Object of the Month: Tennis in Arden

April signals the beginning of spring and offers a preview of summer. After a long respite indoors, it’s time to venture outside to enjoy the longer days and warm evenings. It’s also a time to dust off that sports equipment. Tennis tournaments and Spring Training rule the sports world. Our Arden Sports exhibit features how sports such as tennis and baseball played a part in Arden’s development as a community.

Featured in our exhibit are a tennis trophy, a photograph, and a tennis score book. What do all these things have in common, and what story can they tell?

The photograph depicts two Ardenites in 1906, Don and Roger Stephens, fighting over the very same trophy that is also on display. Wielding tennis rackets above their heads, each with a hand gripping a handle of the trophy, both boys are posed to smite each other after a friendly game of tennis. The photograph is obviously posed, and you can easily see that both boys are enjoying themselves.

Don Stephens and Roger Stephens

Arden Tennis Club Championship Trophy 1904-1906

The tennis score book is also from the same year, 1906, as both the photograph and the trophy. It, most likely, has the game depicted in the photograph scored in its pages. The score book was actually found recently in the collection. A surprising find, we immediately incorporated it into our exhibit.

This scorecard contains the scores of several games throughout 1906 including the game that determine who won the Arden Tennis Club Championship Trophy.

When objects and photographs directly relate to one another, it creates a more personal experience for visitors. By actually seeing the physical object that Don and Roger are fighting over, the photograph comes to life. You can almost picture the two brothers playfully fighting over the trophy after the final score of the game was written down in the score book and the winner declared. The weaving of this story from just two objects and a photograph provides a reminder on the power of storytelling through museum collections.

The Arden Sports exhibit comes down in June so make sure to visit us before it strikes out!

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