This blazer was given to Althea Gibson (1927-2003) when she won the prestigious Wightman Cup women’s tennis competition. The event was founded by Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman in 1923 to give women an opportunity to be recognized for their athletic abilities in tennis similar to the men’s Davis Cup tournament. The tournament featured women from America and Britain until 1989, excluding the period during World War II.

Althea Gibson is considered one of America’s best athletes. She was the first African American to participate in international tennis competitions. Beginning in 1956 she won her first Grand Slam event. She would eventually win 11 Grand Slam titles. And in 1957 and 1958 she won both Wimbledon and the US. Nationals. Gibson excelled in other sports and was the first African American woman to join the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour.


  • Title: Wightman Cup Blazer worn by Althea Gibson
  • Creator: United States Lawn Tennis Association
  • Date Created: 1957
  • Physical Dimensions: 29 3/4 x 29 3/8 in. (75.6 x 74.6 cm) On form: 28 3/4 x 21 x 18 in. (73 x 53.3 x 45.7 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Rights: No Known Copyright Restrictions
  • External Link: View other items from the NMAAHC Sports Collection
  • Medium: wool

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