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Elisabeth “Bessie” Holmes Moore

Elisabeth “Bessie” Holmes Moore (1876-1959) of Ridgewood was the first player to win the United States Women’s Singles lawn-tennis championship four times (1896, 1901, 1903, and 1905).

Only four other players in tennis history surpassed this total. Moore’s professional successes led her to be posthumously elected in 1971 to the National Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame. Described as the “little girl from New Jersey,” 16-year-old Bessie Moore of Ridgewood was a newcomer to the national lawn tennis competition in 1892. She took the annual June women’s tournament in Philadelphia by storm and surprised spectators when she defeated many experienced players. Moore also won the 1896 U.S. Doubles Championship, the 1903 crown, and the U.S. mixed doubles of 1902 and 1904. In 1907, the already experienced competitor won the first U.S. Indoor Women’s Singles Championship.



Schleifer, Martha Furman, and Sylvia Glickman. 1996. Women composers: music through the ages. New York: G.K. Hall. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/32859720

Gilbert, Lynn, and Gaylen Moore. 1981. Particular passions: talks with women who have shaped our times. New York: C.N. Potter. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/6981498 

Questions to Explore

What started Moore’s interest and career in Women’s Singles lawn-tennis?

What does Moore’s winnings represent to other little girls in America?

Who are the other players that surpassed Moore’s championship record?

Additional Resources

Smith Jessie Carney and Shirelle Phelps. 19922003. Notable Black American Women. Detroit: Gale Research. https://www.worldcat.org/title/24468213

Felder Deborah. 1997. The 100 Most Influential Women : A Ranking of the 100 Greatest Women Past and Present. London: Robinson. https://www.worldcat.org/title/59590591

Sanford John and University of Illinois (System). 1980. To Feed Their Hopes : A Book of American Women. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. https://www.worldcat.org/title/6278522