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date: 18 August 2019

Atkinson, Juliette Paxtonlocked

(15 April 1873–12 January 1944)
  • Frank V. Phelps

Extract

Atkinson, Juliette Paxton (15 April 1873–12 January 1944), tennis player, was born at Rahway, New Jersey, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Jerome Gill Atkinson, a physician, and Kate McDonald. She and her younger sister, Kathleen, taught themselves to play lawn tennis at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. They carried their own net, poles, stakes, rackets, and balls, erecting and dismantling their court each trip. For social reasons, they joined the Kings County Tennis Club about 1891. Club tournaments soon roused their competitive instincts. “Julie” first entered open tournaments during 1893, winning two of three handicap events in the New York City area and losing in the first round of the Middle States Championship at Mountain Station, New Jersey. Atkinson and Helen Hellwig, the club’s best women players, entered the 1894 National Championship at Wissahickon, Pennsylvania, and won the women’s doubles, while Atkinson and Eddie Fischer captured the mixed doubles title. In the singles, Atkinson lost a close struggle in the semifinals to Bertha Townsend Toulmin, the champion of 1888 and 1889. Hellwig, however, defeated Toulmin in the all-comers final and then vanquished Aline Terry, the defending titleholder, in a five-set challenge round to become U.S. champion. (Customarily women’s matches were the best of three sets, but from 1891 through 1901 their finals and challenge rounds were the best of five sets.) Later, Atkinson bested Hellwig in five sets to win the 1894 Middle States crown....

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