What is posted below comes from Ted Tinling's book Love and Faults.
More than any other writing it was this book that drew me in to tennis history and the tale of the two Helens.
Teddy knew both women personally, giving his take of them an extra layer of veracity not found in other sources.
Chapter 14 The Two Helens (1)
Fate, coincidence,chance,call it what you will, the story of the two young girls with the same first name, who were reared on the same street, were educated at the same school and college, were coached by the same man, who lived, at different times, in the same house, and were to both become American and World champions, is one of the strangest of all tennis sagas
Outside their tennis, however, Helen Wills and Helen Jacobs, of Berkeley, California, had little in common. On or off the court they exchanged only a few dozen words in fifteen years of treading parallel paths on the international circuit.
The fact that Helen Wills ruled the circuit unchallenged was accepted by the girls except Helen Jacobs and her refusal to pay homage to Queen Wills lent credibility to a picture of antagonism.
There were also dark rumors of religious differences and differences in sexual preferences. [end of page 124] In the '2os such things were not publicly referred to.....
Helen Jacobs has said, "There as no feud", but the lack of outward communication between the two Helens put an obvious question mark over their relationship. For those who wished to accentuate their differences some evidence of a deep rift was not difficult to discern.
Helen Wills was extremely class conscious and highly discriminating from everything from friends to fashions. She alwaysalignd herself with all the "right" people, famous politicians, royalty, the top names in the art world. In hotels only the London Dorchester and the Goerge V in Paris were good enough.
She was a talented painter herself and her works were exhibited in galleries from coast to coast. Beyond all this, Helen Wills father was a doctor, whereas Helen Jacobs father was "in trade."
Helen Wills had a natural ability to excel and projected the impression that everyone should automatically recognize her superiority in whatever area of life she chose to favor.
With the exception of Garbo, I have seen all the best-looking women in the world face-to-face and in the beauty stakes, Helen Wills was very definitely in the top league.
I sat opposite her one evening ...when we were both playing the '32 Dutch Championships. She has a flawless complexion. Her facial bone structure and and her finely chiseled features gave an inescapable impression of serene classic sculpture. In dramatic contrast she had the Marlene Dietrich technique of fixing her beautiful eyes with sudden intensity at the exact climax of a conversation, and I remember thinking how truly lovely she was.
Wills was certainly the Garbo of tennis, always wanted to be alone and away from her fellow competitors. This, combined with her determinedly detached nature and unchanging countenance, gave the world's sportswriters a field day. Arthur Guiterman wrote in Life
magazine in '29.
The Journalists, A Ribald Race
Have named her Little Miss Poker Face
As she grew up the "little" was dropped, but "Miss Poker Face" stuck appropriately throughout her career.
As if by intent, Helen Jacobs was one of the world's friendliest souls, and I often thought that the more Helen Wills became distant and [end of page 125] aloof the more Helen Jacobs wanted to please.
to be continued.....