Tennis bounced into American life in the late 19th century, departing from aristocratic European origins to become a pastime for all to enjoy. Tennis clubs and courts began to appear everywhere, including the grounds of the White House. Americans quickly caught on and became leaders in the sport, beating the British at the first Davis Cup. Soon after, an American woman conquered Wimbledon! Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|1881||Representatives from several tennis clubs meet at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City to form the United States National Lawn Tennis Association, and the first official U.S. National Championships (precursor to the U.S. Open) is held at Newport Casino in Rhode Island.|
|1900||The United States beats the British Isles in the first formalized tournament between nations, the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, or what would become known worldwide as the Davis Cup.|
|1903 - 1909||A tennis court on the White House grounds is completed, and President Theodore Roosevelt regularly hosts matches with a close group of friends and staff members known as his “Tennis Cabinet.”|
|1905||On her first trip to Wimbledon, May Sutton becomes the first American and the first overseas player to win a Wimbledon Singles title.|
|1916||Tennis champion Tally Holmes becomes one of the founders of the American Tennis Association, formed in response to a ban of African American players in U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association matches.|
|1920 - 1922||Tennis reaches new levels of popularity, and the Davis Cup becomes the most sought-after title in sport.|
|1923||Construction of the world’s largest tennis arena would soon bring the U.S. National Championships permanently to New York.|