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Title [Group Portrait, Staten Island Ladies' Club]
Object Name Print, Photographic
Photographer Almstaedt, Isaac
Date 1886-1887
Collection Staten Island Geographic Collection
Description Original B&W print on brown cardboard mount. Group portrait of 14 women arranged in 3 rows: the front row is seated on the grass, the middle row is seated on chairs, and the back row is standing. All of the women wear dresses and hats, and most hold tennis rackets. Alice Austen stands in the back row at far right. Tennis nets are visible in the background. Gold printed inscription (very faint) on mount below image: "I. Almstaedt / TOMPKINSVILLE, S.I."
(Keywords: New York)
Print size 7 x 9.250
Acquisition Collection of the Staten Island Historical Society
Ownership and History Isaac Almstaedt was the official photographer of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club from 1886 to 1915. This image of fashionably dressed young tennis players includes photographer Alice Austen, who stands in the top row at the far right.

The Staten Island Ladies' Club was located on the grounds of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club in Livingston. The Ladies' Club was established in 1877, and by 1887 had over 200 members.

An article in Outing magazine in November 1887 included an illustration based on this photograph. The article described how the men and women harmoniously shared the tennis courts: "The arrangements made for the use of the grounds so that there should be no clashing of interests, were, that the ladies were privileged to play on all the courts during the morning; that the two or three nets nearest their house should be at all times their exclusive property; that during the afternoons they were at liberty to play at any other of the nets that were not required by the men; and that every Friday the whole grounds were theirs exclusively, and the men could only occupy such nets as they did not want."

Staten Island's cricket grounds are widely believed to be the first place where tennis was played in the United States. Mary Outerbridge (1852-1886) is credited with introducing the game here in 1874. No known photos of Miss Outerbridge have yet been located; is it possible that she is in this group of tennis players, but not yet identified?
Earliest Date 1886
Latest Date 1887
Subjects Tennis
Sports
Athletic clubs
Lexicon Sub-category Documentary Artifact
Associated People Austen, E. Alice
Catalog Number PH01.0048
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, May 2013.
Legal Status Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.