Billie Jean King archive material to go on display at a museum


The New-York Historical Society has recently acquired items from tennis legend and defender of women’s rights Billie Jean King.

Billie Jean King and Louise Mirrer with objects from her archive, including a 1999 Fed Cup trophy, Adidas sneakers, wood tennis rackets, 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom certificate, Essex Bowl, Philadelphia Freedoms dress, and Philadelphia Freedoms racket cover.

Highlights include the Presidential Medal of Freedom the sports icon received in 2009 and the Philadelphia Freedoms dress she wore in 1974, along with the 1999 Fed Cup trophy, Adidas sneakers, her famous glasses, wooden tennis rackets and the Essex Bowl.

The items from the archive will be featured in an exhibition at the new Center for Women’s History, that will open to the public in March 2017.

Billie Jean King with the Philadelphia Freedoms dress she wore during the inaugural season in 1974 when she was a member of the team. King helped name the team, whose name inspired Elton John’s song of the same name.

Billie Jean King was an outstanding player, an ambassador for the game and is also an active defender of women’s rights. Throughout her tennis career, she won 39 Grand Slam titles and she defeated Bobby Riggs in the famous “Battle of the Sexes” on September 20, 1973, the year in which Billie Jean King founded the WTA, uniting all of women’s professional tennis in one tour.

Billie Jean King-endorsed racket made by Wilson.

The gender equality and social justice activist is thrilled to put on display 28 linear feet of documents and 12 objects from her groundbreaking career:

I am so honored that the New-York Historical Society will now hold items that I treasure from my career, and these highlights will go on view in the new Center for Women’s History when it opens in the spring. I deeply support the Center’s mission to educate visitors about women’s achievements, and I am proud to be in the company of other history-makers featured at New-York Historical.

(photos by Glenn Castellano, New-York Historical Society)


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