Follow the evolution of tennis, and tennis rackets, from the late 1800s into the Open Era as illustrated with 1500+ wooden rackets, 100+ original press photos and numerous other vintage tennis accessories, books, memorabilia and artifacts. This could take a while.
Hear interesting stories dating from the Golden Years of tennis with greats such as Susanne Lenglen and Bill Tilden ... into the Open Era with Lamar Hunt’s Handsome Eight and Gladys Heldman’s Original Nine in the late 1960s.
View a collection of over 750 unique wooden rackets endorsed by over 100 different, primarily American, players. This includes 50-75 unique rackets for each of the most popular greats like Don Budge, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzales, Tony Trabert, Billy Jean King and Chris Evert.
On loan from the Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis, leaf through these original Hall of Fame player photos that hung for decades on the walls of Atlanta’s historical Bitsy Grant Tennis Center. Digitized versions of these photos now hang on those same Bitsy walls.
Displayed next to the corresponding player‘s racket, view this well researched collection of original press photos of great players, coaches and promoters from the past. These rare photos help tell the stories of a rapidly growing global game divided by sexism, racism and shamaturism.
View colorful tin tennis ball cans used for white balls before the Open era, as well as those cans for Optic Yellow balls in use more recently. Paper boxes used for nonpressurized balls are also on display.
A variety of wooden racket presses illustrate the unique methods used at the time to prevent racket warping.
A collection of vintage racket covers include those used in the early 1900s, those branded through local tennis shops, brand name covers and many other decorative covers.
A growing collection of tennis books focuses on biographies of great players prior to the Open Era, such as Alice Marble, Bill Tilden, Pancho Gonzalez, Bobby Riggs, Don Budge and Helen Wills Moody.
A collection of original newspaper ads dating back to late 1800s offering a variety of tennis rackets and other equipment.
Learn how early wooden rackets with flat tops, convex wedges and plied construction are replaced with more sophisticated laminate and framing construction. Increased marketing demands result in more colorful rackets, eventually giving way to the use of different materials, first steel then aluminum, then graphite and other more specialized materials and construction techniques.