ROOSEVELT, ELLEN (Ellen Crosby Roosevelt)
Born 20 August 1868 in Hyde Park, New York
Died 26 September 26, 1954 in Hyde Park, New York
[Active late 1887 to 1894]
She was the daughter of John Aspinwall Roosevelt, an estate proprietor, and Ellen Murray Crosby. She started playing tennis with her sister Grace in 1879 when her father installed a tennis court at their mansion 'Rosedale'. Small of stature, both sisters were under 100 pounds. A brunette, Ellen tended to hew to the baseline in doubles with Grace at net. The pair lost only twice in doubles.
In 1890 Ellen won the singles, dethroning defending champion Bertha Townsend. She also took the doubles with her sister Grace. It would be over 100 until sisters again won the US title-the Williams sisters pulling it off in 1999.
Ellen also won the US Mixed title in 1893 with Oliver Campbell.
The Roosevelt sisters, first cousins of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, were coached and groomed on private courts at home by their father John Roosevelt, a strict disciplinarian who required they went to bed early, ate properly and accompanied them at events.
“Their father coached and treated them [Roosevelt sisters] as if they were a pair of show ponies,” said Ellen Hansell, the first U.S. National Women’s Singles champion in 1887. “We silly, non-serious-minded players giggled at their early-to-bed and careful food habits.”
She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1975.
"Ellen and Grace Roosevelt", by Frank Phelps. David L. Porter, ed. (1995). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports
. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 649–650.