Room Four

A League of Their Own

The 1896 UC women's basketball game against Stanford, held at the San Francisco Armory, was the first match of its kind. More than 500 girls and women attended. Other than a single referee, no men were allowed to attend the event; curtains were drawn and women stood guard to ensure there were no trespassers.

Basketball Game
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Shades of our grandmothers
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In spring 1901, under the leadership of President Agnes Frisius, the Associated Women Students of the University of California established the Sports and Pastimes Association, and for the first time the various women's athletic activities at the University of California were united under one organizational umbrella.

Basketball Game
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Agnes Frisius, Class of 1902
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To raise funds to support the activities of the fledgling association, the Associated Women Students also established an annual Women's Day; the first such day took place on February 22, 1901. Festivities included special women's issues of the Occident and the California Pelican; a "farce and curtain-raiser" performance in the afternoon; and several women's athletic tournaments.

1910 Women's Day program
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1910 Women's Day program from the scrapbook of Rose Gardner
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By spring 1911, Women's Day had primarily become associated with women's athletic events and included a fencing match, track and field events, and an interclass regatta on Lake Merritt, for which seventy-five women signed up. The events also included an intercollegiate basketball game in which California won a decisive victory over the San Jose Normal School on the Hearst Hall Court (score: 26 to 10), as well as a tennis tournament against Stanford, in which California won all of its matches under the leadership of Hazel Hotchkiss, the reigning U.S. Women's Tennis Champion at this time.

The last Women's Day was celebrated on February 27, 1915. It was abandoned the following year "as a feminist declaration that every day is women's day in the University of California."

Women's Day at the Swimming Pond
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Women's Day at the Swimming Pond
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Known as Lady Tennis, as well as the Queen Mother of American Tennis, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Class of 1911, won a lifetime total of forty-five U.S. titles between 1909 and 1943, and also took two gold medals in the 1924 Olympics. In 1915 she became the first mother to win a championship (the U.S. National Women's Doubles), and followed that up with many other victories in singles and doubles play. In 1978, she became the first female inductee to the University of California Athletic Hall of Fame. She was also the founder of the international tournament between American and British women known as the Wightman Cup, held annually from 1923 to 1989.

Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
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Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
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The Junior Crew
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The Junior Crew
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Boating Participants
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Boating Participants
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Cal women's basketball team, 1911
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Cal women's basketball team, 1911
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Cal-Stanford basketball game, 1911
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Cal-Stanford basketball game, 1911
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Women's softball, 1915
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Women's softball, 1915
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Women's softball, 1915
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Women's softball, 1915
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Women's fencing
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Women's fencing
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High jump
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High jump
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Track
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Track
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Hurdles
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Hurdles
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Women's tennis team
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Women's tennis team
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Athletics managers
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Athletics managers
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