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First book covering Platform Tennis published

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The book was published by A. S. Barnes. John Roberts Tunis (December 7, 1889 – February 4, 1975), was an American writer and broadcaster and "the 'inventor' of the modern sports story." Known for his juvenile sports novels, Tunis also wrote short stories and non-fiction, including a weekly sports column for the The New Yorker magazine. As a commentator Tunis was part of the first trans-Atlantic sports cast and the first broadcast of the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament to the United States.

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Courts in the U.S. ca. 1939

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Known courts in the U.S.
Known courts in the U.S.

This is a partial listing as there were "platforms too many to mention in the suburban area of New York City," and there were also courts in Los Angeles and Nova Scotia. Source:"Growth of the Game," Report to members of the American Paddle Tennis Association", as cited in Paddle Tennis, Blanchard 1944

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Number of courts skyrockets

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The APTA Annual Report of October 25th estimated 500 courts to be in use. They based the estimate on a list of 229 platforms built by the Gates Company and a partial list of plans distributed by James K. Cogswell.

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Platform Tennis in Life Magazine

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Ken Ward
Ken Ward

Kenneth Ward arranged for a piece to run in Life Magazine, and he appeared in several of the pictures that ran with it. In one of the shots, his expression was so contorted that Life felt impelled to caption it: "Up the wire, like a monkey, goes Ken Ward, President of the American Paddle Tennis Association. In spite of his strange antics, Ward is a good-looking New York broker." (Note: The pictures were taken by the Albanian-American photographer Gjon Mili who, along with Harold Edgerton of MIT, was a pioneer in the use of stroboscopic instruments to capture a sequence of actions in one photograph) The Life article brought some amusing reactions. One was a letter from a man who objected to calling O'Hearn the “game's greatest player.” He said O'Hearn had never played against him. Another man's letter made the revolutionary idea of taking balls off the backstop seem tam[...]

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National Championships

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Final of Men's National Championship 1940, Fox Meadow Tennis Club, Scarsdale, NY
Final of Men's National Championship 1940, Fox Meadow Tennis Club, Scarsdale, NY

The Scarsdale Inquirer reported: "Local Team Loses in Paddle Tennis. Paul Hicks and Witherby Black of Manursing are the national paddle tennis champions in men's doubles. They won the title by defeating Edward Grafmueller and James Landauer of Scarsdale last Sunday at the Fox Meadow Tennis Club. A large, interested and enthusiastic gallery watched the play." Tea was served to a large number of guests and visitors later in the afternoon, following the tournament." Fox Meadow teams dominate the two other events, with Madge Beck and Marie Walker winning their third straight Women's title and the O'Hearns their fourth Mixed title. Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Paddle Tennis, 1944 Scarsdale Inquirer February 2, 1940

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Fessenden Blanchard Scrapbook (1928-1940)

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Blanchard kept two valuable scrapbooks covering the development of the game in the early years. This one covered the years through 1940. The second one covered 1928 - 1963 (the year of his death). There is some considerable overlap in material between the two and this one has a number of historical photographs that have been "borrowed" by others in writing about the sport and have been lost. Nevertheless, there is a fascinating tale being told in both books for those interested in the very early days of the game.

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The appeal of the game

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New York Times, 1941
New York Times, 1941

The number of men who seem to enjoy playing with their children, as well as their wives, is evidence of the great appeal of paddle tennis as a family game. Children start batting the ball around at about seven years of age, and begin acquiring the rudiments of tennis.

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National Championships

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Cliff Sutter (Greenwich CC) and his partner Joseph Maguire (Greenwich Field Club) won the Men’s over another Connecticut team from the Hartford GC , Holbrook Hyde and Leland Wiley. Sutter doubled by winning the Mixed with the wife of his Men’s partner. FMTC teams dominated the Women’s, with Madge Beck and Marie Walker winning their fourth consecutive title. Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Paddle Tennis, 1944

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