This photo from the Monaco ITF website presents a mystery within two other mysteries. The board provides us with names and a trophy.
#1 Who are they?
#2 Where are they and what is date?
#1 Who are they?
The person on the left can only be Gloria Butler
, a forgotten but important person in tennis history.
Her father was a wealthy American businessman named George Butler. The family lived in the tiny principality of Monaco. After George died in the late 1930s Gloria stayed on and ran te Monte Carlo tournament, which we know of today as the Monte Carlo Masters tournament.
Gloria ran the event well into the 1960's. She put on a player party with skits that became absolutely legendary, with the players entertaining their peers and a crowd.
She later spent time in California, where she was one of the few friends of Bill Tilden to stay loyal to him after his run-ins with the law. In fact Butler basically supported Bill for a time. He nicknamed her "Angel Child".
We do not have much information on her later life or if and when Gloria died. According to Gar Mulloy in his 2009 book As It Was,
she gave away her last remaining wealth to a commune.
The figure on the left is (Mlle or Mme) Speranza.
I'm guessing the scoreboard reads "Mlle Speranza", but can't verify this this due to the smallness of the shot. She seems too young to be Mme Daisy Wyns Speranza Wyns (or Wyns Speranza), who entered French events as early as 1909. Mme Speranza Wyns was ranked #1 in Monaco in 1932.
If it is Mme Speranza-Wyns the woman on the right would be at least in her mid 50s. Having exact dates of birth and death for Daisy Sperana-Wyns would help enormously, but this is yet another mystery.
On the other hand the Speranza in this photo is clearly no spring chicken, and looks older than Gloria Butler.
There was at least one other Speranza. We know in 1947 that Gloria Butler entered the French with Lucia Speranza. The team defaulted in the event.
#2 Where and when was the photo taken?
The clothing suggests late 1930s and early 1940s. The trophy suggests they are (or have already) played a singles final.
And coming from a Monaco based site gives us a clue that this is a Riviera tournament. The "jeaux" on the scoreboard makes that nearly 100% certain.
That leads me to guess it is 1947 with Gloria Butler and Lucia Speranza at a Riviera tournament. Are there other explanations I might have overlooked? If anyone has information about Speranza or Butler please share!