Grace and Mayhem: Photos of Women’s Roller Derby, 1948

A skillful shoulder block thrown by 'Fuzzy' Buchek (left) foils an attempt by Vivian Johnson (center) to slip between two skaters and start a jam. Blocking and checking are both legal tactics under Derby rules.
George Skadding—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

"It is a teeth-jarring sport for skaters who race 30 miles every night," LIFE wrote of roller derby in December 1948, featuring "enough spills and body contact to gratify even an ice hockey fan." Read More

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