Racquet and Tennis Club
Construction began on New York’s Racquet and Tennis Club
The building was completed on September 7
The establishment was added to the National Register of Historic Places
The club denied female tennis pro Evelyn David entrance to train for the Women’s World Tennis Championship
Racquet and Tennis Club, New York – Last of Its Kind
The imposing Italian Renaissance Building of the Racquet and Tennis Club is a foil to the many glass-clad corporate buildings along Park Avenue today such as the Seagram Building and the Lever House. The building was designed by Charles Follen McKim and is similar to many ornate private clubs from early twentieth century New York. It stands at 370 Park Avenue between East 52nd and 53rd Streets. In 1983, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Still a Men-Only Club
The Racquet and Tennis has held to its men-only membership policy over the decades, though women are welcome at social events. In 1987, the club famously refused to allow Evelyn David to train for the Women’s World Tennis Championship, citing its men-only rules. At the time, David was considered by several leading members of the club to be in the top six or seven female court tennis players in the United States and they had therefore hoped for an exception.
Several Club members have world champions in either racquets and real tennis. The most famous was Pierre Etchebaster, Real Tennis World Champion (1928–1956). Neil Smith was World Racquets Singles Champion (1999–2001), and World Doubles Champion (1992–2001). James Stout has been Racquets World Champion since 2008. Tim Chisholm won the Real Tennis Doubles World Championship in 2001.
Did You Know?
- The 1917 initiation fee was $200 and the annual dues were $150.
- There are still after-work-men-only naked swimming sessions at the club.
- In 1931, Wheaton Vaughn, chairman of the Card and Backgammon Committee invited other aficionados to create the Laws of Backgammon.
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