Sarah Palfrey Cooke

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Sarah Palfrey
Sarah Fabyan 1939.jpg
Palfrey (then Fabyan) at Wimbledon in 1939
Full nameSarah Hammond Palfrey Danzig
Country (sports) United States
Born(1912-09-18)September 18, 1912
Sharon, MA, United States
DiedFebruary 27, 1996(1996-02-27) (aged 83)
New York, NY, United States
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Turned pro1947
PlaysRight-handed
Int. Tennis HoF1963 (member page)
Singles
Highest rankingWorld No. 4 (1934)
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenQF (1939)
WimbledonSF (1939)
US OpenW (1941, 1945)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenF (1934)
WimbledonW (1938, 1939)
US OpenW (1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French OpenW (1939)
WimbledonF (1936, 1938)
US OpenW (1932, 1935, 1937, 1941)

Sarah Hammond Palfrey Danzig (née Palfrey; September 18, 1912 – February 27, 1996) was an American tennis player whose career spanned two decades from the late 1920s until the late 1940s. She won two singles, nine women's doubles, and four mixed doubles titles at the U. S. National Championships.

Career[edit]

She was 32 years old, married to Elwood Cooke, and a mother when she won her second singles title at the 1945 U. S. National Championships. Pauline Betz was her opponent in the final. Since she lost to Cooke in the 1941 final, Betz had won three consecutive titles and 19 consecutive matches at these championships. In 1945, Cooke lost the first set and squandered her 5–2 lead in the second set before recovering to win it 8–6. In the third set, Betz got close to winning yet another title when she served for a 5–3 lead. Cooke, however, broke her serve and then won the next two games to win the tournament. She became only the second mother to win this title, with Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman being the first.[1]

Cooke is one of the few women, if not the sole woman, to appear on a top-level male championship honor roll. Because of the manpower crisis during World War II, she and husband Elwood were permitted to enter the men's doubles at the 1945 Tri-State Championships in Cincinnati. They lost in the final to Hal Surface and Bill Talbert.[1]

Palfrey won 16 Grand Slam championships in women's doubles (11) and mixed doubles (5). She teamed with Betty Nuthall to win the 1930 U. S. National Championships and with Helen Jacobs to win the 1932, 1934, and 1935 championships. Palfrey and Alice Marble won the U. S. National Championships from 1937 through 1940. At the Wimbledon Championships, Palfrey and Marble won the 1938 and 1939 women's doubles titles. Palfrey's last U. S. women's doubles championship was in 1941 with Margaret Osborne. In mixed doubles, Palfrey teamed with four different partners to win the U. S. National Championships: Fred Perry (1932), Enrique Maier (1935), Don Budge (1937), and Jack Kramer (1941). Palfrey also won the mixed doubles title at the 1939 French International Championships, teaming with future husband Elwood Cooke.

Palfrey and Marble were undefeated in doubles from 1937 until Marble turned professional at the end of 1940.[2]

In 1947, Cooke and Betz went on a "barnstorming" tour of mostly one-night stands in the U. S. and Europe, with each earning about US$10,000. They had been stripped of their amateur status by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) in early 1947 because Elwood Cooke had written letters to several tournament organizers about creating a professional tour.[3]

According to A. Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Palfrey was one of the ten highest ranked women in the world from 1933 through 1936 and in 1938 and 1939. Her career high was fourth in 1934. (No world rankings were issued from 1940 through 1945.) [4]

Palfrey was included in the year-end top ten rankings issued by the USLTA 1929–31, 1933–41, and 1945. She was the top-ranked U. S. player in 1941 and 1945.[5]

Palfrey and Marble lobbied the USLTA to remove the color bar and allow Althea Gibson to play at heretofore whites-only tournaments beginning in 1950. "She [Palfrey] was calmly persuasive, had clout as an ex-champ, and got Althea into the U. S. [National] Championships in 1950," said Gladys Heldman, founder of the women's professional tennis tour in 1970.[6]

Palfrey once said, "Tennis is the best game there is. It combines mental and physical qualities and is the sport for a lifetime. And there are many living examples at the age of 80 to prove it. So it is enough for us to know that tennis will remain, under whatever conditions, whether amateur or pro, the finest game there is for us, for our children, and our children's children."[3]

Palfrey was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1963.

Personal life[edit]

She had two children and was married three times: to Marshal Fabyan, Elwood Cooke, and Jerome Alan Danzig.[7] She married Fabyan on October 6, 1934, but divorced him in Reno, Nevada on July 20, 1940.[8][9] She married Cooke on October 2, 1940, and their daughter was born in December 1942.[10][11] She divorced him on April 29, 1949, on grounds of cruelty.[12] She married Danzig on April 27, 1951,[13][14] and remained married to him until her death of lung cancer in 1996. Their son was born in December 1952.[15]

Her brother, John Palfrey, also an excellent tennis player and an expert on atomic energy, married Belle "Clochette" Roosevelt Palfrey, a granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt and a daughter of Kermit Roosevelt.

She also had four sisters, who were all fine tennis players.

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles (2 titles, 2 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1934 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Helen Jacobs 1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 1935 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Helen Jacobs 2–6, 4–6
Winner 1941 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Pauline Betz 7–5, 6–2
Winner 1945 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Pauline Betz 3–6, 8–6, 6–4

Women's doubles (11 titles, 3 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1930 U. S. National Championships Grass United Kingdom Betty Nuthall United States Edith Cross
United States Anna McCune Harper
3–6, 6–3, 7–5
Winner 1932 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Helen Jacobs United States Alice Marble
United States Marjorie Morrill
8–6, 6–1
Runner-up 1934 French International Championships Clay United States Helen Jacobs France Simonne Mathieu
United States Elizabeth Ryan
6–3, 4–6, 2–6
Winner 1934 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Helen Jacobs United States Carolin Babcock
United States Dorothy Andrus
4–6, 6–3, 6–4
Winner 1935 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Helen Jacobs United States Carolin Babcock
United States Dorothy Andrus
6–4, 6–2
Runner-up 1936 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Helen Jacobs United Kingdom Kay Stammers
United Kingdom Freda James
2–6, 1–6
Runner-up 1936 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Helen Jacobs United States Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn
United States Carolin Babcock
7–9, 6–2, 4–6
Winner 1937 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Alice Marble United States Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn
United States Carolin Babcock
7–5, 6–4
Winner 1938 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Alice Marble France Simonne Mathieu
United Kingdom Billie Yorke
6–2, 6–3
Winner 1938 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Alice Marble France Simonne Mathieu
Poland Jadwiga Jędrzejowska
6–8, 6–4, 6–3
Winner 1939 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Alice Marble United States Helen Jacobs
United Kingdom Billie Yorke
6–1, 6–0
Winner 1939 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Alice Marble United Kingdom Kay Stammers
United Kingdom Freda James Hammersley
7–5, 8–6
Winner 1940 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Alice Marble United States Dorothy Bundy
United States Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn
6–4, 6–3
Winner 1941 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne United States Dorothy Bundy
United States Pauline Betz
3–6, 6–1, 6–4

Mixed doubles (5 titles, 5 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1932 U. S. National Championships Grass United Kingdom Fred Perry United States Helen Jacobs
United States Ellsworth Vines
6–3, 7–5
Runner-up 1933 U. S. National Championships Grass United States George Lott United States Elizabeth Ryan
United States Ellsworth Vines
9–11, 1–6
Winner 1935 U. S. National Championships Grass Spain Enrique Maier United Kingdom Kay Stammers
Czechoslovakia Roderich Menzel
6–4, 4–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1936 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Don Budge United Kingdom Dorothy Round
United Kingdom Fred Perry
9–7, 5–7, 4–6
Runner-up 1936 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Don Budge United States Alice Marble
United States Gene Mako
3–6, 2–6
Winner 1937 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Don Budge France Sylvie Jung Henrotin
France Yvon Petra
6–2, 8–10, 6–0
Runner-up 1938 Wimbledon Championships Grass Germany Henner Henkel United States Alice Marble
United States Don Budge
1–6, 4–6
Winner 1939 French International Championships Clay United States Elwood Cooke France Simonne Mathieu
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Franjo Kukuljević
4–6, 6–1, 7–5
Runner-up 1939 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Elwood Cooke United States Alice Marble
Australia Harry Hopman
7–9, 1–6
Winner 1941 U. S. National Championships Grass United States Jack Kramer United States Pauline Betz
United States Bobby Riggs
4–6, 6–4, 6–4

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Career SR Win-Loss
Australian National Championships A A A A A A A A A A A A A NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 0 0–0
French Championships A A A A A A 3R A A A A QF NH R R R R A 0 / 2 2–2
Wimbledon Championships A A 2R A 4R A QF A 2R A QF SF NH NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 6 16–6
U. S. National Championships 1R 3R 3R 3R 2R QF F F 1R 1R SF QF 3R W A QF A W 2 / 16 40–14
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 1 / 1 2 / 24
Win-Loss 0–1 2–1 3–2 2–1 2–2 3–1 10–3 5–1 0–2 0–1 8–2 9–3 2–1 5–0 0–0 2–1 0–0 5–0 58–22

R = tournament restricted to French nationals and held under German occupation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hall of Famers – Sarah Palfrey Danzig". International Tennis Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Alice Marble winner again at Manchester". Asbury Park Press. 18 August 1940. p. 8.
  3. ^ a b OBITUARY : Sarah Danzig
  4. ^ Bud Collins (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York City: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 702. ISBN 0-942257-41-3.
  5. ^ United States Tennis Association (1988). 1988 Official USTA Tennis Yearbook. Lynn, Massachusetts: H.O. Zimman, Inc. pp. 260–1.
  6. ^ Bruce Schoenfeld (2004). The Match: Althea Gibson and Angela Buxton: how two outsiders--one Black, the other Jewish--forged a friendship and made sports history (1st ed.). New York City: Amistad. p. 65. ISBN 978-0060526528.
  7. ^ New York Times obituary.
  8. ^ "Tennis Star in Suit". The Montreal Gazette. October 25, 1939. p. 16 – via Google News Archive.
  9. ^ "Decree to Sarah Fabyan; Tennis Player Obtains a Divorce in Reno". The New York Times. July 20, 1940.
  10. ^ "Court Romance". The Palm Beach Post. October 3, 1940 – via Google News Archive.
  11. ^ Daughter Is Born To Elwood Cookes
  12. ^ "Sarah Palfrey Cooke Granted Divorce". The Miami News. April 29, 1949 – via Google News Archive.
  13. ^ Tennis
  14. ^ "Mrs. Cooke Bride of Jerome Danzig; Former Sarah Palfrey, Tennis Star, Is Wed to Dartmouth Alumnus at the Carlyle Ralph--van Voorhees". The New York Times. April 1951.
  15. ^ Mrs. Jerome A. Danzig Has Son

External links[edit]