IRC Tennis Library and Archive

Welcome to the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Information Research Center Online.

The Hall of Fame’s Information Research Center (IRC) is a comprehensive tennis library and archive devoted to the history of tennis and its great players, the social growth of Newport Society, and the architectural designs of the Newport Casino, a National Historic Landmark.

The Information Research Center, or IRC, was opened on the third floor of the historic Newport Casino in 2000 to better serve the needs of researchers and scholars, sports media professionals, and tennis enthusiasts who find our archives to be invaluable resources.  

At the IRC, patrons have access to more than one hundred years of historic documents, publications, photographs, and audio-visual materials relating to the history of the Newport Casino, of tennis, and of the personalities that have made tennis such a fascinating sport.  Researchers are welcome to reserve time to make use of our collections in a quiet, secure and comfortable library setting, or to request basic research services from our knowledgeable staff.

IRC resources have been instrumental in many recent publications, including Chris Bowers’ The Book of Tennis and Paul Fein’s Tennis Confidential. The IRC also contributed resources for the production of an A&E Network documentary Mansions, Monuments & Masterpieces-Newport: Playground of the Rich and Famous. The History Channel, BBC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, FOX Sports, Tennis Channel, BET, and numerous other network, cable and independent media companies have utilized the resources of the International Tennis Hall of Fame's Information Research Center in various productions.

Photograph and Document Collections

The Information Research Center is the repository of several archival collections that document the people and events from the fascinating history of tennis.  Among our collections are those of Helen Hull Jacobs, Ted Tinling, Mercer Beasley, and the holder of the original patent for lawn tennis, Major Clopton Wingfield.  The IRC archives also house The Albert & Madeleine Ritzenberg Collection, which features art, rare books, photographs, and other exceptional items collected over decades by Albert Ritzenberg.  In addition to the architectural plans and designs for the Newport Casino (our home and one of the earliest McKim, Meade & White structures), the Newport Casino Collection holds diaries, society guides, posters and ephemera detailing the history of the architectural masterpiece designed by McKim, Mead, & White in 1880.  The Newport Casino is widely considered the loveliest Victorian shingle-style building in the country and functioned as Newport Society’s playground for more than four decades.

The Information Research Center’s Photograph Archive chronicles and showcases both the history of the sport of tennis, as well as the beautiful Newport Casino.  Comprised of several collections, such as the Fernberger Collection, generously donated by Marilyn and Edward Fernberger, the World Tennis magazine collection, and other photographs generated or purchased by the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the archive currently houses nearly 300,000 photographic prints and slides of individuals and venues pertaining to the sport of tennis and the Newport Casino.  All images are available for research, and portions of this collection are also available for reproduction and other uses.

 

Library

The Information Research Center Library holds more than 5,000 books, including yearbooks, media guides, magazines and periodicals, documenting the history, players and venues of the sport.  We also have a vast collection of national and international tournament programs, ranging from early U.S. National Championship draw sheets to the programs for the current US, Australian, French, and Wimbledon Championships. 

Among our books are those on rules and etiquette, history and analysis; biographies and memoirs of tennis greats; even fiction by notables such as Hall of Famers Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen.  The IRC Library also contains some rare books on racquet games preceding lawn tennis from as early as the mid-16th Century.  Our magazine and periodical collection contains issues from nearly 200 tennis and racquet sports publications from as early as 1847.

 

Audio, Film and Video Collection

The Information Research Center’s collection of film, video and audio materials records the great events, institutions and individuals from the history of tennis.  Among the nearly 4,000 film, videotape, and audiotape records is major and historic match footage from around the world, as well as tournaments and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies held here at the Newport Casino.  Our earliest footage dates to the 1920s, and highlights the only meeting between legends Helen Wills and Suzanne Lenglen, while the bulk of our collection covers the 1970s up to present day.

Researchers and students of the game will find a valuable resource on the history of tennis in the 20th Century in our collection of video and audiotape oral history interviews. Among the great players, journalists, and leaders captured on tape are Pauline Betz, Maria Bueno, Margaret Smith Court, Allison Danzig, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzales, Slew Hester, Lew Hoad, Harry Hopman, Jack Kramer, René Lacoste, Rod Laver, William McChesney Martin, Fred Perry, Bobby Riggs, Betty Nuthall Shoemaker, Bill Talbert, Tony Trabert, Jimmy Van Alen, Ellsworth Vines, and Billie Jean King.

In 2008, the IRC received a grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation to begin a digitization program for the more than 2,700 hours of videotape in our collection.  The Digital Video Asset Project will help ensure the preservation and accessibility of decades of tennis video footage that might otherwise be lost.

 

Information Research Center Services

The Information Research Center (IRC) is located directly above the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum on the third floor of the historic Newport Casino.  In addition to collecting and preserving the cultural history of the sport of tennis, the IRC documents the origin and history of the Newport Casino and the founding of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  Visitors may make appointments to conduct research in our library and archives, or our knowledgeable staff is available to provide some research services.

Photo Services

Patrons wishing to obtain a reproduction of any photograph from the IRC’s Photograph Archives, or to inquire about image licensing and rates, should contact IRC Librarian, Meredith Miller, at (401) 849-3990 or mmiller@tennisfame.com

Fee per image reproduced:  $75.00

Final product(s) will not be released to patron until payment has been received.

Audio-Visual Services

While the collection is available by appointment to researchers (see Site Visits for more information), portions of the collection are also available for use in film, television and radio productions. Please contact the Senior Archivist, Troy Gowen, at (401) 849-3990 or tgowen@tennisfame.com for licensing availability and rates.

Requests for staff research of audio-visual collections will be accommodated, when possible, at a rate of $35 per hour. Other fees may include:

  • DVD/CD duplication $35 for first disc, $10 per additional disc
  • Film or video transfer to digital $1.50/minute of footage if done in-house (minimum $50 fee); at cost if done by outside facility. Additional $35 fee for creation of MPEG-2 DVD; $10 per additional disk if created at time of original.
  • QuickTime or other common video file formats, created from film/video transfer requests, can be recorded directly to disk for $10 per disk, in addition to transfer and other fees.

Site Visit

The Information Research Center is located directly above the museum on the third floor of the historic Newport Casino on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island.  

Patrons are encouraged to visit and use any of these resources between the hours of 9:30am – 4:30pm Monday-Friday (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Days).  For reservations, contact Meredith Miller, at (401) 849-3990 or mmiller@tennisfame.com

Fee per research site visit per day:  $50 (patrons 18 and under are free)

Staff Research Services

Patrons wishing to use the Information Research Center’s large selection of resources, but unable to make a site visit, are welcome to request IRC staff assistance.  In most cases, IRC staff can perform basic research for patrons, or provide copies of research materials.

Fee for staff research:  $35.00/hour

Inquiries and requests should be directed to IRC Librarian, Meredith Miller, at (401) 849-3990 or mmiller@tennisfame.com

Donations

The Information Research Center is dedicated to preserving the documented story of tennis throughout the world.  If you are interested in helping achieve this goal by adding to our historic collection of documents, publications, personal papers, photographs, audio recordings, and moving image media, please feel free to contact any of the archive staff at your convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Follow Us!