Fred Palumbo / U.S. Library of Congress

Althea Gibson holds a wood tennis racket

Here's a photo of tennis hero Althea Gibson holding her tennis racquet in 1956. Wood rackets were the state of the art in those days, and Gibson won all her tournaments using wood. We can't quite see the label on this one, but we think it *might* be a Jack Kramer model, which Wilson Sporting Goods began making in 1948. The Smithsonian Museum of American History has the racket used by Althea Gibson to win Wimbledon in 1958, and this racket is definitely not it; that model, a "Dreadnought Driver," has the words HARRY C. LEE quite prominently on the bottom of the circular frame. It's quaint to remember a time when rackets (and players) didn't have huge logos everywhere.

This photo was taken by Fred Palumbo for the New York World-Telegram. It is now part of the collections at the U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

See our biography of Althea Gibson