Sports History On This Day: June 13

June 13, 1890 – An American won the US National Championship Women’s Tennis at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Ellen Crosby Roosevelt defeated the defending champion Bertha Townsend 6-2, 6-2. Miss Roosevelt was the daughter of John Aspinwall Roosevelt, an estate proprietor, and Ellen Murray Crosby.

She started playing tennis with her sister Grace eleven years earlier when her father installed a tennis court at their mansion ‘Rosedale’. She also won the doubles title with her sister Grace in 1890. They were the first pair of sisters to win the U.S.

Championships and remained the only pair to do so until the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena matched their achievement in 1999. She won the mixed doubles title at the 1893 U.S. Championships, partnering with Oliver Campbell. Ellen Roosevelt was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1975.

Ellen Crosby was the first cousin of the future President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR was about 8 years old when Ellen won this US Tennis Title.

To find more great daily sports history make sure to check out the Sports Jersey Dispatch and Pigskin Dispatch.

ennis racket, from the Novelties series issued by Kinney Bros. circa 1889.
The photo is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons of a Tennis racket, from the Novelties series issued by Kinney Bros. circa 1889. Special thanks to the resources of,, and for the information obtained.

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