COVER-RAMSEY, IVY (nee Ivy Cover)
Born 07 March 1921 Jamaica
Still alive August 2015 and living at Brentwood New York.
Married (1) Alva Pagiel Ramsey (1906-1994) on 12 September 1938 in St Andrew, Jamaica. Divorced by 1954 as article refers to him as "former husband".
Married (2) Stanley Rosenthal. Deceased by 2015.
[Active from at least 1938 to 1955]
Won Jamaican Championships 1947-1952.
3 time ATA New York State champion (1953 and ????)
ATA Connecticut State winner.
Born Ivy Cover, her family name was pronounced "Coo-ver" or "Cool-ver." Years later her name was incorrectly given as Culver as a result of how her name sounded.
Ivy began tennis at abut age 14 after other sports, including track and equestrianism. She represented Jamaica in Barranquilla at the 1946 Latin American Games.
Ivy used a Western grip on her powerful forehand, which allowed her to hit with topspin with ease. This was unusual in an era when most women used the Eastern grip.
In 1938 she wed her tennis coach Alva Paigel Ramsay.
From 'The Daily Gleaner', Monday 12th September 1938:
"Lawn Tennis. Comparatively, this sport experienced another dormant, if not silent week, yet there was one notable feature of the week on which, I am sure, all exponents of the game will offer their sincere congratulations. I refer to the marriage of Miss Ivy Cover, 1938 girl champion, to her tennis coach and mentor, Mr [Alva Pagiel] Ramsay, which took place on Wednesday afternoon last.
"The 'World of Sport' adds its personal congratulations to this popular couple, and now that our girl champion has selected a partner we hope, not as in the past to see her alone on the courts battling single-handed her way to victory, but in the company of her 'better half'."
In 1948 Ivy and her husband had started the magazine "West Indian Sportsman". She was the mother of two and divorced by 1953. The children stayed with her mother for most of the 1950s. From this time she adopted the name Cover-Ramsey, changing the "a" to "e". The reason for this slight name change is unclear.
Ramsey came to the US in 1953-a gift from her Aunt Edna. This allowed her to travel the US circuit, and she appeared in the US Championships.
She enjoyed it so much that she decided to apply for a permanent visa to study Physical Education at Bethune-Cookman College. This was given as a scholarship from the predominantly black American Tennis Association. Though never explicitly mentioned, photos make clear she would have been considered "black" or mixed race in The United States.
For three consecutive years (1953 to 1955) Ivy competed at Forest Hills. Some sources list her as Jamaican, others simply state "of Brooklyn" or "of New York." Ramsey later went on to graduate from Tennessee State University.
By 1957 she was an instructor at Southern University. Later settling in Brentwood, New York, where she taught school. Mrs Ramsey was honored in February 2014 as the first coach of a women's team at Brentwood High School.
In 1999 Ivy was inducted into the Jamaican Sports Hall of Fame under the name Ivy Cover-Ramsey.
Posted by Yvonne at ATA Nationals ? 1945 | Black Tennis History
My mother played the great Ivy Culver [sic] Ramsey in the late 1950’s in Jamaica, and won. She has the trophy to prove it and spoke much of the event. Although at the time it was a small local competition, it was a great accomplishment for my mother. A Google search of her name recently led me to a 1954 Daytona Beach Morning Journal article, where I first saw her photograph. The lady in the long sleeve in this photograph appears to be her. Thanks, this photograph basically indicates that Ivy Culver [sic] Ramsey was one of the ‘greats’ in tennis in her time. I am also now realizing why my mother made such a big deal of that historical event. She indicated that Ivy was so vexed at loosing that day, she threw away her racquet before leaving the court.
Ivy is on the far left. From the 1945 ATA Nationals
[A Blast thread]
"Ivy Ramsey Suffering From Lack of Competiton", by Sylvia Maltzman, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, 16 April, 1954, page 5. (article includes a photo)
Ivy Ramsey Rosenthal Renaming Ceremony -2-1-14
Jamaica, Civil Registration Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1878-1930
[A youtube interview from 1996]
Pittsburgh Courier 7th August 1954
[Thanks to Jimbo, Newmark, Rollo and Rosamund for this information]