The Club has a vast collection of wall art, paintings, framed photographs and posters and cannot accept duplicates at this time.

Skating Costumes
The Club will consider the donation of skating costumes worn at National, World or Olympic events.

The Club cannot guarantee immediate or permanent display of donated items. Some items may be stored and included in a future specialized display.