Class of 1957
U.S. No. 1 (1913-14)
World No.6 (1926)
Grand Slam Results
13-time major champion, 3-time finalist
Mary Kendall Browne has both a remarkable start and interesting, albeit unproven conclusion to a championship-filled tennis career. As one of the first female professionals, Browne came east from Ventura County, California to win the 1912, 1913, and 1914 U.S. National Women’s Singles Championship and snared doubles titles in 1912, 1913, and 1914, the last two playing alongside Louise Riddell-Williams. Browne won her singles matches dispensing Eleonora Sears, Dorothy Green, and Marie Wagner in the finals, dropping only one set in the deciding matches.
Then, according to the February 7, 1918 edition of the Cornell Sun, Browne reportedly quit playing tennis to accept a bank teller position in California, making the proclamation that she “will never compete in any championship tournament in the future.” While those accounts may be true later in life, they don’t jive with the three U.S. National doubles and mixed doubles titles Browne won post-1918, teaming with the incomparable Bill Johnston in 1921, and with Louise Riddell-Williams and Helen Wills Moody in 1921 and 1925. Previously, she had won three other U.S. Nationals mixed doubles titles, the first with Richard Norris Williams in 1912 and the others in 1913 and 1914 with Bill Tilden.
Besides Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman and Alice Marble, no player of her generation whipped through the field as impressively as Browne. Her 1912 singles win over Sears was a 6-4, 6-2 drubbing, and Green was dispatched the following year 6-2, 7-5.
At age 33, Browne pushed Molla Bjurstedt Mallory to three-sets at the 1921 U.S. Nationals Women’s Singles Championship played at Forest Hills, falling 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Five years later, she was a finalist at the French International Women’s Singles Championship, losing to the incomparable Suzanne Lenglen - a rival she never defeated in 38 attempts - 6-1, 6-0. Browne rounded out a distinguished career by winning the Wimbledon Ladies Doubles title in 1926 with fellow Californian Elizabeth Ryan.
Browne, always adorned in a neatly pressed white tennis dress and matching headwear with a ribbon or bow, earned the United States No. 1 ranking in 1913 and 1914. Still playing tennis, Browne honed her golf skills as a runner-up at the 1924 U.S. Women’s Amateur Tournament. From 1930-1951, Browne was a part-time tennis instructor at Lake Erie College, excluding during World War II when she served with the American Red Cross in Australia and Italy, and was inducted posthumously into the Lake Erie College Hall of Fame on April 26, 1991.
French Championships: F 1926
U.S. Nationals: W 1912, 1913, 1914
Wimbledon: W 1926
U.S. Nationals: W 1912, 1913, 1914, 1921, 1925
Wimbledon: F 1926
U.S. Nationals: W 1912, 1913, 1914, 1921