"THE BEGINNING OF AN ERA OF HARD-HITTERS AMONG WOMEN"
BJURSTEDT, Molla and CROWTHER, Samuel. Tennis for Women. Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1916. Octavo, original gilt-stamped navy cloth. $500.
First edition of tennis champion Molla Bjursted's 1916 guide to tennis strategies for women, with 16 full-page illustrations including frontispiece of Bjursted, who married in 1919 and is known as Molla Mallory. "She won the U.S. championship four times in a row between 1915 and 1918 and captured the title a fifth time in 1920," going on to make history by winning more U.S. singles championships than any woman, or man, to date.
Norwegian-born Molla Mallory (born Bjurstedt) won Norway's national championship eight times and earned a medal at the 1912 Olympics before moving to the U.S. in 1914. A "thunderous backcourt player… she won the U.S. championship four times in a row between 1915 and 1918 and captured the title a fifth time in 1920… ultimately Mallory won eight U.S. championships, more than any woman [or man] in history." Yet she is perhaps best known for her game against French champion Suzanne Lenglen, "the first superstar of tennis," in the 1921 U.S. National Championship. Mallory was dominating when Lenglen claimed illness and, amidst controversy, left the court, causing Mallory to win by default (King, We Have Come a Long Way, 24-30). She went on to win the title against Mary K. Brown, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1958. Tennis for Women emphasizes her conviction that women succeed in tennis "by concentrating on the drives… accuracy and speed from the base line make up the game of tennis." In 1944 tennis star Helen Hull Jacobs dedicated Gallery of Champions to Mallory, noting "her great driving game was the beginning of an era of hard-hitters among women… her courage and sportsmanship and, above all, her will to win were a contribution of unforgettable value." In addition to chapters on "strokes that win" and strategies for "putting a twist on the ball," the book, co-authored with Samuel Crowther, features a photographic frontispiece and 15 full-page photographic illustrations that demonstrate forehand and backhand drives, effective serves and volleys, and much more. Small owner signature.
Interior very fresh, light edge-wear, mild toning to spine. A handsome near-fine copy.