I was delighted to see this picture as the lead image in a “Free to Use” set of images focusing on tennis that was recently added to the Library’s Web site.
I remember printing out the image years ago for my own personal folder of favorite “mid-air views.” Not only do I admire the energy and skill on display in Bessie Holmes Moore’s leap for the ball, but it takes talent and skill on the part of the photographer to be able to snap the picture at just the right time to capture the action.
There is plenty to admire in the energy and action shown in other photos in the set. I don’t know how accurately the unnamed player in this photo returned the ball, but it’s an impressive mid-air view of another type–the hovering ball is so clear! (And the scene only slightly painfully reminds me that I can probably count on the fingers of two hands how many times I managed to return a ball that was hit to me in my childhood attempts to play tennis.)
I figured that a colleague who much more successfully kept her eye on the ball would have a favorite among the photos. Sure enough, reference specialist Jan Grenci, who played tennis competitively in college, remarked on this one:
In addition to taking a tennis nerd’s (her words, not mine) pleasure in identifying the company that produced Althea Gibson’s racket (Harry C. Lee & Company), Jan commented: “Can you imagine attending this clinic and getting some pointers from Althea Gibson? By the time this photo was taken in December of 1957, Ms. Gibson had won Wimbledon and the French and U.S. Championships.”
Another that caught my eye was the advertising print for “Horsman’s Celebrated Lawn Tennis.”
Apparently this lawn tennis set came compactly in a box complete with rackets and a net, with this print used as a decorative label on the inside of the lid. I enjoy all that it conveys about outdoor leisure. And it reminds me a little of badminton, where I could at least return a serve!
- Pick out your top scorers in the Tennis Free to Use set, and sample some of the other sets while you’re there!
- Take a tour through pictures relating to tennis found in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- Have a look at our 2014 blog post about the Althea Gibson image: “Althea Gibson Points the Way.”