Long skirts and bowler hats-Pioneers til 1914 - Page 2 - TennisForum.com
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Old Sep 14th, 2002, 07:43 AM   #16
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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

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Old Dec 21st, 2002, 07:07 AM   #17
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New Zealand's greatest female ever-Kate Nunneley






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
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Old Dec 21st, 2002, 07:25 AM   #18
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An ad for "the Athletic girl"


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Old Dec 22nd, 2002, 01:14 AM   #19
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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.
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Old Jan 1st, 2003, 04:28 AM   #20
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Adeline Robinson-Staten Island Club champ of New York-1887

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Old Jan 1st, 2003, 04:34 AM   #21
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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.

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Old Jan 1st, 2003, 04:41 AM   #22
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Manhasset New York, 1904


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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 08:46 PM   #23
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A bump up for the old broads
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Old Dec 20th, 2003, 05:56 PM   #24
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They started the game and served too-even if it was underhanded!
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 01:40 PM   #25
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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
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Old Aug 4th, 2004, 01:46 PM   #26
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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.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 02:06 PM   #27
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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?
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Old Nov 9th, 2004, 03:26 PM   #28
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Bump up for Brian.
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 03:32 AM   #29
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Well, I wasn't sure where to post this, but since this thread has 1914, in its title I guess it's close enough.

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.
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 08:19 AM   #30
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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.
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