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Sarah Palfrey Cooke

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Title: Sarah Palfrey Cooke  
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Subject: Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Margaret Osborne duPont, Billie Jean King, Mary Browne, Louise Brough
Collection: 1912 Births, 1996 Deaths, American Female Tennis Players, Deaths from Lung Cancer, French Championships (Tennis) Champions, Grand Slam (Tennis) Champions in Mixed Doubles, Grand Slam (Tennis) Champions in Women's Doubles, Grand Slam (Tennis) Champions in Women's Singles, International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees, People from Sharon, Massachusetts, Professional Tennis Players Before the Open Era, Tennis People from Massachusetts, United States National Champions (Tennis), Wimbledon Champions (Pre-Open Era)
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Sarah Palfrey Cooke

Sarah Palfrey
Full name Sarah Hammond Palfrey Danzig
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1912-09-18)September 18, 1912
Sharon, MA, USA
Died February 27, 1996(1996-02-27) (aged 83)
New York, NY, USA
Turned pro 1947
Plays Right-handed
Int. Tennis HoF 1963 (member page)
Highest ranking No. 4 (1934)
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open QF (1939)
Wimbledon SF (1939)
US Open W (1941, 1945)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open F (1934)
Wimbledon W (1938, 1939)
US Open W (1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open W (1939)
Wimbledon F (1936, 1938)
US Open W (1932, 1935, 1937, 1941)

Sarah Hammond Palfrey Danzig (September 18, 1912 – February 27, 1996) was a female tennis player from the United States.


  • Career 1
  • Grand Slam record 2
  • Grand Slam finals 3
    • Singles (2 titles, 2 runner-ups) 3.1
  • Grand Slam singles tournament timeline 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Palfrey twice won the singles title at the U.S. Championships, the second time in 1945 at the age of 32. She was only the second mother to have won the title, with Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman being the first.[1] Palfrey won the 1945 title after being down 4–3 in the third set to Pauline Betz Addie, with Betz Addie serving.[1] Betz Addie was the three-time defending champion and would have won six consecutive titles had Palfrey not defeated her in the 1941 and 1945 finals.

Palfrey is one of the few women, if not the sole woman, to appear on a top-level male championship honor roll. Because of the manpower crisis during World War II, she and second husband Elwood Cooke were permitted in 1945 to enter the men's doubles of the Tri-State Championships in Cincinnati. They reached the final, losing to Hal Surface and Bill Talbert.[1]

Palfrey won 16 Grand Slam championships in women's doubles (11) and mixed doubles (5). She teamed with Betty Nuthall Shoemaker to win the 1930 U.S. Championships and with Helen Jacobs to win the 1932, 1934, and 1935 championships. Palfrey and Alice Marble won the U.S. Championships 1937–40. At Wimbledon, Palfrey and Marble won the 1938 and 1939 women's doubles championship. Palfrey's final U.S. women's doubles championship was in 1941 with Margaret Osborne duPont. In mixed doubles, Palfrey teamed with four different partners to win the U.S. Championships: Fred Perry (1932), Enrique Maier (1935), Don Budge (1937), and Jack Kramer (1941). Palfrey also won the mixed doubles title at the 1939 French Championships, teaming with her future husband Elwood Cooke. Palfrey and Marble were undefeated in doubles for four years (1937–40).

In 1947, Palfrey turned professional and went on a "barnstorming" tour of one-night stands with Betz Addie, who had been stripped of her amateur status by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) for merely inquiring about the possibility of creating a tour for professionals. They earned about US$10,000 each.[2]

According to A. Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Palfrey was ranked in the World Top Ten 1933–36 and 1938–39 (no rankings issued 1940–45), reaching a career high in those rankings of World No. 4 in 1934.[3] Palfrey was included in the year-end Top Ten rankings issued by the USLTA 1929–31, 1933–41, and 1945. She was the top-ranked U.S. player in 1941 and 1945.[4]

Palfrey and Marble lobbied the USLTA to remove the color bar and allow Althea Gibson to play at heretofore whites-only tournaments beginning in 1950. "She [Palfrey] was calmly persuasive, had clout as an ex-champ, and got Althea into the U.S. Championships in 1950," said Gladys Heldman, founder of the Women's Professional Tennis Tour.[5]

Palfrey once said, "Tennis is the best game there is. It combines mental and physical qualities and is the sport for a lifetime. And there are many living examples at the age of 80 to prove it. So it is enough for us to know that tennis will remain, under whatever conditions, whether amateur or pro, the finest game there is for us, for our children, and our children's children."[2]

Palfrey was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1963.

She was married three times; to Marshall Fabyan, Elwood Cooke, and Jerome Alan Danzig and had two children.[6] She married Fabyan on October 6, 1934, but divorced him in Reno, Nevada on July 20, 1940.[7][8] She married Cooke on October 2, 1940, and had a daughter with him who was born on December 22, 1942.[9][10] She divorced him on April 29, 1949, on grounds of cruelty.[11] She married Danzig on April 27, 1951, and remained married to him until her death of lung cancer in 1996.[12][13] She had a son with Danzig who was born December 19, 1952.[14]

Her brother, John Palfrey, also an excellent tennis player and an expert on atomic energy, married Belle "Clochette" Roosevelt Palfrey, a granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt and a daughter of Kermit Roosevelt. She also had four sisters, who were all fine tennis players.

Grand Slam record

  • Wimbledon
    • Women's doubles champion: 1938, 1939
    • Women's doubles runner-up: 1930, 1936
    • Mixed doubles runner-up: 1936, 1938
  • U.S. Championships
    • Singles champion: 1941, 1945
    • Singles runner-up: 1934, 1935
    • Women's doubles champion: 1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941
    • Women's doubles runner-up: 1936
    • Mixed doubles champion: 1932, 1935, 1937, 1941
    • Mixed doubles runner-up: 1933, 1936, 1939

Grand Slam finals

Singles (2 titles, 2 runner-ups)

Outcome Year Championship Opponent in final Score in final
Runner-up 1934 U.S. Championships Helen Jacobs 1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 1935 U.S. Championships Helen Jacobs 2–6, 4–6
Winner 1941 U.S. Championships Pauline Betz Addie 7–5, 6–2
Winner 1945 U.S. Championships Pauline Betz Addie 3–6, 8–6, 6–4

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

Tournament 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A A A A A A A A A NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 0
French Championships A A A A A A 3R A A A A QF NH R R R R A 0 / 2
Wimbledon A A 2R A 4R A QF A 2R A QF SF NH NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 6
U.S. Championships 1R 3R 3R 3R 2R QF F F 1R 1R SF QF 3R W A QF A W 2 / 16
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 1 / 1 2 / 24

NH = tournament not held.

R = tournament restricted to French nationals and held under German occupation.

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Hall of Famers – Sarah Palfrey Danzig". International Tennis Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b OBITUARY : Sarah Danzig
  3. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 702.  
  4. ^ United States Tennis Association (1988). 1988 Official USTA Tennis Yearbook. Lynn, Massachusetts: H.O. Zimman, Inc. pp. 260–1. 
  5. ^ Schoenfeld, Bruce (2004). The Match : Althea Gibson and Angela Buxton : how two outsiders--one Black, the other Jewish--forged a friendship and made sports history (1st ed.). New York: Amistad. p. 65.  
  6. ^ New York Times obituary.
  7. ^ "Tennis Star in Suit". The Montreal Gazette. Oct 25, 1939. 
  8. ^ "Decree to Sarah Fabyan; Tennis Player Obtains a Divorce in Reno". The New York Times. July 20, 1940. 
  9. ^ "Court Romance". The Palm Beach Post. Oct 3, 1940. 
  10. ^ Daughter Is Born To Elwood Cookes
  11. ^ "Sarah Palfrey Cooke Granted Divorce". The Miami News. Apr 29, 1949. 
  12. ^ Tennis
  13. ^ "Mrs. Cooke Bride of Jerome Danzig; Former Sarah Palfrey, Tennis Star, Is Wed to Dartmouth Alumnus at the Carlyle Ralph--van Voorhees". The New York Times. April 1951. 
  14. ^ Mrs. Jerome A. Danzig Has Son

External links

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