Thursday, October 20, 2016

WOODIN | Cup at Maidstone Ends, 1955 (Updated Feb. 18, 2018)

Anne Gram and her cousin Charles Miner Jr., grandchildren of William H. Woodin, assist in giving out awards at the last Woodin Cup presentation, along with the president of the Maidstone Club, H. J. Robertson; Julian S. Myrick ("Dean of Maidstone Tennis"); and four winners. Photo by William Boone,  East Hampton Star, September 15, 1955.

According to the Maidstone Club, 1955 was the last year of the Woodin Cup. The board on which the winners were posted goes through 1954.  

Anne Gram was born Anne Harvey, the granddaughter of William H. Woodin. She went by the name of Anne Gram until she married a second time, when she was known as Anne Gerli until her death in 2016. Charles Miner, Jr., who is living in 2017, is one of three surviving grandsons of Will Woodin.

The three Woodin ladies invitational tennis cups at Maidstone were donated by Will Woodin to promote women's tennis – appropriately enough, since tennis was brought to the United States from Bermuda in 1874 by a resident of Staten Island, Mary Ewing Outerbridge. 

The Woodin cups were the only gold trophies offered in any tennis tournament. Originally there were three gold cups, two for the doubles players and one for the singles players. Julian S. Myrick had the idea for the cups and he persuaded Will Woodin to provide the funding to purchase them in 1926. Woodin was elected President of the Maidstone Club around that time; he was also serving simultaneously as Commodore of the Devon Yacht Club.

In 1949, all three gold cups that had been put up by WilliWoodin in the Maidstone Club Ladies Invitation tennis tournament in 1926 were retired from competition. The singles cup was won by Louise Brough of California, then the Wimbledon champion, and the doubles cup was won by Brough and Margaret Osborne duPont of Wilmington, Delaware, who was the national ladies singles champion.

Brough had previously won the singles championship in 1942 and 1948. She and Dumont had previously won the doubles championship in 1942 and 1948; duPont won with Sarah Palfrey in 1941.

It is Woodin family lore (told to me by more than one family member) that someone had won the cups before three times and did not take the cups in order for the competition to continue. But the record does not show anyone winning the cup more than twice before 1949. Helen Wills won the singles competition twice, in 1926 and 1928, and Shirley Fry also won twice, in 1946 and 1947. 

Possibly the family lore is based on the fact that singles winners who had won twice decided at some point not to compete. The doubles competition was also won twice by two teams: Dorothy Andrus and Sylvia Henrotin in 1936 and 1937, and Shirley Fry and Barbara Krase in 1946 and 1947.

After the original gold cups had been retired in 1949, the Woodin family raised the money to replace them with silver cups. They were presented after Will Woodin died in 1934 by Nan Woodin. After she died in 1941, her daughter Mary Woodin Miner took over the task. In 1955, Myrick presented the cups along with two grandchildren of Will Woodin, Charles Miner Jr. and Anne Gram (later Anne Gerli). Charlie Miner told me that his mother was not feeling well on the award day in 1955. She might also have been signaling that she was not going to keep supporting the event. She retired to Vero Beach, Florida.

After Anne Gerli died in 2016, silver tennis cups were again funded by her three daughters, in their mother's name. Update (Jan. 24, 2018): These cups are for intramural women's doubles at Maidstone.

Sources and Related Posts: The Woodin Gold Cups (includes list of winners, 1926-1955) . Life of Will WoodinEast Hampton Star, August 4, 1949, 1.

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