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Davis, Dwight Filley (05 July 1879–28 November 1945), tennis player and U.S. secretary of war, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of John Tilden Davis, a dry goods merchant and banker, and Maria Jeanette Filley. The family’s financial success and public-mindedness made it a leader on the St. Louis business, education, and social scenes. Following preparatory school at Smith Academy in St. Louis, Davis attended Harvard University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1900. While in college, he gained national prominence as a singles and doubles tennis player. In his junior and senior years he was the runner-up in the U.S. men’s singles championship, and in those same two years and the year after he and his partner, ...

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Jacobs, Helen Hull (06 August 1908–02 June 1997), tennis player and author, was born in Globe, Arizona, the daughter of Roland H. Jacobs, a businessman, and Eula Hull Jacobs. Her mother, a Missourian with roots in the South, was a direct descendant of ...

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Mallory, Molla Bjurstedt (06 March 1884–22 November 1959), tennis player, was born Anna Margrethe Bjurstedt in Oslo, Norway, the daughter of a Norwegian army officer (parents’ names are unknown), and grew up in Christiana, Norway. She began playing tournament tennis at age ten, and in a country where few people participated in the sport, she won the Norwegian national women’s singles championship eight times between 1904 and 1914. In 1904 she entered the world mixed doubles championship in Stockholm with Swedish crown prince Gustav Adolph as her partner, but they lost in the first round of the tournament. Mallory attended a private school in Wiesbaden, Germany, to learn German and later went to school in Paris to learn French. She also studied massage therapy at the Orthopedic Institute in Christiana and went to London in 1908 to work as a masseuse. There, she played in several London tournaments without success, finding the competition much keener than in Norway. In the summer of 1911, Mallory and her sister, Valborg, played in several tournaments in Germany, gaining experience that helped Mallory win a bronze medal in outdoor tennis at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. She played well but lost to Marguerite Broquedis of France, the gold medalist, in the semifinals, 6–3, 2–6, 6–4. When she left Norway for the United States in 1914, she held the women’s singles championship and, with her sister, the Norwegian women’s doubles championship....

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Moody, Helen Wills (06 October 1905–01 January 1998), tennis champion, was born Helen Newington Wills in Centerville, California, to Clarence Alfred Wills, a physician, and Catherine Anderson Wills. She grew up in nearby Berkeley and was educated in area private schools; she also attended a boarding school in Vermont. Wills began playing tennis as a child, instructed by her father, and quickly demonstrated an aptitude for the game. When she turned fourteen in 1919, she was given a membership by her parents in the Berkeley Tennis Club, and a coach there began setting up daily matches for her. Soon she came under the tutelage of tennis champion ...