Tennis Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Jimmy A.
Joined
·
3,361 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys,

Long time no post for me on TF!

I was wondering if anyone could help me dig up a bit more information on this early Wimbledon champion (1909)? Like a lot of pre-Lenglen champions, she appears to be completely forgotten today.

I found a bit of information on her in Dorothea Lambert Chambers' book, Lawn Tennis For Ladies, which is free to read on Gutenberg. Dorothea describes her as a baseliner and Dora also gives an account of her most memorable match (unsurprisingly, this is winning the Wimbledon title).

What I have struggled to find online is any information about the 1911 Wimbledon final. Boothby was hammered 6-0 6-0 by Lambert Chambers in this match, the only GS final double bagel apart from Graf/Zvereva, and the shortest final on record.

It would be interesting to see what both players had to say about the result - do any articles still exist? Even given the less competitive era, it must still have stood out as a pretty ignominious defeat.

Was it more a case of her being unlucky to run into a dominant player on peak form, or was she a lesser player of the era who overacheived by reaching the finals when she did?

Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,839 Posts
I don't have any info but have you thought about contacting the Wimbledon museum to see if they have anything?
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
25,287 Posts
BOOTHBY, "DORA" (Penelope Dora Harvey Boothby)
United Kingdom
Born 02 August 1881 in Finchley, Middlesex
Died 22 February 1970 at Hampstead
Married Arthur C Geen, 09 April 1914 at St Georges, Hanover Square
Trademark: a belt tightly cinched about her waist.
[Active 1900-1922]

1909 Wimbledon champion and titlist in the 1913 ladies doubles with Winifred McNair.

Daughter of Laurence John Boothby (1848-1887) and Gertrude Butler (1849-1941). she was close in age to her sister Gertrude May Boothby (1878-1969). Called "Penel" as a child according to ancestry, by her adult tennis playing days she was known as "Dora".

Boothby was listed amongst the top ranked players of Great Britain in 1904-coming in at the second tier in the 15 to 20 range.

Dora habitually gave up tenis in the winter months, keeping in shape by playing badminton. She confessed to suffering from "centre-courtitis", or nerves.

Chambers rated her as a primarily a baseliner-the most common style in the pre-war era. In 1908 Dora showed "considerable improvement" according to the Times, which noted how her shots barely cleared the net with plenty of speed. (Saturday, Jun 05, 1909; pg. 18). This style was effective when she was "on", but when off the low margin for errors produced a slew of errors.

Her Big Chance-1909 Wimbledon Champion


In 1909 Boothby realized she that year was a big chance at the Championships, as Dorothea Lambert Chambers was sidelined by childbirth and holder Charlotte Sterry was not defending her title.

Dora became Wimbledon Champion only after a nailbiting victory over Agnes Morton 6-4 4-6 8-6 in the final. A contemporary report noted the match was 'remarkable for its tension and protracted rallies. There have been more scientific, more stroke varied ladies finals, at Wimbledon but none in which the result hung so long in the balance or in which the combatants showed such hardihood and resolution.' (Hedges)

Here is Boothby's description of her victory from the Chambers book. She won despite serving 16 double faults in the match!

Quote:
Without doubt my most exciting match was the final last year at Wimbledon. In every player's heart there must be a faint hope that one day she may win the All England Championship. At least it has always been in mine.

From Christmas and all through the spring my family and friends had dinned into my ears that now was my chance, and if I did not win this year I never would. Only when I was leading one set up and 2-love in the second did all these things flash across my mind. I suddenly got nervous. Oh, the misery of it! I served double fault after double fault (I learnt afterwards that I gave away sixteen points in this way), and my friends told me that it was a relief to them when my service went over the net at all, however slowly. My opponent, Miss Morton, caught up, won the set 6/4, and led me 4/2 in the final set. All this time I had been fighting hard to regain confidence. At last my nerve came back--I was determined to win, and, only after a very great effort, just succeeded in capturing the Championship with the narrow margin of 8/6 in the final set.

It was not until I had finished and had come off the court that I
realized how very excited I had been, and how relieved I was when it was all over. Only those who have had experience can know how exhausting it is to concentrate one's whole thoughts and efforts, without cessation,for an hour or more. Fortunately you do not feel the strain until afterwards, when it does not matter, and then you can look back with very great pleasure and satisfaction on a hard-won fight.
Beaten the next by Dorothe Lambert Chambers 6-2 6-2, Boothby returned in 1911, fought through the All-Comers to reach the challenge Round, and was then utterly obliterated by Chambers 6-0 6-0. This record for the most lopsided ladies final was unmatched until Steffi Graf beat Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in the 1988 French final.

The final was over in 25 minutes. Chambers is devastating. "She never played better and ,as usual, her marvelous headwork, rather than the actual force of her stroke, gave her victory." Boothby never gave up, 4 times extending games to deuce. Both the score and the time remain Wimbledon records.

Dora and partner Winifred Mcnair became the first ladies doubles champions of Wimbledon in 1913. They were somewhat lucky, as Dorothea Lambert Chambers and Charlotte Sterry had to retire leading 6-4 4-2 when Sterry puleed up lame with a torn leg tendon.

Married in 1914, Dora and Arthur Geen had at least one child. His family name is often incorrectly listed as "Green." Slowing down after World War I-her last Wimbledon was in 1922.

In 1929 Mrs Geen designed the first official Wightman Cup team jackets and traveled with the team to the US. The design was white cloth with silver buttons, and has a Union Jack with crossed racquets underneath emblazoned on the breast pocket.

Mrs Bootby turned professional in 1932; allowing her to charge pupils for money in teaching tennis.




Sources:

Hedges, Martin. A Concise Dictionary of Tennis. 1978. page 34.

Dora Boothby. [A Blast thread on her]

Dora Boothby (1881-1970) - The 1909 Wimbledon singles champion
[A biographical sketch by Mark Ryan]

http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/score...af4/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dora_Boothby

[An article from the Norwood Society on Boothby]
http://www.norwoodsociety.co.uk/arti...a-boothby.html

[Her lineage was traced through ancestry.com]
http://trees.ancestrylibrary.com/tre...rson/-49441129

Chambers, Dorothea Lambert. Lawn Tennis for Ladies, 1910. Available via Project Gutenburg at: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10961
https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10961
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
25,287 Posts
The full article from the Norwood Society
http://www.norwoodsociety.co.uk/articles/125-dora-boothby.html


Dora Boothby

The weather in the spring and early summer of 1909 was awful in truly Biblical proportions. Local people corresponded with newspapers and talked of seeing nothing like it since ’88. There were damp foggy mornings, interspersed with gale force winds, hail, sleet and snow that settled. Despite this the Wimbledon tennis tournament was completed, and successfully so for the South Norwood community as it learned from twelve lines half way down a column in an inner page in Norwood News. The winner of the ladies’ singles was Dora Boothby of South Norwood.
Lawn Tennis Championship
Won By A Norwood Lady.
After a very close struggle on Friday of
last week, the ladies’ championship of
England, which Mrs. Sterry relinquished
after winning it last year for the fifth time,
was captured by Miss Boothby. Her
opponent was Miss Morton, runner up in
1908 to Mrs Sterry, who had beaten Miss
Boothby in the previous round.
The championship carries with it
several valuable gifts. Miss D. Boothby
resides at ‘Holmwood,’ 260, South
Norwood Hill.
Norwood News Saturday 10th July 1909.
Penelope Dora Harvey Boothby was born in Finchley, Middlesex on 2nd August 1881. She and her older sister Gertrude, lived with their step-parents Harry and Gertrude Penn at 40 Harold Road. It was very likely that while here Dora learned tennis at what she referred to as the ‘dear old Harold Road Club.’


By 1901 Harry’s success as a civil engineer brought about a move upwards to 260, South Norwood Hill and from here Dora often practised at Beulah Hill Club. Her tennis flourished and she made her first appearance at Beckenham in 1900 winning the Handicap Singles, having another success in the Mixed. Her outstanding talent won cups at Surbiton, Redhill, Chichester, Folkestone and Teignmouth. At Lowestoft the cup became hers because she won it three times in a row. She also held the coveted Queen’s Club Covered Court Championship.


When asked about her fitness regime, Dora Boothby denied dieting or any kind of special training, claiming that ‘life wouldn’t be worth living under such conditions.’ She just used a ‘little common sense about what to avoid and when to avoid it.’ Furthermore, she didn’t train during the winter months. She said that when the season was finished she exchanged her tennis racquet for a badminton one, a sport which she played through the winter. Dora did admit to initially suffering centre-courtitis, but said that ‘everyone who played did at first when the eyes of a great crowd where upon them’. Invited to comment about the 1909 tournament she said, ‘Norwood was quite to the front at Wimbledon this year. Mr Ritchie who lived close by Grange Hill won the singles in the All Comer’s Competition, but lost to Mr Gore in the Challenge Round.’


It was further reported in Norwood News a week later that ‘Lady sportswomen are evidently as good comrades and friends as are those of the sterner sex. Miss Boothby’s enthusiastic delight in her game was sufficient, without her emphatic words, to show that the players have a good time and meet on the most friendly terms, while the Lady Champion was surprised at the great amount of interest taken in the game by the general public, and deeply touched by the shoal of congratulatory letters and telegrams that had reached her’.


The final score of her 1909 winning match against Agnes Morton was 6-4, 4-6, 8-6. She was again to make it through to the finals for the following two years. Unfortunately she lost on both occasions to Dorothea Douglas Lambert Chambers, a formidably powerful and well-trained opponent.


Dora Boothby married Arthur C. Green in the early summer of 1914 at St Georges, Hanover Square. She died on 22nd February 1970 at Hampstead.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
25,287 Posts
Here is Boothby's description of her 1909 win from the Chambers book. She won despite serving 16 double faults in the match!

Without doubt my most exciting match was the final last year at Wimbledon. In every player's heart there must be a faint hope that one day she may win the All England Championship. At least it has always been in mine.

From Christmas and all through the spring my family and friends had dinned into my ears that now was my chance, and if I did not win this year I never would. Only when I was leading one set up and 2-love in the second did all these things flash across my mind. I suddenly got nervous. Oh, the misery of it! I served double fault after double fault (I learnt afterwards that I gave away sixteen points in this way), and my friends told me that it was a relief to them when my service went over the net at all, however slowly. My opponent, Miss Morton, caught up, won the set 6/4, and led me 4/2 in the final set. All this time I had been fighting hard to regain confidence. At last my nerve came back--I was determined to win, and, only after a very great effort, just succeeded in capturing the Championship with the narrow margin of 8/6 in the final set.

It was not until I had finished and had come off the court that I realized how very excited I had been, and how relieved I was when it was all over. Only those who have had experience can know how exhausting it is to concentrate one's whole thoughts and efforts, without cessation,for an hour or more. Fortunately you do not feel the strain until afterwards, when it does not matter, and then you can look back with very great pleasure and satisfaction on a hard-won fight.


--------------------------------------------------------------

The next year Chambers stormed back to reclaim her crown. Below are notes from the 1910 Championships

Chambers returns to tennis after an 18 month absence in May. The press wondered if her time was past. Could she return as before? Her reply was to whip through the Wimbledon draw with the loss of only 16 games in 6 matches. In the semis she had early difficulty with Johnson, a surprise winner over Gladys Lamplough, but coasted after adjusting to the stiff wind. In the final Dorothea won easily, though Dora did score several aces off her serve.

Castenschiold becomes the first Dane to make the quarters of a slam.

Mrs. Chambers went undefeated all year, winning 7 events out of 8. The only event she didn't win after entering was Croydon, where she defaulted the final because of a cold.

--------------------------------------------------------------

What I have for 1911 is scarce. No flash in the pain, Boothby fought her way to the final match for the third consecutive year, not dropping a set in the process. Once there she was totally dismantled:

The final is over in 25 minutes. Chambers is devastating. "She never played better and ,as usual, her marvelous headwork, rather than the actual force of her stroke, gave her victory." Boothby never gave up, 4 times extending games to deuce. Both the score and the time remain Wimbledon records.
 

·
Jimmy A.
Joined
·
3,361 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info Rollo :hatoff:

It is a pity that there doesn't seem to be any articles about the 1911 final, although given the score, I would guess that Boothby would probably be glad about that!
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
25,287 Posts
It is a pity that there doesn't seem to be any articles about the 1911 final, although given the score, I would guess that Boothby would probably be glad about that!
I am working on that part Memento. Our friend "The Computer" has access to the London Times.

Fear not-we will find an article. It may be short like the match though!:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,514 Posts
Thanks for the info Rollo :hatoff:

It is a pity that there doesn't seem to be any articles about the 1911 final, although given the score, I would guess that Boothby would probably be glad about that!
It depends on how curious you are and what your budget is; for a price, one can be had. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/guardian/results.html?st=advanced&QryTxt=boothby+chambers&type=historic&sortby=REVERSE_CHRON&datetype=6&frommonth=01&fromday=01&fromyear=1911&tomonth=12&today=31&toyear=1911&By=&Title=&publications=ALL

£7.95 gets you an all-you-can-eat 24 hour pass.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
25,287 Posts
The London Times on the 1909 Ladies final:

After a very close struggle, the ladies championship, which Mrs Stery relinquised after winning it last year for the firth time, was won by Miss Boothby. Her opponent was Miss Morton, runner up in 1908 to Mrs Sterry, who had beaten miss Boothby in the previous round. On last year's record, therefore, there was not much to choose between Miss Boothy and Miss Morton, and in this seasons tournaments have divided honours, each winning one of the two finals in which they have met.

Miss Boothby has come on a great deal in the last year or two, and has greatly strengthened her game, a low, hard, heavily-cut drive to her opponent's backhand being her most efficacious weapon. This she used yesterday to much purpose, and indeed in the initial stage of the match she looked a pretty sure winner, keeping well ahead to the close of the firsat set, and taking the first two games of the second. Miss Morton, however, won the next four games, and though her opponent equalized, ran out at 6-4. In the third set too, she was going strongly, and led 4-2. Miss Boothby caught and passed her; then Miss Morton held the advantage game, lost it, and Miss Boothby finally ran out at 8-6. The winner was, on thw whole, playing slightly the better game of the two, showing more command of the ball, whereas Miss Morton was inclined, or was forced, to scrape up many of her shots. Miss Boothby came up to the net on a few occassions, and showed that she could be useful there; but the match was primarily a back-line one from start to finish. She penalized herself severely by the number of double faults she served. [In fact Boothby served 16 double faults] Miss Morton, half-way through the match, took to serving underhand with a cut, but she probably lost more than she gained by this, owing to the openings which she thus gave for a difficult cross-shot on the return to her backhand. Both ladies kept their length well to the close of what proved to be a very protracted contest."

The Times (London, England), Saturday, Jul 03, 1909; pg. 19.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
25,287 Posts
The Times on the 1910 Challenge round:

In comparison to Miss Boothby, Mrs Chambers was hitting harder and with less exertion, and, accurately as her opponent played, outdid her in this respect.

She took the first game with a low hit backhand drive straight the line when her opponent was expecting the diagonal stroke with which she had frequently been driven back; a similar stroke and a capital drop helped to the second: Miss Boothby replied with an equally good ojnhe, and then, Mrs Chambers a very long rally with one better than the either. This and some drives irreproachable in length brought the score to four-love in her favour. Miss Boothby-playing with great resolution-beat her drive for drive in the fifth game, and picked up from love-forty in the sixth only to lose the next two aces.

Recognizing that her position was desperate, Miss Boothby now rightly took all risks, fortune helped her in the seventh game, but deserted her in the eighth to Mrs Chambers, who thus won the set. Undeterred by this loss, Miss Boothby hit harder than ever, and won the first game in the next set, and also the third, a good drop coming in very usefully. The other games went to Mrs Chambers, who continued to probe the backhand corner remorselessly.

Miss Boothby's display was a great deal better than the score indicates, she used to depend largely on one stroke, a forehand drive which pinches on the corner of the service and the side lines in the left court. the stroke is well thought out, and Miss Boothby's whole game is subordinated to its execution; it clears the net with a very small margin of safety-a margin so small and so seldom miscalculated that niceness of touch must be employed; it is not hit hard and is heavily cut-thus-when the spin-an off-break, takes effect, her opponent is offered an unexpectedly short time by the bounce and is liable to be enticed by it out of the court. When this happens her discomfiture is completed by a drive to the opposite corner.

Yesterday, Miss Boothby's usual method was employed less frequently, and the points she made often seemed closer to the right line, either by a clean swinging stroke across the courts, or by a backhand "push" straight down it, but she saved her backhand whenever possible. Not that her backhand is a weak shot; it is extremely safe, but it crosses the net at so great a height that her opponent has time to make her dispositions-and mightly unpleasent they were.

Miss Boothby served hard and well and may have had some advantage in this respect. She lost like a champion, which is the next best thing to winning like one. Her forehand drive swept the court, and her backhand was kept low, and used for attack as well as defense, as she was playing she would have nothing to fear from Miss Sutton, and the opinion was expressed on all sides that she has never played better in her life. She found her form at once, winning the opening game-a game she often loses-and subsequently going through the first set with hardly a mishit.

"Lawn Tennis." Times [London, England] 30 June 1910: pg 18
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
25,287 Posts
"Lady Champion Becomes Professional" The Times (London, England), Friday, Feb 12, 1932

In 1932 Mrs Geen decided to charge money for giving lessons. In the article she opines that women coaches have an advantage in teaching female pupils, having an innate understanding of the physical differences.

In closing Mrs Geen focused on footwork. "I have particularly strong views about footwork. Without proper footwork no one can be a really sound player."
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top