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APTA Annual Meeting Minutes

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The Minutes paid a tribute to the late Fessenden Blanchard who had died suddenly shortly after the meeting. Two of the 1963 National Tournaments recorded the largest number of team entries in the history of the APTA - 85 teams in the Mixed Doubles and 83 teams in the National Men's Championshps. The Minutes reflected two important initiatives: A National Boy's Tournament was established: "Over the past year, a keen interest in an APTA Boys' Tournament was reflected by many member clubs and individuals. The APTA Executive Committee has therefore decided to create and endorse a new National Boys' Doubles Tournament. The provisions of this tournament are as follows: a. It is to be a pure junior tournament, not to be confused, with the USLT Junior Tournament age rulings. It is open to all boys who have not reached the age of 20 by the date of the tournament. b. The bowl to [...]

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Death of Fessenden S. Blanchard (1888-1963)

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Blanchard, a co-founder of the game, suffered a heart attack at the Harvard-Princeton football game at Harvard stadium. A 1910 graduate of Harvard, he was a leader in textile research, a past president of the Textile Research Institute (1941-1945) and, for many years, head of his own industrial relations firm, which he founded in 1948. He served as the first President of the APTA, from 1934-1938, and was a tireless promoter of the game in the early years. He was among the first group of individuals inducted into the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame in 1965. In addition to authoring two books on the game, he also wrote widely on yachting. One of Blanchard’s reports, prepared for the Massachusetts Development and Industrial Commission and made public in 1951 after a two-month dispute involving charges it was being suppressed, told of a “widespread belief” that the executive and legi[...]

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Fessenden Blanchard Scrapbook (1929 – 1963)

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From 1929 until his death in 1963 Blanchard had kept a detailed Scrapbook about how the game started and developed and those that made it happen. It provides a unique insight into the early years of the game. Blanchard also had an earlier scrapbook covering 1928 - 1940. There is significant overlap between the two and the earlier one has a number of old photographs that were "borrowed" and not returned.

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APTA raises Juniors’ profile – Gatchell Bowl established for National Junior Boy’s

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During his tenure on the APTA Board in the early 1960s, John Ware began looking at clubs with dedicated junior programs. In an effort to learn how to encourage other clubs to strengthen their programs, he visited the Englewood Field Club in New Jersey to observe its program. Ware found it to be so impressive that he suggested the APTA sponsor a tournament for boys. In 19631 Fox Meadow hosted the first National Boys' Doubles, chaired by Rawle Deland and John Ware (both, appropriately enough, sons-in-law of the game's founders). The APTA named the Championship trophy for the recently deceased Hall of Fame inductee Earle Gatchell

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Death of Earle Gatchell (1891-1962)

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Earle Gatchell
Earle Gatchell

Hall of Fame inductee Earle Gatchell was one of the leading pioneers and proponents of the game. Gatchell was a great supporter of junior players and the trophy for the Boys Junior Championships which started in 1964 was named after him. [Also see APTA 1963 Annual Meeting Minutes]

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National Championships – Inaugural Junior Boy’s (under 20) and Men’s 50+ replaces Men’s 45+

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The Men’s 45+ was discontinued and was later reinstated in 19721. A Men’s Senior 50+ event was added as the new Senior Men's event. In the Men’s, David Jennings and Oliver Kimberly, the previous year’s finalists, emerged as the winners over Thomas Holmes and Michael O’Hearn. Charlotte Lee and Buffy Briggs won their second straight Women’s. The Fox Meadow pair of Zan Carver and Barbara Koegel won the Mixed (Zan had wanted to take a cigarette break after they had split two long sets, as was his way, but Bobbie would not let him, as was her way!). Germain Glidden and William Park won the inaugural 50+. William deSaussure IV and Geoffrey Nixon won the inaugural Boy's Junior event [Also see APTA 1963 Annual Meeting Minutes], the first of three straight titles for the team. Note 1: The reason for this was that the APTA concluded that their initial d[...]

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Richard J. Reilly, Jr. starts building courts

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Reilly at work on a court
Reilly at work on a court

Dick Reilly had started building courts in 1965 and, by 1967, had built over sixty around the country. An enthusiastic player, Reilly developed many improvements in court construction that greatly enhanced durability and playability. In the early 1970s, he pioneered the aluminum deck, which has become the standard. Among the many improvements he made to court construction are: • The use of thirty-foot, kiln-dried deck members, joining under the net, making the playing surface as technically perfect as is possible. • A two-toned, green and red deck surface on which the white lines were two inches in width. This aided the players' vision and promoted greater accuracy in a fast-paced rally. • Hinged snow-boards which facilitated rapid clearing of the court. • Quartz-iodine lighting for night play. • The use of one-inch, hexangular, galvanized mesh with a gau[...]

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