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Rollo
Apr 27th, 2002, 03:36 PM
Long skirts and bowler hats-the pioneers of the game deserve credit for the birth of women's tennis. Here's a thread just for them. They had to fight prejudice and hardships today's women can't imagine. Early opponents of women's tennis debated if the ladies should be allowed to play in public at all! For modesty's sake, the first major women's event(the 1879 Irish Open) was held more or less in private.

Add to that the pressures of getting married and having children, shoes and clothes not suitable for sports(such as whalebone corsets and long sleeves), and it's a wonder these women played at all. But play they did, causing a stir, drawing crowds, and even having a bit of contoversy too.

After 1914 this tennis world of the upper class was swept away by World War One. 1919 brought shorter skirts and a different style. Without the pioneers though, women's tennis wouldn't be where it is today.

Rollo
Apr 27th, 2002, 03:41 PM
Link to a short piece on Charlotte Sterry-5 time Wimbledon champ.
It has a pic
http://www.zip.com.au/~rsterry/gen/charlotte.htm

If there ever was a first family of Wimbledon it is the Sterry-Cooper alliance. Since the early days of 1894 there has always been a Sterry or Cooper in the All England Club. They are as ubiquitous as strawberries and cream.

What the Renshaws did for men's tennis, the Sterrys and Coopers did for the women. There was the original Charlotte Cooper (Mrs Alfred Sterry), champion of the nineties. Her daughter Gwen (Mrs Max Simmers) and niece Valerie (Mrs Peter Weatherall) are still members.

I was sitting in the Members' Enclosure with Tony Cooper, now assistant secretary of the club by way of stockbroking in the City. He and his cousin, Rex Sterry (a committee member), are the last remaining males in a family whose very existence is woven in the tapestry of Wimbledon. They are both endearing characters, the one like Stilton and the other mellow as Gorgonzola.

'Ah yes, Aunt "Chatty",' Tony Cooper said. 'Of course I remember as a child being taken by her to Worple Road.

'Extraordinary, isn't it. You know she was in the days of May Sutton, Lottie Dod and that incredible Irish champion, Maud Watson. Aunt "Chatty" first won the championship in 1894, then five times in all, and I think I'm right in saying that she never heard the ball bounce because she was stone deaf. She was very accurate, of course, and she always knew exactly what the score was. In 1908, at the age of thirty-seven, which was getting on in those days, she was the oldest woman ever to win Wimbledon. That year she won all three events.

'Aunt "Chatty" used to live with her parents in a red-brick wistaria-covered house called "Founhope" in Ewell Road, Surbiton. In fact, it was right next door to the house where I was born. One day in 1908 my father, Harry Cooper, was in the garden with a chum of his, pruning the roses or wistaria or something, when "Chatty" arrived on her bicycle. He called out to her, because everyone was fond of "Chatty". She was that sort of girl. ' "Where have you been, 'Chatty'?"

'Propping up her bicycle, she replied: "As a matter of fact I have been to Wimbledon and I've just won the championship."

' "Oh, have you," replied my father, and went on with his pruning.

It was all taken rather for granted in those days. My aunt was, in fact, a jolly good player and even if she did wear a huge skirt almost to the ground and black shoes and stockings, she never served underarm and always used to rush up to the net. I remember that she cinched in her waist with a wide belt, the sort boys wear, with two silver buckles.'

Whatever Wimbledon meant to Charlotte Sterry, as she became on marriage, she was not overwhelmed by its splendour. Alter she died, the gold medal that she received as Britain's first Olympic tennis winner could not be found. Nor her Wimbledon trophies. 'Typical,' says Tony Cooper.

'I bet she gave it to the gardener,' says her son, Rex Sterry. The Sterrys and the Coopers were closely intermarried, and Tony Cooper tried to unravel it for me.

'Well, you see Rex's old mum (Charlotte Sterry and nee Cooper) is a sister of my father's and a first cousin of my mother's.' After she married 'Aunt "Chatty" ' carried on the tradition for tennis by laying a court at her home called Braemar Lodge. It was, in fact, laid the wrong way but this was no obstacle for 'Chatty' Sterry, who was never one to be put off. She had it moved round the right way.

Charlotte Reinagle Cooper was 30 years of age and a spinster, living at Surbiton, Surrey when she married Alfred Sterry on January 12th, 1901 at the church of St Mark, Surbiton. Charlotte's father was Henry Cooper (deceased at time of marriage), of professional rank, a gentleman. Alfred Sterry was 24, a bachelor and a solicitor, living at 6 Catherine Rd, Surbiton at time of his marriage. His father was John Sterry (then deceased), a Wine Merchant. Witnesses to their marriage were Teresa Georgina Cooper (Charlotte's mother), Harry Cooper, Emma P. Sterry (Alfred's mother) and John Sterry (Alfred's brother).

According to the 1881 British census Charlotte was born abt 1871 at Ealing, Middlesex. In 1881 she was aged 10 and living with her mother, Georgina T. (then a widow aged 39, born in America), her brother Sam. E. (aged 13 born America) and her sister Maud J. (aged 11 born Ealing). Living with them in 1881 was a boy aged 10, also born in America: Herbert F. Patrickson and two others, who were probably servants: Caroline Jarvis (unmarried, aged 29, born Nettlebed, Oxfordshire) and Lizzie A. Bye (unmarried, aged 19, born Reading, Berkshire).

Rollo
Apr 27th, 2002, 04:28 PM
A match report form the 1898 US women's final from the Philadelphia Inquirer. I've edited out some of the less interesting parts.
What happened on match point was incredible!:eek:

A Tennis Battle That Was Royal

Championship play breaks a record for stubborness and quality

Miss Atkinson Wins--Successfully defends her cup against Miss Jones--Latter meets with misfortunes.

Miss Juliet Atkinson is again lawn tennis champion of the women players of the United States. Good luck, superior physical condition and hard, nervy play enabled her to win yesterday at the Philadelphia Cricket Club grounds. Miss Marion Jones is the daughter of Senator Jones of Nevada.

The match scores were: 6-3 5-7 6-4 2-6 7-5.

This is a total of 26 games for Miss Atkinson and 25 games for Miss Jones. The point total was 185 points for Miss Jones to 177 for Miss Atkinson.

It can be safely siad that none of the previous 11 women's contests(from 1887) was there such an exciting finish.
To show the grand excitement of the contest and to tell why the crowded grand stand remained nearly filled until long after the dinner hour, it is but necessary to explain the score in the deciding moments.

Each of the plucky girls had won two sets,a nd in the 5th and deciding set the score stood :Miss Jones 5, Miss Atkinson 3.
All Miss Jones had to do was win the set on hand. In it the score was 40 to 30 in her favor. All she needed was one point to win the game, set, match, and united States championship. Just one little point, and here is where Miss Jones' misfortunes commenced.
In the rally Miss Atkinson returned and the ball struck a ba;; not in play, lying in Miss Jones' court owing to the negligence of the umpires. The ball in play glanced off and shot along the ground, so that Miss Jones could not return it. This made the game "deuce" and Miss Atkinson won out.

This brought the score in games to 5 to 4 in Miss Jones' favor. Still she had the better chance. Four times in this set she needed but a point ot win,and yet she never got it, Miss atkinson "deucing" it and eventually scoring the two consecutive points. Once Miss Jones had "vantage" and neaded but a point. Miss Atkinson's return went outside of the court and and the match then and there belonged to Miss Jones, but the umpire on that line failed to do his duty and decided, contrary to the fact, that the ball was in. This decision alone cost Miss Jones the match. This little Westerner deserves unlimited praise for her splendid showing iin this, her first appearance in a Us championship match without the age and experience of her opponent.,lacking her physicla condition and having been unwell for several days, she all but defeated a champion twice.

As to the quality of play, it was the best that has ever been put up at these tournaments. The rallies were often long and spirited and both played well and made some splendid strokes. Miss atkinson went up to the net oftenerand was very effective, but the game was distinctly a back court struggle. Both used a well-judged, hard, low fore-hand stroke with good effect,a nd did some remarkablt clever back hand work as well. As the club's poet, Mr. "Cliff" Patterson, put it:

Good shots on both sides followed fast
But some one had to yield at last.

One thing that told very material in Miss Atkinson's favor was physique. To use a masculine athletic term of condition, "She was hard as nails". She is light and very active and this enabled her to cover more ground than miss Jones, whose stocky stature and weight were no inconsiderable handicap.

Zummi
Apr 29th, 2002, 02:47 AM
Very nice posts and thanks for putting the thread up.

I always enjoy reading about Charlotte Cooper-Sterry, one of the first aggresive players to play the game and also one of the first (if not the first) at Wimbledon to server overhead. Definitely, a player to be admired.

Just a minor correction or maybe I'm just reading it the wrong way, but I don't believe Maud Watson was Irish. The author might be confusing her with Helena Rice, the first non-British winner at Wimbledon. But I'm not sure if she was a contemporary of Sterry's. Her Wimbledon title came five years before Sterry won her first.

Rollo
Apr 29th, 2002, 04:39 AM
You're right Zummi-Maud was certainly British(English to be exact) and not Irish:)
She did win the Irish title in 1884-perhaps that's what got the author confused.

I'll try to post some more when I can. I have some booklets on early champs put out by Wimbledon years ago.

We've missed you, have you been on vacation? The old 80's and 70's threads have been relocated here to the Blast and need some jump starting. Have a look at the Martina thread too and let Adrian know what you think of Marti's 1980 Colgate win being called an exhibition! Believe or not Zummi, you'll notice I defended you in your absence;)

See you around:wavey:

Zummi
May 2nd, 2002, 02:41 AM
No, I've been around. Just hadn't posted much since it appears the board has changed so much! Not that it's a bad thing, it all just looked rather new to me at first.

Thank you for the website plug on the Martina thread :) I didn't post anything there b/c I didn't want it to look like I was interrupting the flow or trying to get some attention. Adrian was doing a good job posting the results and everyone seems to have enjoyed it.

Yes, the 1980 Colgate series was not an exhibition - but the Tokyo results still count for official head-to-heads :)

P.S. I know you mean well, but please don't refer to Martina as Marti! Try Tina or Mar or Tini (she hates being called that, btw!) or Pluto or whatever, but please no Marti! That's just too "Hingish" for me! :D

Rollo
May 2nd, 2002, 03:46 PM
I'll try and remember not to call Martina "Marti". I'll need reminding though:)
Yes, it's a good thing Adrian was posting results, I just like for facts to be right, because as you know, someone else comes along, picks it up, and accepts it as gospel truth. This is a real problem these days due to the internet!

When I was digging around in the Library of Congress last week I found something eye-opening. It was in a 1910 issue of American Lawn Tennis.
It states that the Australasian final that year was won by Rose Payten. Most record books give 1922 as the first Aussie women's title! It's a mystery I'd like to get to the bottom of.

Rollo
Jun 22nd, 2002, 01:17 AM
Here's a piece on early women's clothing. For the most part these early women came from the upper classes. While this made their lives more comfortable than most, it actually made tennis a painful activity if contested vigourously. Clothes were starched, some so heavily the women creaked as they ran! Corsets of whalebone sometimes cut into flesh. Elizabeth Ryan, 19 times a wimbledon doubles winner, recalled that before the war in women's locker rooms one could often see blood-stained corsets.

Early womens tennis fashion

When women first began to play tennis, in the 1860s, heavy material like flannel or serge was deemed suitable, with the addition of a bustle or even furs, but by the time Maud Watson won the first Wimbledon Ladies’ Championship in 1884 white clothing had become popular since it helped to mask perspiration, the dreaded consequence of running.

Miss Watson, 19 years old and a vicar’s daughter, was all in white as she defeated her older sister, Lilian, in the final, but it was a constricting outfit, a bustled two-piece costume, topped by a sporty male straw boater. If that was not an early fashion statement, what is?

By the time the 15-year-old Lottie Dod won Wimbledon three years later her calf-length skirts had to be seen as acceptable, since they also formed part of her school uniform. But even by the turn of the century Miss Dod was pleading for “a suitable attire for women’s tennis which does not impede breathing.”

In 1905 along came the American May Sutton, who at home in California had taken to playing in her father’s shirts because of the extra freedom of movement they offered. That year she caused a stir, not merely by winning Wimbledon but by doing so after rolling back her cuffs and revealing her wrists. The sleeves on her dress, she complained, were “too long and too hot.”

By the time Dorothea Lambert Chambers, Wimbledon’s champion seven times between 1903 and 1914, came on the scene hats and bustles had disappeared but she triumphed on court while wearing two or three stiff petticoats, as well as corsets. All this was to change in 1919, the first Wimbledon to be staged after the First World War, by the daring Frenchwoman, Suzanne Lenglen.

Elizabeth Ryan, winner of 19 Wimbledon titles, said memorably of Lenglen, “All women players should go on their knees in thankfulness to Suzanne for delivering them from the tyranny of corsets.” Not only the corsets had vanished when Lenglen breezed into tennis history. She wore a flimsy and revealing calf-length cotton frock with short sleeves, as much a sensation at the time as Gussie Moran just after the Second World War. To this outfit Lenglen was to add flamboyant extras, such as several yards of coloured silk chiffon and, another first for women, a headband. Shiny white stockings, rolled to the knee, also caused a mixture of apoplexy and ecstasy.

End

Old values went out the window in 1919. representing a failed generation that had ruined Europe with war. The old guard cheered against Lenglen that year, but her victory was one of fashion as well. By 1920 half the women in the world wanted Suzanne's "look".

Rollo
Jun 22nd, 2002, 01:20 AM
Early images of Wimbledon:

http://www.driftwaycollection.com/images/womens_match_small.jpg

Rollo
Jun 22nd, 2002, 01:22 AM
a lady plays tennis: 1915

http://www.driftwaycollection.com/images/imagery/boston_post_small.jpg

Rollo
Jun 22nd, 2002, 01:33 AM
The "Little Wonder"

Lottie Dod was the first prodigy, winning matches and capturing her first event(Waterloo) at the age of 13!:eek: The press dubbed her "the little wonder". The older women she came up against had to wear long skirts as they were "proper" for 'ladies". As a schoolgirl Lottie could run about more freely in shorter skirts. Cheered by rowdy crowds who loved the idea of a "girl". it can be imagined that she was less than popular with the other women.

Sam L
Jun 24th, 2002, 10:30 AM
Thanx for this thread Rollo very interesting :) don't have time to read it all yet :)

Rollo
Aug 6th, 2002, 05:45 PM
A funny story from the first US champion Ellen Hansell. Sounds like Billie Jean King would have loved the crowd. I can't imagine what Capriati would think!

http://www.tennisfame.org/enshrinees/images/hansell_ellen.jpg

EllenHansell-1887 US winner

The following is from the Tennis hall of Fame:


The original U.S. female champion, Ellen Forde Hansell Allerdice was a Philadelphian who won the title in 1887, in her hometown, not long before her 18th birthday. She beat Laura Knight, 6-1, 6-0, at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, but lost the title the following year to Bertha Townsend, and wasn't a factor again. A right-hander, she served sidearm, as, she said, did most of the women in that inaugural.

Forty-four years later, she recalled that she had been an anemic child, who showed some "enthusiasm and aptitude" for tennis. Her mother was advised by the family doctor to take Ellen out of school and put her on a court daily to build herself up. She remembered her mother making her tennis dresses of red plaid gingham: "A red felt hat topped the tight-collared and be-corseted body. I also wore a blazer of red and blue stripes ...we did now and then grip our overdraped, voluminous skirts with our left hand to give us a bit more limb freedom when dashing to make a swift, snappy stroke, every bit as well placed as today, but lacking the force and great physical strength of the modern girl. Is it possible for you to envision the gallery? A loving, but openly prejudiced crowd standing within two feet of the court lines, calling out hurrahs of applause plus groans of disappointment, and some suggestive criticism, such as: 'Run to the net.''Place it to her left.' 'Don't dare lose this game.'"

Rollo
Aug 13th, 2002, 07:12 AM
http://i.timeinc.net/people/images/photo/gallery/tennisshock/mwatson.jpg


HUSTLE AND BUSTLE: Maud Watson, a tennis champ in the late 1800s (illustrated here in an 1886 drawing), "provoked much gossip by running about the court in her ankle-length white dress," reported the BBC News in 1998. Watson won Wimbledon's first two ladies' singles championships in 1884 and 1885, beating sister Lilian at the first one

* The "busltle" is the frilly thing on her back at waist level*

Rollo
Aug 16th, 2002, 06:46 AM
Early American champ Eleanora Randolph Sears.

Eleanora went against all conservative efforts to control women’s behavior in the late 1800s. She was the first woman to receive nationwide publicity for playing sports. She excelled in any sport she attempted. She won 240 trophies in her sport career that lasted seventy years.

ERS was the four-times National Women's Double tennis champion in the 1911-17 period, but her tennis playing ability paled in comparison to the publicity she got when she decided to roll up her sleeves during a hectic match.


She was famous for breaking a number of taboos. One was in 1915, when she rode astride a horse at the National Horse Show. Until then women had always rode sidesaddle. .

ERS refused to conform to the requirement that women to wear corsets which restricted breathing under even normal conditions and especially when they engaged in sports activities.






http://www.sports-trivia.net/images/eleanorasears2.jpg

Being from a prominent family gave Sears a forum to promote her beliefs-one of which was women should get the vote. She drove her own car(rare in those days) seen here: It's a 1914 Rolls Royce.


http://www.ohtm.org/14rollsr.jpg





She dared wear jodpurs onto a men's polo field to ask that she be allowed to play with the men. The shocked judges refused and a mother's club passed a resolution requesting ERS wear proper women's attire. She then took to wearing trousers almost exclusively. She got her way, being the first woman to play polo vs. men in 1928.
She was also a noted walker, often walking huge distances. She walked the 47 miles between Boston and Providence, RI in under ten hours.
Her wealth allowed her to be eccentric and pursue her own ways. She did, doing whatever she damn well pleased:)

Glenn Stout did an article on her in September of 1993 in "New England Sport".

Rollo
Sep 14th, 2002, 06:43 AM
Early women's tennis in France actually was jump started by the English. When Queen Victoria decided to start wintering on the Riviera in the late 1890s the wealthy ENglish naturally followed in her wake, bringing Tennis with them. By the early 1900s the winter events (every week from January to April) attracted the best entries in the world outside of Wimbledon. An early view of a Riviera hotel/casino and courts.


Beau Site, Cannes

http://www.cannes-on-line.com/images/histoire/tennisbeausite.jpg

Rollo
Dec 21st, 2002, 06:07 AM
New Zealand's greatest female ever-Kate Nunneley



http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/images/4nunneley.jpg


From the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography


Kathleen Mary Nunneley was born on 16 September 1872 at Little Bowden, Leicestershire, England, the daughter of John Alexander Nunneley, a wholesale grocer, and his wife, Kate Young. She began her tennis career at a young age, winning several championship events before she had turned 15. In 1891 she won the Brighton handicap singles title and in 1893 recorded victories in tournaments at Liverpool, Leicester, Nottingham, Northampton and Wellingborough. Although she never competed in the All England championship, Nunneley defeated the reigning Wimbledon champion, Blanche Hillyard. Her father committed suicide in 1893 and in 1894 she emigrated to New Zealand with her mother, three brothers and a sister, arriving on the Kaikoura at Wellington on 7 December.

Shortly after settling in central Wellington, Kathleen (known as Kate) Nunneley joined the Thorndon Lawn Tennis Club. In December 1895 she took part in her first New Zealand Lawn Tennis Association tournament. On winning both the ladies' singles and doubles titles, she was selected to represent New Zealand at the New South Wales championships in 1896, where she played with characteristic style to win both the ladies' championship and handicap singles titles.

Possessed of a powerful forehand drive and a keenly competitive spirit, Kate Nunneley did much to improve the standard of women's tennis in New Zealand. Despite being severely handicapped by the dress requirements of the day, she was an energetic competitor who enjoyed playing and practising regularly against men. She won 13 national singles titles - more than any other man or woman in the history of New Zealand tennis - in an unbroken run from 1895 to 1907. She also won 10 national doubles titles and nine national mixed doubles titles, twice with the champion player Anthony Wilding, and was a leading member of the New Zealand women's tennis team which made a triumphant tour of New South Wales in 1909.

By the time she visited England at the end of the First World War Nunneley had given up top-level competition, but tennis remained her ruling passion. Her generosity to the game was manifested by her decision to have the gold medals she had won at national tournaments made into a trophy for the New Zealand Lawn Tennis Association. This gift, the Nunneley Casket, was presented in 1928 and subsequently awarded each year to the winning team in the interprovincial women's tennis competition.

Away from tennis Kate Nunneley lived the life of an independent woman. She never married and for 30 years she enjoyed a successful career as a librarian, retiring from her position as assistant in charge of the reference department at the Wellington Public Library in 1935.

Continuing her love affair with tennis, Kate Nunneley returned to England to see the Wimbledon tennis tournament in both 1949 and 1953. Known for her charm, modesty and good sportsmanship, she was a popular figure. For her own remarkable achievements and her enthusiastic work with young players, she was made a life member of the Wellington and New Zealand lawn tennis associations. She was also a life member of her Thorndon club. She died in Wellington on 28 September 1956.



MARGARET HAMMER

Elenio, P. Centrecourt. Wellington, 1986

Macdonald, C. et al. , eds. The book of New Zealand women. Wellington, 1991

Obit. Evening Post. 29 Sept. 1956: 14

Rollo
Dec 21st, 2002, 06:25 AM
An ad for "the Athletic girl"


http://perso.club-internet.fr/bmarcore/tennis/publicite/beaute/deodorant-01.jpg

Rollo
Dec 22nd, 2002, 12:14 AM
An article detailing what early women had to go through to play tennis-they literally bled for tennis.

How We Got Rid of the Bloody Corsets and Other Tales of Women's Sports

Author
Delaney, Angel

Article


1887, Wimbledon's Centre Court: England's Lottie Dod races from baseline to net. Lunging, she returns her opponent's serve and, in the process, marks her place in tennis history as the youngest ever player to win a Wimbledon title. Dod, 15 years old, overwhelmed her more senior, more experienced opponents, and stunned spectators when she used the overhead smash and volley -- the first time such techniques were employed in women's tennis.

In between matches, Dod and her co-competitors retired to the dressing room to free themselves of their floor-length skirts and petticoats, peel off their stockings and unhitch their bloodied corsets. As they endeavored to twist, turn and lunge on the courts, the women were repeatedly stabbed by the metal and whalebone stays of these cumbersome garments, which encased them from tits to tush.

The corsets were so injurious that a special bar was installed above a stove in the locker room on which the contraptions could be hung to dry. Pity the poor player who forgot to bring a change of outfit: she was forced to wrap her body in the blood stiffened garment for yet another match. Not surprisingly, in outfits such as these, the pace of women's tennis, even at Wimbledon, was only as fierce as fashion dictates allowed. Regardless of the players' athletic efforts or skills, competitive matches more often resembled sedate garden parties.

It's hard for today's female athlete, raised on technically engineered sportswear designed to maximize performance and comfort, to imagine that women competed in garments so restrictive and damaging, or that tennis was once quite literally a blood sport for women.


From Lottie Dod's era, it took more than 50 years of play at Wimbledon before women felt they could appear on court sans those lethal corsets or with their legs bared. May Sutton, an American, was barred from Centre Court at Wimbledon in 1905 because her forearms were exposed and her tennis dress revealed a "flash of ankle." She lowered her hemline, lengthened her sleeves and returned to win the singles title that year. Finally, in 1933, American Alice Marble broke through the "no skin" barrier at Wimbledon by wearing shorts. She shocked the public and the press, but delighted other female players.

The decorous and often dangerous garb of these early competitors shows how pervasive a society's values can be in the face of good health and reason, to say nothing of the desire to win. Dress was intended to convey and reinforce severe Victorian standards of propriety -- this was a time, after all, when one didn't dare to mention any human body part in polite society, and even the legs of pianos were hidden under "modesty skirts." Women were weighted down by gowns that contained as much as 20-30 yards of fabric and that were worn over an additional five to ten petticoats.

Ninteenth-century female fashion dictated ridiculously tiny 18-inch waists. Women laboring to breathe in their too-tight corsets suffered swooning attacks so frequently that special "fainting couches" were strategically placed for the purpose. Such fainting attacks helped reinforce the stereotype of a frail and helpless creature unsuited to the rigors of sport. The medical opinion of the day -- that physical activity of the sporting kind would damage a woman's reproductive organs -- also held sway


The abandonment of corsets and petticoats, the rise of hemlines, and the acceptance of pants for women all had their beginnings in costumes that began in women's sportswear. By 1926, British Vogue was proclaiming: "Sport has more to do than anything else with the evolution of the modem mode." Just as tennis outfits influenced styles on and off the court, so too did the sweater filter into mainstream fashion via golf. The adoption of these new sporty styles called for a sporty figure to match. Zaftig women began to slim down, as legs and arms were bared and torsos newly outlined. The one-piece, revealing swimsuit replaced the sack-like, woolen bathing costumes of yesteryear. Acceptance and even idealization of the athletic female body in the early part of this century led to what has been called the Golden Age of Sport.

Rollo
Jan 1st, 2003, 03:28 AM
Adeline Robinson-Staten Island Club champ of New York-1887

http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/cph/3b20000/3b25000/3b25100/3b25132t.gif

Rollo
Jan 1st, 2003, 03:34 AM
Central Park in New York City-early 1890s by my guess. Note how straight the nets are, with no "dip" in the middle like today.

http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/det/4a30000/4a30000/4a30000/4a30077r.jpg

Rollo
Jan 1st, 2003, 03:41 AM
Manhasset New York, 1904


http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/det/4a10000/4a17000/4a17200/4a17228r.jpg

Rollo
Mar 5th, 2003, 07:46 PM
A bump up for the old broads:)

Rollo
Dec 20th, 2003, 04:56 PM
They started the game and served too-even if it was underhanded!

Rollo
Aug 4th, 2004, 12:40 PM
An early winner of Ojai in California (1900-1901), Miss Ruby Garland.


"Our foremost lady player. . .the daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. Arthur A. Garland of Nordhoff (Ojai). . . is a
fine specimen of the athletic girl of the day." --The Ojai, March 12, 1901

http://ojaitourney.org/rgarland.jpg

Rollo
Aug 4th, 2004, 12:46 PM
May, Florence, and Violet Sutton at the Ojai. There were 4 sisters in all, and they so dominated California that it was said that it "takes a Sutton to beat a Sutton."

The youngest Sutton was clearly the toughest though. May Sutton Bundy twice won Wimbledon (1905, 1907) and dominated the Ojai, first winning it aged 15 in 1905. Her last Ojai singles was in 1928 at the age of 38! In all she won it 12 times. http://ojaitourney.org/suttonsis.jpg

Rollo
Sep 1st, 2004, 01:06 PM
Anyone have more reports or info on this era? I've read that Tim Henman's great-grandmother was the first woman to serve overhanded at Wimbledon and his grandmother the last to serve underhanded. Not sure I got that right-but does anyone have their names?

Rollo
Nov 9th, 2004, 02:26 PM
Bump up for Brian.

RoanHJ
Jan 30th, 2005, 02:32 AM
Well, I wasn't sure where to post this, but since this thread has 1914, in its title I guess it's close enough. :lol:

In 1914, Eleanor Tennant teamed with Carmen Tarilton to win the Pacific Coast Doubles title. This was a pretty big tournament in California and I think it's Eleanor's first big title. She was nineteen years old at the time. They defeated Helen Baker and Niemeyer 8-6, 6-3. What was interesting is the tournament was played in San Jose not San Francisco. I don't know if it moved later on or what.

Btw, if you go to Corbis.com and go to their archives and type in Eleanor Tennant you can see a couple of very rare photos of her when she played on the East Coast in 1920.

Rollo
Jan 30th, 2005, 07:19 AM
Thanks for the tip Roan-gonna give corbis a look see later. I noticed when AndrewTas sent results that Tennant played in the 1925 California vs. Australia series. "Teach" won both her matches against world top tenners, quite impressive even if the Aussie gals were unused to hard courts.

Rollo
Sep 16th, 2005, 04:58 PM
Without these ladies the sport would never have made it this far.

Rollo
Sep 20th, 2005, 11:59 PM
http://bmarcore.club.fr/tennis/avant14/dublin.jpg
This is said to be a drawing from the 1879 Irish Champonships in Dublin. This was the first major event for women, the Wimbledon committee thought it wasn't proper to have women in public. The Irish led the way, for many years it was considered to be THE biggest event to win.

Note how the sidelines have a cord to separate the crowd from the players. In the very first years spectators thought notihng of shouting out things like "Hit it to her backhand!", "To the left!", etc.

Rollo
Sep 21st, 2005, 12:29 AM
Cars parked outside Wimbledon for the Ladies final in 1906-from lambert Chambers book-Lawn Tennis for Ladies.


http://www.gutenberg.org/files/10961/10961-h/images/img17.jpg

Rollo
Jan 8th, 2006, 08:05 PM
Bump up for Elegos7- a fellow poster who looks to into the prewar period.

Rollo
Jan 8th, 2006, 09:00 PM
Turn of the century tennis in Sweden


http://www.sverigestennismuseum.com/bilder/galleribilder/tennisensbarndom.jpg

Rollo
Mar 17th, 2006, 01:21 PM
High school girls in San Diego-1894





http://www.sandiegohistory.org/collections/sports/images/10871.jpg

Rollo
Mar 17th, 2006, 01:23 PM
A more "modern" San Diego team-in 1918. This was the so-called "Middy" blouse (for midshipman in the navy) look, made popular by Helen Wills in the early 1920s.


http://www.sandiegohistory.org/collections/sports/images/ut-7867.jpg

Rollo
Jun 5th, 2007, 12:07 AM
Picture date and event unknown-but the woman on the right is Hazel Wightman-founder of the Wightman Cup and US Nationals champ 1909-12.

http://www.tenispontenova.hpg.ig.com.br/histor9.jpg

wta_zuperfann
Jun 5th, 2007, 04:09 AM
Fabulous photos --- more, PLEASE!!

wta_zuperfann
Jun 16th, 2007, 06:33 PM
No more pics???

OK, here's one:

http://www.curtispublishing.com/images/NonRockwell/9320820.jpg

wta_zuperfann
Jun 16th, 2007, 06:34 PM
another:

http://www.curtispublishing.com/images/NonRockwell/19250627.jpg

wta_zuperfann
Jun 16th, 2007, 06:36 PM
and another:

http://www.virginiasportshalloffame.com/images/hof_induct/mcbride.jpg


Penelope McBride!



... will check for more pre-1914 pics

wta_zuperfann
Jun 16th, 2007, 06:40 PM
here's one:

http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~ulrich/femhist/tennis.jpg

wta_zuperfann
Jun 17th, 2007, 01:14 PM
another vintage tennis beauty:

http://www.antiqueathlete.com/tennis-print-harrison.jpg

wta_zuperfann
Jun 17th, 2007, 01:19 PM
and another vintage tennis beauty:

http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/sports/images/miscellaneous/tennis-spaulding.JPG

OrdinaryfoolisNJ
Jun 20th, 2007, 01:40 AM
The match scores were: 6-3 5-7 6-4 2-6 7-5.

This is a total of 26 games for Miss Atkinson and 25 games for Miss Jones. The point total was 185 points for Miss Jones to 177 for Miss Atkinson.



I have tennis history books, but I only look at the photos from the early game. I had no idea that the "ladies" used to play 5 sets!

p.s. I like reading about the story about "Chatty" Cooper

Rollo
Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:59 PM
I have tennis history books, but I only look at the photos from the early game. I had no idea that the "ladies" used to play 5 sets!

p.s. I like reading about the story about "Chatty" Cooper

I did too. She was really the first woman to volley on a regular basis. I found this article today-it's 1905 in Pasadena.

http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/05.07.html#Tennis

From the Los Angeles Daily Times, July 5, 1905 NEW STAR IN FIRMAMENT.

Miss Peralta Shining Among Tennis Experts.


For the second day of the Ocean Park tennis tourney, society was out in fluffy white, and bunches of pretty dames watched with ever-increasing interest the excellent work of the contestants, most of whom were on their mettle and in fine form.
The Country Club grounds were graced with a pleasing array of beauty, and a feature of the sport this year is the number of young women seen for the first time in a tournament.
Though several of the old stars are missed and the places of May Sutton (http://www.google.com/search?as_q=+tennis&num=10&hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&btnG=Google+Search&as_epq=May+Sutton+&as_oq=&as_eq=&lr=&as_ft=i&as_filetype=&as_qdr=all&as_occt=any&as_dt=i&as_sitesearch=&safe=images), Alphonso Bel (http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=lang_en%7Clang_fr&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22Alphonso+Bell%22+%22Los+Angeles%22+-congressman+-republican+-congressmen&btnG=Google+Search)l and Trow Hendricks (http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=lang_en%7Clang_fr&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22trowbridge+hendricks%22&btnG=Google+Search) are hard to fill, the management is conducting a series of games that is claiming the attention of expert racket men. . . .
The ladies’ singles have been far more interesting than in former years, and though the Sutton girls will undoubtedly take the first honors as they have done in previous contests, the playing of several of the coming stars among the pretty dames has made the Pasadena girls look carefully to their laurels.

http://www.ulwaf.com/Site-Images/TennisGirl.gif
Eleanor Peralta, a typical tennis girl with a wealth of dark hair that somehow stays becomingly in place in spite of the many twists and curves of the game, has won honor in the ladies’ lists by successfully retiring all comers. Her graceful racket has earned for her a second place to Florence and Violet Sutton, who will today decide first honors. . . .
The style of this young player is distinctly her own and, while not so rapid as the Sutton sisters, her serve is strong and her net work is superior to that of most of the local talent in her class. . . .

Lynne Emery writes in “From Social Pastime to Serious Sport: Women’s Tennis in Southern California in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries,” The Californian, 8, No. 4 (November-December, 1990), 38-42:Prior to the turn of the century, tennis was primarily a pastime of upper-class socially prominent leaders. In Southern California the few tournaments held were connected with large resort hotels and the teas, social gatherings and victory balls were as important as the matches.


Emerging from this social milieu were several young women with exceptional tennis skills including Violet, Ethel, Florence, and May Sutton, Elizabeth Ryan and Mary K. Browne. With the arrival of these athletes, tennis changed from a game of little friendly courtesies between “pretty” and “nice” contenders to a major event reported on the sports pages rather than society sections of local newspapers.


This change was due to the combination of socio-cultural factors and the athletic abilities of Southern California’s outstanding women players.

Rollo
May 17th, 2008, 12:30 AM
Ladies playing tennis at Buxton (Derbyshire) in the 1880s

http://www.youandyesterday.co.uk/images/thumb/5/59/Buxtonfrancisfrith1889.jpg/400px-Buxtonfrancisfrith1889.jpg (http://www.youandyesterday.co.uk/articles/Image:Buxtonfrancisfrith1889.jpg)

Sumarokov-Elston
May 17th, 2008, 06:13 AM
Emerging from this social milieu were several young women with exceptional tennis skills including Violet, Ethel, Florence, and May Sutton, Elizabeth Ryan and Mary K. Browne. With the arrival of these athletes, tennis changed from a game of little friendly courtesies between “pretty” and “nice” contenders to a major event reported on the sports pages rather than society sections of local newspapers.


I read something I didn't know - Elizabeth Ryan won the Russian Lawn Tennis Ladies' Singles Championships in 1914.

trivfun
May 22nd, 2008, 12:48 AM
http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/pineneedles/ill179.html

Here is one from the North Carolina College for Women (now UNC-Greensboro) in 1921 in their Pine Needles yearbook.

Rollo
Jul 17th, 2009, 02:30 PM
Bump up.

Here is a bio of unhearalded Kate Nunneley. Her 13 national singles titles may very well be a record for winniing one event. She beat Wimbledon champ Blanche hillyard in 1893 before emigrating to New Zealand.

http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/DNZB/alt_essayBody.asp?essayID=3N13


Nunneley, Kathleen Mary 1872 - 1956
Tennis player, librarian Kathleen Mary Nunneley was born on 16 September 1872 at Little Bowden, Leicestershire, England, the daughter of John Alexander Nunneley, a wholesale grocer, and his wife, Kate Young. She began her tennis career at a young age, winning several championship events before she had turned 15. In 1891 she won the Brighton handicap singles title and in 1893 recorded victories in tournaments at Liverpool, Leicester, Nottingham, Northampton and Wellingborough. Although she never competed in the All England championship, Nunneley defeated the reigning Wimbledon champion, Blanche Hillyard. Her father committed suicide in 1893 and in 1894 she emigrated to New Zealand with her mother, three brothers and a sister, arriving on the Kaikoura at Wellington on 7 December.
Shortly after settling in central Wellington, Kathleen (known as Kate) Nunneley joined the Thorndon Lawn Tennis Club. In December 1895 she took part in her first New Zealand Lawn Tennis Association tournament. On winning both the ladies' singles and doubles titles, she was selected to represent New Zealand at the New South Wales championships in 1896, where she played with characteristic style to win both the ladies' championship and handicap singles titles.
Possessed of a powerful forehand drive and a keenly competitive spirit, Kate Nunneley did much to improve the standard of women's tennis in New Zealand. Despite being severely handicapped by the dress requirements of the day, she was an energetic competitor who enjoyed playing and practising regularly against men. She won 13 national singles titles - more than any other man or woman in the history of New Zealand tennis - in an unbroken run from 1895 to 1907. She also won 10 national doubles titles and nine national mixed doubles titles, twice with the champion player Anthony Wilding, and was a leading member of the New Zealand women's tennis team which made a triumphant tour of New South Wales in 1909.
By the time she visited England at the end of the First World War Nunneley had given up top-level competition, but tennis remained her ruling passion. Her generosity to the game was manifested by her decision to have the gold medals she had won at national tournaments made into a trophy for the New Zealand Lawn Tennis Association. This gift, the Nunneley Casket, was presented in 1928 and subsequently awarded each year to the winning team in the interprovincial women's tennis competition.
Away from tennis Kate Nunneley lived the life of an independent woman. She never married and for 30 years she enjoyed a successful career as a librarian, retiring from her position as assistant in charge of the reference department at the Wellington Public Library in 1935.
Continuing her love affair with tennis, Kate Nunneley returned to England to see the Wimbledon tennis tournament in both 1949 and 1953. Known for her charm, modesty and good sportsmanship, she was a popular figure. For her own remarkable achievements and her enthusiastic work with young players, she was made a life member of the Wellington and New Zealand lawn tennis associations. She was also a life member of her Thorndon club. She died in Wellington on 28 September 1956.

MARGARET HAMMER

Elenio, P. Centrecourt. Wellington, 1986
Macdonald, C. et al. , eds. The book of New Zealand women. Wellington, 1991
Obit. Evening Post. 29 Sept. 1956: 14

Rollo
Jul 17th, 2009, 02:33 PM
Kate in action

http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/images/N077_4nunneley.jpg

iainmac
Jul 18th, 2009, 01:58 PM
Kate in action

http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/images/N077_4nunneley.jpg

Great image there Rollo.:)

Rollo
Nov 11th, 2009, 04:37 AM
A view of the US Women's Nationals when it was still held in Philadelphia. The site still exists as a boy's school

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=101145&t=w (http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=135915&imageID=101145&total=189&num=20&word=tennis&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&imgs=20&pos=23&e=r)

Rollo
Nov 11th, 2009, 04:41 AM
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman and Molla Mallory c 1915 -this was the year the Nordic Iron Maiden Mola Bjurstedt (later Mallory) shocked all by storming to title after title. She had seemingly appeared out of nowhere, entering the US Indoors in March. She is listed as a maseuse in more than one instance!

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=405566&t=w (http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=208085&imageID=405566&total=189&num=0&word=tennis&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&imgs=20&pos=6&e=r)

Rollo
Nov 11th, 2009, 04:42 AM
http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=405559&t=w

After being eclipsed by Molla Mrs Wightman was still able to win the US nationals in 1919, when Molla was upset by Marion Jessup. Some suggested Hazel got her revenge on Molla by training Helen Wills to beat Molla. Mallory's dark looks make one wonder if she was of Lapp origin. She favored dark tops and a page boy hair cut. This pic may be from 1921. I base the date on the background of this picture. The large stadium in the background looks like the bowl at Forest Hills. The women first played there in 1921.

Rollo
Nov 11th, 2009, 05:04 AM
Elizabeth "Bessie" Moore was a stalwart of the early 1900s. She won the US nationals in 1896, 1901, 1903, 1905

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=101138&t=w



A softer looking pic from the Hall of Fame site:

http://www.tennisfame.com/HOFPics/Moore,%20Elisabeth%202.jpg



From the Hall of Fame bio

In 1901, she beat Marion Jones in the all-comers final, 4-6, 1-6, 9-7, 9-7, 6-3 (58 games, the longest of all major women's finals), then defender Myrtle McAteer in the challenge round, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, to become the lone woman to play five-set matches on successive days.

The 105 games alarmed the men who ran the USTA. They decreed best-of-three-set finals thereafter. Moore and the other women hadn't complained about five-set matches and she said they felt "dissatisfied" by the decision and patronized by the male establishment. Moore a right-hander, was born March 5, 1876, in Brooklyn, NY, and died January 22, 1959, in Starke, FL. She was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.In 1901, she beat Marion Jones in the all-comers final, 4-6, 1-6, 9-7, 9-7, 6-3 (58 games, the longest of all major women's finals), then defender Myrtle McAteer in the challenge round, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, to become the lone woman to play five-set matches on successive days.

The 105 games alarmed the men who ran the USTA. They decreed best-of-three-set finals thereafter. Moore and the other women hadn't complained about five-set matches and she said they felt "dissatisfied" by the decision and patronized by the male establishment. Moore a right-hander, was born March 5, 1876, in Brooklyn, NY, and died January 22, 1959, in Starke, FL. She was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Rollo
Nov 11th, 2009, 05:12 AM
Mary Browne "Brownie", won the US nationals 3 years running from 1912 to 1914. I count ten large buttons on her skirt here! This is a gem of a photo IMO.

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=101142&t=w

iainmac
Nov 11th, 2009, 11:19 AM
A view of the US Women's Nationals when it was still held in Philadelphia. The site still exists as a boy's school

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=101145&t=w (http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=135915&imageID=101145&total=189&num=20&word=tennis&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&imgs=20&pos=23&e=r)

Great photo Rollo- and I am well impressed by the size of the crowds!!!!!

iainmac
Nov 11th, 2009, 11:22 AM
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman and Molla Mallory c 1915 -this was the year the Nordic Iron Maiden Mola Bjurstedt (later Mallory) shocked all by storming to title after title. She had seemingly appeared out of nowhere, entering the US Indoors in March. She is listed as a maseuse in more than one instance!

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=405566&t=w (http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=208085&imageID=405566&total=189&num=0&word=tennis&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&imgs=20&pos=6&e=r)

Great stuff Rollo.:worship It would be interesting to know how Wightman felt about Bjurstedt when she arrived in the United States? I mean she was such a young girl from a country with no tennis pedigree( and still none, much as I love Norway). It must have been quite a readjustment for the American players.

iainmac
Nov 11th, 2009, 11:25 AM
http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=405559&t=w

After being eclipsed by Molla Mrs Wightman was still able to win the US nationals in 1919, when Molla was upset by Marion Jessup. Some suggested Hazel got her revenge on Molla by training Helen Wills to beat Molla. Mallory's dark looks make one wonder if she was of Lapp origin. She favored dark tops and a page boy hair cut. This pic may be from 1921. I base the date on the background of this picture. The large stadium in the background looks like the bowl at Forest Hills. The women first played there in 1921.

Rollo:wavey:Champions never change in their levels of intensity do they? She has that same fierce look of non comprimising that is familiar with the Williams today. I have spent a lot of time in Finland and I am almost certain there is some Sami blood in Mallory. I have an ex partner who was from reindeer country in Finland and his facial structure was not dissimilar to Mollas. Wightman was a remarkable player but I am sure a bad enemy to have. I purchased a book about her at the Hall of Fame recently and look forward to reading same.

iainmac
Nov 11th, 2009, 11:28 AM
Elizabeth "Bessie" Moore was a stalwart of the early 1900s. She won the US nationals in 1896, 1901, 1903, 1905

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=101138&t=w



A softer looking pic from the Hall of Fame site:

http://www.tennisfame.com/HOFPics/Moore,%20Elisabeth%202.jpg



From the Hall of Fame bio

In 1901, she beat Marion Jones in the all-comers final, 4-6, 1-6, 9-7, 9-7, 6-3 (58 games, the longest of all major women's finals), then defender Myrtle McAteer in the challenge round, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, to become the lone woman to play five-set matches on successive days.

The 105 games alarmed the men who ran the USTA. They decreed best-of-three-set finals thereafter. Moore and the other women hadn't complained about five-set matches and she said they felt "dissatisfied" by the decision and patronized by the male establishment. Moore a right-hander, was born March 5, 1876, in Brooklyn, NY, and died January 22, 1959, in Starke, FL. She was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.In 1901, she beat Marion Jones in the all-comers final, 4-6, 1-6, 9-7, 9-7, 6-3 (58 games, the longest of all major women's finals), then defender Myrtle McAteer in the challenge round, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, to become the lone woman to play five-set matches on successive days.

The 105 games alarmed the men who ran the USTA. They decreed best-of-three-set finals thereafter. Moore and the other women hadn't complained about five-set matches and she said they felt "dissatisfied" by the decision and patronized by the male establishment. Moore a right-hander, was born March 5, 1876, in Brooklyn, NY, and died January 22, 1959, in Starke, FL. She was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Very interesting Rollo.

iainmac
Nov 11th, 2009, 11:29 AM
Mary Browne "Brownie", won the US nationals 3 years running from 1912 to 1914. I count ten large buttons on her skirt here! This is a gem of a photo IMO.

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=101142&t=w

It is a great photo- what a great poise and a look of strained determination!!!!!

Rollo
Nov 18th, 2009, 07:15 PM
Glad you enjoyed the pics Iain. Searching about for info on early women players I came across this account that is part of the birth of tennis as we know it. Mary Gray of Bermuda won one of the first women's events ever held in 1986. This is from a Christie's auction in 2001-Mary's prize racquet went for 14,000 pounds!


http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?pos=1&intObjectID=2086876&sid=


Lot Description
AN EARLY TILT-HEADED LAWN TENNIS RACKET, c.1875, by Henry Mallings of Frances Street, Wollwich, with ash head and walnut convex wedge, original natural gut strings and natural gut trebling, later velvet grip, silver-plated plaque inscribed Ladies prize for Lawn Tennis won by Miss M.G. Gray, Bermuda 1876

Special Notice
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Pre-Lot Text
THE PROPERTY OF MARY GRAY OF CLERMONT HOUSE, PAGET, BERMUDA AND BY DIRECT DESCENT
Literature
TODD,T., The Tennis Players, From Pagan Rites to Strawberries and Cream, Gurnsey: Vallancey, 1979, p. 164.
American Lawn Tennis, 'A Bermuda Tournament in 1876', Mary Gray, 15 September, 1924, p.534.

Post-Lot Text
This early lawn tennis racket was probably made by Henry Mallings c.1875 due to the fact that it was presented to Miss Gray as the winner of the Ladies' Singles at the Bermuda Tennis tournament in 1876, pre-dating the Wimbledon tournament by one year.

Mary Gray was born in Bermuda and lived at 'Clermont', Paget, the Gray's family home (see fig.2) where she played tennis on an improvised court and became a very enthusiastic player. Since children were not supposed to take part in games with any other adults, Mary found herself a partner of her own age to play against, a Miss Wood who was the daughter of the Chief Justice Mr. T.L. Wood. The pair played on the narrow 'court' using 'bats' made of wood and uncovered balls.

The first official sets of Lawn Tennis in Bermuda are said to have been provided to the English Army who were stationed on the island (Fifty Years of Lawn Tennis in the United States, published for the American Lawn Tennis Association, New York, 1931, p.13). In 1873, it is said that whilst the 20th Regiment stopped over in Bermuda, a military friend of the Gray family taught Mary the "new" method of scoring.

The revised game of Lawn Tennis is said to have eventually found its way over to America from Bermuda when Mary Outerbridge took the inital and infamous first set, of which the whereabouts remains unknown, to the United States when she sailed on the S.S. Canima from Bermuda in late January 1874. The transfer of the rackets from Bermuda to America is recorded by E.H. Outerbridge in a letter to the American Lawn Tennis Association - 'To the best of my knowledge and belief it was in the spring of 1874 that my sister, Mary Ewing Outerbridge, brought from Bermuda a lawn tennis net, rackets and balls which she had obtained from the regimental stores through the courtesy of the colonel or some of the officers with whom she had played a game there'. Mary Outerbridge promptly set up the first tennis court on the grounds of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club through her brother Emilius Outerbridge. Although Major Clopton Wingfield did not patent his game until February 1874, the game was already being played at Leamington Spa in 1872, whilst rectangular courts, and not Wingfield's hour-glass shaped court, were being used in Bermuda at this time (Fifty Years of Lawn Tennis in the United States, published for the American Lawn Tennis Association, New York, 1931, p.13).

In an article she wrote for American Lawn Tennis ('A Bermuda Tournament', 15 September 1924, p.534) Mary Gray explained how she came to play with one of the first private sets to have been brought over in 1875 by 'An elderly gentleman in Bermuda [said to be a Mr. Middleton who visited Britain in 1873] who saw the game advertised and sent to England for a set of net, poles, racquets, etc. On it's arrival he was so horrified at the idea of ladies playing such an undignified game that in order to prevent his equally elderly wife from attempting to take it up he decided to dispose of the whole concern - thus it came into our possession and the ball was started rolling in Berumda.' The set was in fact given to Sir Brownlow Gray, Mary's father by Mr. Middleton and although Gray himself was never an active participant in the game, Mary and Miss Wood were so enthusiastic that they were largely responsible for the game's growth in popularity in Bermuda and their games are recorded in a diary kept by Miss Gray (Todd, T., The Tennis Players, from Pagan Rites to Strawberries and Cream, Gurnsey: Vallancey, 1979, p.164). Mr. Wood even had a further set of racquets made for them and built a court at his home, "Dudley".

It is also likely, however, that Mary was introduced to the game by her brother Sir Reginald Gray, who who was one four gentlemen to have played the first game of lawn tennis at Wimbledon in 1874 and was also the 1874 World Croquet Champion. It is very probable that he brought a set back with him on his return from studying for the Bar at the Inner Temple in that year (Todd, T., The Tennis Players, ibid, 1979, p.164).

The first tennis tournament in Bermuda was organised a year later in 1876 at Admiralty House. Reginald Gray, pleaded that his sister should participate in the Ladies' Singles competition. There were only three entrants including Mary's sister Bessie and Rose Key, with Mary winning the tournament and defeating Miss Key in the final 2-0. Mary Gray noted -- 'The prize was the raquet which I still have: it weighs 9 ounces, the face measuring 8 x 10 inches and the handle sixteen inches. It had a red velvet handle covering (which I promptly tore off) and an inscription on a silver plate...which contains the following inscription "Ladies Prize for Lawn Tennis won by Miss M. Gray Bermuda 1876" (American Lawn Tennis, ibid, 1924, p.534).

It was not until 1880 that the next Ladies' Singles tournament in Bermuda took place. This was then followed by a memorable visit from America by Miss Ellie and Miss Grace Roosevelt in 1889. In that year the first American Tennis Club, the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association, was founded and the Roosevelts were amongst the first players to visit Bermuda. Ellie had become the American Ladies' Champion of that year and both sisters had won the Ladies' Doubles title the previous year. Mary Gray along with a Mrs. Erskine played against the sisters in the Ladies' Doubles Final, losing 2-1, and Mary then played Grace Roosevelt in the Ladies' Singles final, defeating the champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

It is not known whether Miss Gray herself ever played with the racket. The fact that shortly after recieving it she then removed the velvet grip, suggests that she may well have used it in further matches. The racket, nonetheless, holds an extremely important place in tennis history, not only in Bermuda or as a Ladies' Trophy, but in the International development of the game and as the earliest known trophy of its kind.

iainmac
Nov 19th, 2009, 10:05 AM
That was truly great to read Rollo- thanks ever so much!!!

Londonguy
Nov 20th, 2009, 10:40 PM
Very nice posts and thanks for putting the thread up.

I always enjoy reading about Charlotte Cooper-Sterry, one of the first aggresive players to play the game and also one of the first (if not the first) at Wimbledon to server overhead. Definitely, a player to be admired.

Just a minor correction or maybe I'm just reading it the wrong way, but I don't believe Maud Watson was Irish. The author might be confusing her with Helena Rice, the first non-British winner at Wimbledon. But I'm not sure if she was a contemporary of Sterry's. Her Wimbledon title came five years before Sterry won her first.

Hi Zummi

Re Maud Watson,you are absolutely right - she wasn't Irish. Maud and her sister Lilian hailed from Berkswell in Warwickshire,England.

It is amazing to think too that in 1935,when Helen Wills Moody was staying at Great Fosters Hotel at Egham during Wimbledon, who should also be staying there but Maud Watson and Mrs Moody was able to ask her all about her tennis career - lucky lady !!! :)

Londonguy
Nov 20th, 2009, 10:56 PM
Anyone have more reports or info on this era? I've read that Tim Henman's great-grandmother was the first woman to serve overhanded at Wimbledon and his grandmother the last to serve underhanded. Not sure I got that right-but does anyone have their names?

I love this thread Rollo - thanks so much for starting it and for the wonderful photos from those early years of tennis. :)

I can answer one of your questions above - Tim Henman's great grandmother was called Ellen Stawell-Brown and she played tennis in the Edwardian era, being a contemporary of Mrs Lambert Chambers. I don't really have any details of her tennis career - the only mention that I can find of her in tournament play in the books that I have is that she played Mrs Chambers in the Eastbourne tournament of 1904, a match which Mrs Chambers won 6/4 6/1. I am fairly sure that it is Ellen Stawell-Brown who may have been the first lady to serve overhand - certainly, Mrs Chambers served underhand throughout her career, I'm think I am correct in saying.

iainmac
Nov 24th, 2009, 10:08 AM
Hi Zummi

Re Maud Watson,you are absolutely right - she wasn't Irish. Maud and her sister Lilian hailed from Berkswell in Warwickshire,England.

It is amazing to think too that in 1935,when Helen Wills Moody was staying at Great Fosters Hotel at Egham during Wimbledon, who should also be staying there but Maud Watson and Mrs Moody was able to ask her all about her tennis career - lucky lady !!! :)

What a fantastic meeting that would have been. Moody was probably so respectful and amazed to meet the first great womens champion. On another issue, at the time Helena Rice would have been considered British???? Ireland shockingly part of Britain at this time. May Sutton therefore the first non British isles winner.

iainmac
Nov 24th, 2009, 10:13 AM
I love this thread Rollo - thanks so much for starting it and for the wonderful photos from those early years of tennis. :)

I can answer one of your questions above - Tim Henman's great grandmother was called Ellen Stawell-Brown and she played tennis in the Edwardian era, being a contemporary of Mrs Lambert Chambers. I don't really have any details of her tennis career - the only mention that I can find of her in tournament play in the books that I have is that she played Mrs Chambers in the Eastbourne tournament of 1904, a match which Mrs Chambers won 6/4 6/1. I am fairly sure that it is Ellen Stawell-Brown who may have been the first lady to serve overhand - certainly, Mrs Chambers served underhand throughout her career, I'm think I am correct in saying.

Graham she certainly gave Chambers a run for her money in that first set-impressive.Eastbourne at one time was considered to be as big a tournament as there was in the world. It might be timely for Devonshire Park to consider a museum down there. After all it has a wonderful history- the great tournaments of the Victorian era, the Davis and Federation Cup matches there, the great womens event that has sadly declined in recent years and, not to be forgotten, the junior championships and the inter county cup!!!!!

Rollo
Oct 27th, 2010, 12:18 AM
May Sutton Bundy in 1912. Considered by many to be the best of the pre-1914 era, she only entered 4 "slams" in her prime-the 1904 US Championships and Wimbledon from 1905-1907. She won 3 of those 4 events. Travel was tough in this era, but May also passed up the chance to play the US Nationals several times. It was rumoured that minor events gave gave her better playing conditions, hinting they paid expenses.

Childbirth also interupted her career from around 1912 (the time of this picture) until the early 1920s.

Here she is from 1912


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/May_Sutton1.jpg

Rollo
Oct 27th, 2010, 12:23 AM
May's short skirts shocked many in this era. Much like the British player Lottie Dod she was forgiven her attire due to her youth. The bow was a trademark-as was her vicious forehand. Sutton ran around her backhand at every opportunity and often hit herslef in the back on the follow through.

This looks like a defenisve backhand. Note she is holding a ball.

http://luirig.altervista.org/cpm/albums/bain-04/01811-May-Sutton--tennis-.jpg

Rollo
Apr 2nd, 2011, 04:53 AM
Edith Hannam (28 November 1878 – 16 January 1951) was a female player from Great Britain.

She was born in Margaret Edith Boucher in Bristol, England. Edith Boucher came from a prominent Gloucestershire family and her four brothers were all notable sportsmen in the area.

In May 1909 she married Francis Hannam. The newlyweds married settled in Canada where her husband pursued his business interests as a timber merchant. This gave Edith trhe chance to compete in the United States, where she won the Cincinnatti Tri-State event in 1909.

The Hannams returned to Canada by 1911.

Hannam was also the All-Comer's finalist at Wimbledon in 1911.

The highlight of her tennis carrer came at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm in the Indoor event and won two gold medals. Edith won the singles gold over Sophie Castenschiold of Denamark. She also captured the mixed with Charles Dixon. There was no women's doubles at the Olympics until 1912.

In 1914 Edith was a doubles finalist with Ethel Larcombe at Wimbledon. This was just weeks before the "Great War", a conflict that took her husband's life. Francis was killed in action in 1916 when serving as a captain in the Gloucestershire Regiment.

Hannam played on into the 1920s, but at forty plus her salad days were before the Great War. Edith became an outstanding figure at the Welsh Championships, winning a record total of ten titles between 1912 and 1923. She was aged 43 when she won her last singels title there.

This is the bare bones account we have of a pioneer of the game. If anyone has more information we would be welcome to hear of it.



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/1912_Edith_Hannam.JPG

austinrunner
Jul 20th, 2011, 09:48 AM
Since we've been working on the pre-1915 results threads .... BUMP.

Rollo
Nov 12th, 2011, 05:41 PM
Here is a picture of the 1909 New Zealand women's team. They returned from a triumphal tour of Australia, where Lucy Powdrell won the New South Wales title.

http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/image/?imageId=images-44657&profile=access


Standing: Miss Eva Travers, Miss Lucy Wellwood, George N Goldie (Manager), Miss Lucy Powdrell, Miss Kathleen Mary Nunneley, Mrs G Goldie (Chaperone), Miss Annie Gray. Seated: Miss Alice Ward (later Mrs A J Fernie).

*Note there is a web source dating this picture to 1906-it is, in fact, 1909.

austinrunner
Nov 26th, 2011, 07:42 AM
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b69176271/f1.highres
Marguerite Broquedis Billout Bordes, 13 October 1911.

austinrunner
Nov 26th, 2011, 07:47 AM
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6918127m/f1.highres
Final of the 1912 World Hard Court Championships, Stade Francis, Paris. Marguerite Broquedis Billout Bordes defeated Magdalene Rieck Galvao 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

austinrunner
Nov 26th, 2011, 07:52 AM
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6918111r/f1.highres
Magdalene Rieck Galvao

austinrunner
Nov 26th, 2011, 07:58 AM
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6924198q/f1.highres
The board courts of the Tennis Club de Paris, 91 boulevard Exelmans (circa 1913). It appears from a street level view at Google Maps that the club no longer exists.

austinrunner
Nov 26th, 2011, 08:35 AM
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6930067v/f1.highres
Suzanne Lenglen and Elizabeth Ryan at the 1914 World Hard Court Championships.

austinrunner
Nov 26th, 2011, 08:37 AM
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6925505r/f1.highres
Elizabeth Ryan at the 1913 World Hard Court Championships.

Rollo
Apr 4th, 2012, 05:14 PM
1908 winners of the Brisbane Metropolitan event. note in the captions below the picture how important handicp events were at the time.

http://bishop.slq.qld.gov.au/webclient/StreamGate?folder_id=200&dvs=1333559629238~907



Back row: K. H. Thompson (second prize mixed doubles with Miss A. Morley); C.V. Williams and B. Handyside (runners up in the gentleman's doubles); Reverend H. Denny (winner of the single handicap). Front row: Mr. T Suess (winner of B and C double handicap and gentleman's double handicap with Mr. McGregor); Miss Reeve (second prize ladies double handicap with Miss Crowther); Mr. C. N. St. John (winner of the metropolitan single championship and Courier Cup); Miss Crowther (second prize in the ladies double handicap with Miss Reeve); Mr. T. Handy (winner of the first prize mixed handicap with Miss Larard.) (Description supplied with photograph

Rollo
Feb 27th, 2013, 07:18 PM
Found this on wikicommons. To me this is a beautuful photo that reeks of atmosphere.

1912 Olympic Indoor event:
Edith Hannam (Serving) and Charles Dixon vs. Helen Aitchison (returning) and Herbert Roper Barrett
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Tennis_at_the_1912_olympics%2C_indoors_mixed_final s.jpg/640px-Tennis_at_the_1912_olympics%2C_indoors_mixed_final s.jpg

Sam L
Mar 6th, 2013, 09:54 AM
Found this on wikicommons. To me this is a beautuful photo that reeks of atmosphere.

1912 Olympic Indoor event:
Edith Hannam (Serving) and Charles Dixon vs. Helen Aitchison (returning) and Herbert Roper Barrett
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Tennis_at_the_1912_olympics%2C_indoors_mixed_final s.jpg/640px-Tennis_at_the_1912_olympics%2C_indoors_mixed_final s.jpg

Thanks Rollo. I've never seen this before. This almost looks like a real tennis match the way the building is and having the spectators on the side.

Rollo
Mar 27th, 2014, 09:08 PM
A well preserved tennis dress from the 1880s to 1890s at the Powerhouse Museum in Australia.

http://images.powerhousemuseum.com/images/zoomify/TLF_mediums/162975.jpg

A zoomable photo and excellent description are at:

http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=245840&search=Tennis&images=&c=&s=1

This two piece tennis ensemble, comprising a tunic jacket and ankle length skirt, is a well-preserved example of the type of tennis costume worn by women in the late 19th century. At this time, tennis dresses were more likened to walking dresses, worn with black stockings, gloves, laced shoes with heels and a hat. Although the dress may appear to have little consideration for function and practicality by modern standards, the skirt in this piece is actually fitted with eyelets and hooks for folding the bottom up when playing. Some dresses also featured sewn-in pockets and aprons for holding the racquet and balls. As opposed to fashionable dress, the bodice in this ensemble is also unboned and the skirt features large box pleats which allows for more vigorous movement.

Tennis only started to be played by women as late as the 1870s, after Major Wingfield patented the modern tennis court in 1873, and the sport became fashionable alongside other recreational pursuits like cycling and riding. This particular style of tennis dress with an ankle length skirt was popular until 1910 when garments became lighter and less restrictive. The short skirt, however, did not formally appear until 10 years later when French tennis player, Suzanne Lenglen, appeared on the courts at Wimbledon, not only with a short white skirt, but also a tight fitting top, fur coat and make-up! Her attire was described by American tennis player, Bill Tilden, as "a cross between a prima donna and a streetwalker"!

It is rare to find such beautifully preserved examples of late 19th century tennis costume as this. It complements other closely dated tennis items in the Museum's collection, such as a pair of tennis shoes from 1886 and photographs from 1850-1900, and provides a nice contrast with a 21st century women's tennis outfit in the collection designed and made by Puma in 2002.

Rollo
Mar 27th, 2014, 09:17 PM
Shoes from the same era

http://images.powerhousemuseum.com/images/zoomify/TLF_mediums/209225.jpg

At website: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=239756&search=Tennis&images=&c=&s=1

Description
Tennis shoes, pair, womens, leather / rubber, made by Joseph Box, exhibition work, London, England, 1886

Pair of womens Oxford style front lace tennis shoes with red covered rand construction, narrow oval toe and covered spring wedge heel. Shoes consist of tan Morocco uppers featuring winged vamp, closed tab, stitched over front lacing, 5 pairs of buttonholed lace eyelets with red laces in inverted V pattern over tongue with rounded top, red flared backstrap and red top edge bound. Throat features a row of scalloped stitches. Shoes lined in white kid and the sock is also in white kid. Heel covered in Morocco and rubber sole continues under the heel.[LEFT][COLOR=#000000]
Read more:

Rollo
Aug 4th, 2014, 02:52 AM
Artist: John Lavery

A Tennis Party.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_cZqnXhH-DU0/TStlbHPaQfI/AAAAAAAAAWc/-X9e97HUT3I/s1600/Lavery+Tennis+Party.jpg