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Patricia Jane Berg. Watercolour on paper, 1980, by Dick Dugan. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Berg, Patricia Jane (13 February 1918–10 September 2006), professional golfer, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the third of four children in a strongly Catholic family. Patty, who attended John Brown Elementary School, was a self-confessed tomboy and excellent all-around athlete (particularly speed skating). She turned to golf after her mother objected to constant bruises and torn dresses following neighborhood football games with boys....

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Browne, Mary Kendall (03 June 1891–19 August 1971), tennis player and golfer, was born in Ventura County, California, the daughter of Albert William Browne, a rancher and Spanish-American War captain, and Neotia Rice. She attended Los Angeles (Calif.) Polytechnic High School. Her older brother Nathaniel Borrodail Browne, an excellent tennis competitor, taught Mary a sound all-court style and sharpened her volleying and smashing skills in practice by stationing her at the net to parry his hardest drives....

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Collett, Glenna (20 June 1903–03 February 1989), champion golfer, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of George H. Collett, a life insurance agent, and Ada Wilkinson. Collett, the leading woman golfer in the United States in the 1920s and early 1930s, became interested in golf as a teenager accompanying her father on a course in Providence, Rhode Island. At fourteen she took her first lessons from John Anderson of the Metacomel Club in Providence; he helped her develop the rhythmic swing that was her hallmark. Later, she received instruction from ...

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Babe Didrikson Competing in the first heat of the 80-meter hurdles, winning in a record-breaking 11.8 seconds, at the Los Angeles Olympics, 1932. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113281).

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Didrikson, Babe (26 June 1914?–27 September 1956), athlete, was born Mildred Ella Didriksen in Port Arthur, Texas, the daughter of Ole Nickolene Didriksen, a ship’s carpenter and cabinetmaker, and Hannah Marie Olsen, an accomplished skater and skier. Didrikson herself was later to change the last syllable of the surname from - ...

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Althea Gibson. Watercolor and pencil on board, 1957, by Boris Chaliapin. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine.

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Gibson, Althea (25 August 1927–28 September 2003), tennis player and professional golfer, was born in Silver, South Carolina, to Daniel Gibson and Annie Bell Gibson, sharecroppers. In 1930 the family moved from the rural South to the urban North, relocating in Harlem, where her three sisters and brother were born. Althea frequently skipped school and repeatedly ran away from home, and this resulted in regular whippings from her father. Feisty and determined, Althea preferred to spend her time in bowling alleys and pool halls. Althea was an outstanding all-around athlete—she played any kind of ball sport, excelling at paddle tennis and basketball. A self-described tomboy, Althea also played football, and her father taught her how to box, a skill she used to navigate recurrent assaults from boys and girls....