Sarah Palfrey Cooke

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Sarah Palfrey
Sarah Fabyan 1939.jpg
Palfrey (then Fabyan) at Wimbledon in 1939
Full name Sarah Hammond Palfrey Danzig
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1912-09-18)September 18, 1912
Sharon, MA, United States
Died February 27, 1996(1996-02-27) (aged 83)
New York, NY, United States
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Turned pro 1947
Plays Right-handed
Int. Tennis HoF 1963 (member page)
Singles
Highest ranking No. 4 (1934)
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open QF (1939)
Wimbledon SF (1939)
US Open W (1941, 1945)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open F (1934)
Wimbledon W (1938, 1939)
US Open W (1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open W (1939)
Wimbledon F (1936, 1938)
US Open W (1932, 1935, 1937, 1941)

Sarah Hammond Palfrey Danzig (née Palfrey; September 18, 1912 – February 27, 1996) was a female tennis player from the United States whose career spanned two decades from the late 1920s until the late 1940s. She won the singles title at the U.S. Championships in 1941 and 1945.

Career[edit]

Palfrey twice won the singles title at the U.S. Championships, the second time in 1945 at the age of 32. She was only the second mother to have won the title, with Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman being the first.[1] Palfrey won the 1945 title after being down 4–3 in the third set to Pauline Betz, with Betz serving.[1] Betz was the three-time defending champion, and Palfrey had defeated her in the 1941 and 1945 finals.

Palfrey 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 second husband Elwood Cooke were permitted in 1945 to enter the men's doubles of the Tri-State Championships in Cincinnati. They reached the final, losing 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. Championships and with Helen Jacobs to win the 1932, 1934, and 1935 championships. Palfrey and Alice Marble won the U.S. Championships from 1937 to 1940. At Wimbledon, Palfrey and Marble won the 1938 and 1939 women's doubles championship. Palfrey's final 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. 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 Championships, teaming with her future husband Elwood Cooke. Palfrey and Marble were undefeated in doubles for four years (1937–40).

In 1947, Palfrey turned professional and went on a "barnstorming" tour of one-night stands with Betz, who had been stripped of her amateur status by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) for merely inquiring about the possibility of creating a tour for professionals. They earned about US$10,000 each.[2]

According to A. Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Palfrey was ranked in the World Top Ten 1933–36 and 1938–39 (no rankings issued 1940–45), reaching a career high in those rankings of World No. 4 in 1934.[3] 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.[4]

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. Championships in 1950," said Gladys Heldman, founder of the Women's Professional Tennis Tour.[5]

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."[2]

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

Personal life[edit]

She was married three times; to Marshal Fabyan, Elwood Cooke, and Jerome Alan Danzig and had two children.[6] She married Fabyan on October 6, 1934, but divorced him in Reno, Nevada on July 20, 1940.[7][8] She married Cooke on October 2, 1940, and had a daughter with him who was born on December 22, 1942.[9][10] She divorced him on April 29, 1949, on grounds of cruelty.[11] She married Danzig on April 27, 1951, and remained married to him until her death of lung cancer in 1996.[12][13] She had a son with Danzig who was born December 19, 1952.[14]

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 runners-up)[edit]

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

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 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 Freda James
United Kingdom Kay Stammers
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 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 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 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 tournament; reached (F) final, (SF) semifinal, (QF) quarterfinal; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a (RR) round-robin stage; reached a (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; or (NH) tournament not held.
Tournament 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A A A A A A A A A NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 0
French Championships A A A A A A 3R A A A A QF NH R R R R A 0 / 2
Wimbledon A A 2R A 4R A QF A 2R A QF SF NH NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 6
U.S. Championships 1R 3R 3R 3R 2R QF F F 1R 1R SF QF 3R W A QF A W 2 / 16
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

R = tournament restricted to French nationals and held under German occupation.
SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Hall of Famers – Sarah Palfrey Danzig". International Tennis Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b OBITUARY : Sarah Danzig
  3. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 702. ISBN 0-942257-41-3. 
  4. ^ United States Tennis Association (1988). 1988 Official USTA Tennis Yearbook. Lynn, Massachusetts: H.O. Zimman, Inc. pp. 260–1. 
  5. ^ Schoenfeld, Bruce (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: Amistad. p. 65. ISBN 978-0060526528. 
  6. ^ New York Times obituary.
  7. ^ "Tennis Star in Suit". The Montreal Gazette. October 25, 1939. p. 16 – via Google News Archive. 
  8. ^ "Decree to Sarah Fabyan; Tennis Player Obtains a Divorce in Reno". The New York Times. July 20, 1940. 
  9. ^ "Court Romance". The Palm Beach Post. October 3, 1940 – via Google News Archive. 
  10. ^ Daughter Is Born To Elwood Cookes
  11. ^ "Sarah Palfrey Cooke Granted Divorce". The Miami News. April 29, 1949 – via Google News Archive. 
  12. ^ Tennis
  13. ^ "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. 
  14. ^ Mrs. Jerome A. Danzig Has Son

External links[edit]