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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2010, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

Those who read results from the 1940s and 50s may have come across the name of Gem Hoahing. Gem Cynthia Hoahing was notable for for few reasons. First of all she was of Chinese heritage, her father being a sucessful businessman from Hong Kong. That alone made her unusual, but Gem had another claim to fame; she was by far the shortest world class tennis player of her generation,and perhaps of all time, standing well under five feet. Her height was 4 feet 9 1/2 inches (1.46 metres). Crowds inevitably cheered for the tiny Chinese girl with British citizenship. Gem never won a major or reached the world's top ten. What she did capture was many hearts.

Gem was born in 1921 in Hong Kong to parents of Chinese heritage. Earlier her family had emigrated to British Guyana. Her father was a Guyanese businessman who eventually settle in New York, while Gem's mother was educated in Edinburgh and Dublin, becoming one of the first doctors in British Guyana. Some sources report her name should have been translated as "Ho a hing".


Gem's last performance at Wimbledon came in 1957, when she bowed out to eventual champion Althea Gibson.

Last edited by Rollo; Oct 25th, 2013 at 01:46 PM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2010, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

A getty image of Hoahing and Gussie Moran at Wimbledon in 1949


Last edited by Rollo; May 9th, 2012 at 07:37 PM.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2010, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

Those wanting to see pictures of her can type in her name in the Getty image archives. There are currently 4 pictures. 1 is of her as a junior. The other 3 feature Gem vs Gussie Moran in 1949. Hoahing upset her much taller opponent in a Center Court clash. (Google images also has 3 of these photos)

Last edited by Rollo; Feb 5th, 2013 at 02:27 PM.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2010, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

I have discovered a recent email on the web from a couisin of Gem's by the name of Cecil Vivian Ricahrd Wong. Hopefully we can somehow contact him if he wants to share more information on his cousin.

Here is what he relates about Gem....

Quote:
.............in 1947 my father sent me up to Cambridge & London to further my studies ....follow in his footsteps & obtain my membership als to the ICAEW in 1954.On my return to London in 1947 I was welcomed by my cousin Gem Hoahing & her mother who was a qualified medical practitioner at King's Cross Station & taken to their lovely home called Neville House in Twickenham.....an extensive property with fruit orchard & alawn tennis court...Gem..in her time was a tennis prodigy & I was in one of the front seats when she beat glamorous Gussy Moran in the third round at Wimbledon. The headline the next day was that little G beat big G.....for Gem was a little under 5 foot & Gussy Moran was a tall elegant fashion model as well as number 3 ranked US tennis behind Louise Brough & Margaret....Gem had powerful ground strokes & was fleet of foot to make up for her lack of inches...For her achievements she was invited to be member of the All England Club at Wimbledon as well as Queens & Hurligham..Being a cousin of Gem enabled me to attend the All England Tennis Championships regularly & frequently between 1948 & 1952
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Those who read results from the 1940s and 50s may have come across the name of Gem Hoahing. Gem Cynthia Hoahing was notable for for few reasons. First of all she was of Chinese heritage, her father being a sucessful businessman from Hong Kong. That alone made her unusual, but Gem had another claim to fame; she was by far the shortest world class tennis player of her generation,and perhaps of all time, standing well under five feet. Her height was 4 fet 9 1/2 inches (1.46 metres). Crowds inevitably cheered for the tiny Chinese girl with British citizenship. Gem never won a major or reached the world's top ten. What she did capture was many hearts.

Gem was born in 1921 in Hong Kong to parents of Chinese heritage. Earlier her family had emigrated to British Guyana. Her father was a Guyanese businessman who eventually settle in New York, while Gem's mother was educated in Edinburgh and Dublin, becoming on the first doctors in British Guyana. Some sources report her name should have been translated as "Ho a hing".


Gem's last performance at Wimbledon came in 1957, when she bowed out to eventual champion Althea Gibson.
RolloAm I not right in saying that she did well on clay courts? I am sure that she either won the British Hard Courts or at least featured prominently in it. And of course it was a paramount tournament back then. Was her mother Scottish then? I am Scots/Irish so that would make me smile if she was!!!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Those wanting to see pictures of her can type in her name in the Getty image archives. There are currently 4 pictures. 1 is of her as a junior. The other 3 feature Gem vs Gussie Moran in 1949. Hoahing upset her much taller opponent in a Center Court clash. (Goolgle images also has 3 of these photos)
RolloThat would have been quite a draw of a match. A tiny little player like Hoahing, who I presume would have played lovely neat tennis. Against the glamour girl of the tour and a much misunderstood figure. When Bobby Riggs persuaded her to turn professional, he seriously misunderstood the seriousness of this lady as a professional.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
I have discovered a recent email on the web from a couisin of Gem's by the name of Cecil Vivian Ricahrd Wong. Hopefully we can somehow contact him if he wants to share more information on his cousin.

Here is what he relates about Gem....
RolloWhat a fascinating recollection and I have to say a great win for Hoahing over Gussie. It must have been tough for her to accept that defeat. I have to say though that Cecil must have been a little remiss with his memory? I am very surprised if Moran was indeed 3 in the United States during this great era in the game? I mean it wasnt just DuPont and Brough there was a whole lot of great serve and volleyers. Mind you Betz was gone at this stage so perhaps Gussie was number 3??
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2012, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

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I have to say though that Cecil must have been a little remiss with his memory? I am very surprised if Moran was indeed 3 in the United States during this great era in the game? I mean it wasnt just DuPont and Brough there was a whole lot of great serve and volleyers. Mind you Betz was gone at this stage so perhaps Gussie was number 3??
I think you are correct Macky-Gussie's highest US ranking was #4 behind the 3 "amazons" (DuPont, Brough, and Hart) before the rise of Shirley Fry.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

Hi all, I am the Cecil Wong who wrote the email you quoted. I am now 90 years of age. You may email me at ncewcs@gmail.com
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2013, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

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Hi all, I am the Cecil Wong who wrote the email you quoted. I am now 90 years of age. You may email me at ncewcs@gmail.com
Wonderful to hear from you Cecil. I will email you. In the meantime if you have any information you wish to share about Gem please fell free to use this space.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 25th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

I think Gem Hoahing might still be alive. Her mother, Susan Singcha Hoahing, died in 1990, so the story about the fatal visits to the dentist by a mother and her daughter can't refer to either Gem or her mother. Gem's first name was Cynthia, hence "Miss C.G. Hoahing".

Gem Hoahing was born in Hong Kong in 1920 or 1921 to Benjamin Hunter Hoahing and Susan Singcha Ho A Shoo. However, her parents didn't appear to marry until April/June 1938, when their marriage was registered in the Brentford Registration District, now a part of west London.

Benjamin Hunter Hoahing, of Neville House, 137 London Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, died on 25 March 1942. Probate went to Susan Singcha Hoahing, widow. According to the electoral rolls for 1965, Gem and Susan Hoahing were living together at that time in the borough of Chelsea in London.

When Susan Singcha Hoahing died in April 1990 (in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea), she was 104 years old. So it is not unrealistic to assume that Gem Hoahing is still alive. No record of a marriage was found for Gem Hoahing.
-----
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 25th, 2013, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

Great information Mark!

I thank you for your PM as well and will do some more research.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2015, 07:10 PM
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

Update: Gem died yesterday!
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2015, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

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Update: Gem died yesterday!
I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Do we know of any obituary? Did you know Gem?


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2015, 03:05 AM
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Re: Little Gem-Gem Hoahing

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I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Do we know of any obituary? Did you know Gem?
I am so touched by your memories of my cousin Gem. Her mother, the famous Edinbrough-educated Chinese doctor, was born in British Guiana, the daughter of wealthy merchant John Ho-A-Shoo. He was my great-grandfather, who evidently believed in women's education more than one hundred years ago, far ahead of his time. After her Wimbledon Junior Championship and famous upset victory over Gussy Moran, she played tennis mostly at charity events, and owned a nice flower shop in London, near Kensington Gardens. There was a memorial service on November 4 at St Stephen's Church, Twickenham. The Order of Service included three photos of her in tennis attire.
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