Museum Gallery Named for 1968 Hall of Famer Mo Connolly Brinker
In 1953, Maureen “Mo” Connolly Brinker captured all four major tournament titles, becoming the first woman in history to achieve a calendar-year Grand Slam, and forever claiming herself a spot as one of the most successful American athletes of all time. For her achievements, Connolly Brinker was inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in 1968, where she has been celebrated ever since. On July 9, during Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, Connolly Brinker was honored once more when a gallery in the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame was named in her honor, thanks to the generous support of her family and the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. During Hall of Fame Weekend, a ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted in the Museum’s 1950’s and 1960’s Gallery, Named in Loving Memory of Maureen Connolly Brinker. Cindy Brinker Simmons, Maureen's daughter, and Cindy's son, William, participated in the ceremony at the Hall of Fame.
“Mo Connolly Brinker was undoubtedly one of the greatest champions of tennis, and her family and foundation have continued to be great supporters of the sport in her name,” said Mark L. Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “We are grateful for their support of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and we are pleased for the opportunity to work with them to honor Mo and to preserve the history of tennis.”
The gallery highlights great moments in tennis during the era which Connolly Brinker competed, including photos and video of international tennis stars, highlights of the Wightman and Fed Cup competitions, and a focus on the Australian Davis Cup team. A centerpiece of the gallery is a permanent exhibit dedicated to Connolly Brinker, featuring a narrative of her remarkable career, great photos of her in action, her Wimbledon trophies from 1952, 1953 and 1954, her 1951 U.S. National Women’s Singles trophy, and her 1953 Australian National Women’s Doubles trophy.
A native of San Diego, Calif., Connolly Brinker got her start in tennis on the city’s municipal courts. At the age of 14, she won 56 consecutive matches and the following year, she became the youngest ever to win the U.S. National Championship for girls 18 and under. In 1951, she captured her first U.S. National Championships title at the age of 16— at the time, she was the youngest ever to win the nation’s most prestigious event. The following year, she successfully defended her title and won the Wimbledon title as well. In 1953, she entered all four grand slams for the first time ever and won all four titles, under the guidance of Coach Harry Hopman, the highly successful Australian Davis Cup captain. She was the first woman to win a calendar-year Grand Slam and to this day is one of just three women to do so. In all, she captured 12 major titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. She was ranked No. 1 in the world from 1952 through 1954 and was named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for three straight years from 1951 through 1953. A horseback riding accident in 1954, cut her tennis career short when she was just 19 years old, but she remained involved in the sport as a reporter and coach. Connolly passed away from stomach cancer in 1969 at just 34 years of age. Just before her death, in 1968, she and her family and friends established the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation to promote junior tennis through offering tennis clinics and providing financial support to juniors who can not afford to compete nationally.
Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum chronicles the history of tennis from its 12th century origins through present-day and pays tribute to the greatest champions and contributors of the sport. The Museum’s extensive collection showcases the sport through memorabilia, fashion, art and dynamic photos and video. Since 1955, the Hall of Fame has honored 220 tennis legends from 19 countries.
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About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport's official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a six-acre property that features an extensive Museum chronicling the history of the sport and honoring the 218 Hall of Famers; 13 grass tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility that are open to the public and to a club membership; a rare Court Tennis facility; and an historic 297-seat theatre. Annually in July, the venue hosts the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the Van Alen Cup, an ATP World Tour event. The buildings and grounds, which were constructed in 1880 by McKim, Mead & White to serve as a social club for Newport’s summer residents, are renowned for their incredible architecture and preservation. The facility was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners including BNP Paribas, Campbell Soup Company, Chubb Personal Insurance, Kia Motors and Rolex Watch USA. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.