June 14, 2012

The Fairway Flapper

Nobody ever believes me when I point out that playing golf was considered a hugely fashionable activity for women in the 1920s. How could women have been allowed to even play sports before Title IX, much less to have been encouraged to play by countless magazine covers?

But consider F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. The girlfriend of the narrator is Jordan Baker, a prominent lady golfer who is in the sports and society pages a lot. Fitzgerald based her on Edith Cummings, one of the Big Four debutantes in Chicago in 1914. Fitzgerald knew Cummings because he fell in love with another one of the Big Four, Ginevra King, who is the inspiration for Daisy in Gatsby.

Cummings won the 1923 Ladies Amateur and made the cover of Time Magazine in 1924. She was known as The Fairway Flapper.

49 comments:

alonzo portfolio said...

Let's face it, soccer has swamped golf and tennis among girls. I saw more young female golfers in 1990 than I do now. And it's not the game's difficulty. Instead, I think it's because the one thing golf doesn't provide is a chance to display raw aggression, and this is what girls are into nowadays - showing how closely they can approximate men.

agnostic said...

And it didn't help the feminist cause that much of the visibility of women golfers was from fashion magazine covers.

Flappers were derided by the harpies who had been dominant during the Progressive Era, which was really the final leak-over of the New Woman from the Victorian period (shown most clearly in Ibsen).

They complained that flappers lacked seriousness, didn't want to write manifestos or march for suffrage v.2.0 (whatever it would've been), too interested in socializing and having fun.

It was a lot like the Silent Generation activists of the '60s (Gloria Steinem's crowd) whining about the Baby Boomer yuppies of the '80s. The go-go career women of the '80s had turned their back on Progressivism, wanted to make it in the world rather than have things doled out to them, and felt more like socializing and going to nightclubs.

The '20s were like the '80s because they were at the same phase of the cycle in violence rates (plateauing around the top level). That drives people to strive more heroically themselves, and to honor heroism in others. That's what it'll take to pull through such a topsy-turvy world.

That reached its zenith during the '20s with the cult of Charles Lindbergh.

Falling-crime times make people feel more stable, so the drive to strive falls, and they turn more to others to give them stuff for free, whether material (the New Deal) or reputational (the '90s-to-present honoring of victims).

Anonymous said...

I imagine the Edwardians saw it as good healthy exercise and in full public view so no opportunity for sin.

countenance said...

In the early 20th century, basketball was somewhat more of a woman's activity than a man's.

ben tillman said...

Anyway, Title IX's emphasis on women's versions of minor sports has set the clock back a century to a time when most sports mostly consisted of affluent amateurs getting together on Daddy's dime[.]

Spot on.

...e.g., back when the annual Harvard v. Yale football game was the 1912 equivalent of the Super Bowl for the small number of people who cared.

It wasn't exactly a gentlemanly game of lawn tennis. It involved money, ringers, and plenty of spectators -- and violence.

The games gushed cash. In 1893 the Yale Football Association’s revenues of $31,000 surpassed the annual receipts of Yale’s medical, art, or music departments, and by 1903 the gross was more than $100,000. The sport was so popular and lucrative that some felt football had begun to overshadow education as the mission of colleges. When he returned to Harvard to coach football in 1905, Reid collected a salary that was a third higher than any faculty member’s and only slightly less than that paid the president of the University, according to Townsend.

And:

The frenzy to win football games drove colleges to recruit ringers—older roughnecks who had merely a nodding acquaintance with academic life—to play. Columbia’s 1900 roster had only three undergraduates. Teams avidly sought out tough players and carefully schooled them in their prime mission: fomenting havoc on the gridiron. "The beef must be active, teachable, and intelligent," wrote Harvard coach William Reid, A.B. 1901....

And:

The contests often turned into bloody brawls. Footballers poked at each other’s eyes, threw haymakers, and leaped in the air like pro wrestlers to fall on a downed man with their full avoirdupois. In 1905, arguably the sport’s most violent year ever, 18 players were killed on the field and 159 seriously injured, the fatalities coming mostly from brain concussions, spinal injuries, and body blows, according to John Sayle Watterson’s College Football: History, Spectacle, Controversy. "I saw a Yale man throttle—literally throttle—Kernan, so that he dropped the ball," wrote an observer of the 1902 Harvard-Yale game, quoted in Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession, by Mark F. Bernstein. "The two hands reached up in plain view of every one—and all saw but the umpire—and choked and choked; such a man would cheat at your cardtable."

ben tillman said...

Sorry -- forgot the link to the Harvard Magazine article:

http://harvardmagazine.com/2003/09/first-and-100.html

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The disbelievers - have they never read Wodehouse?

Anonymous said...

"The disbelievers - have they never read Wodehouse? "

Same, I forgot the book but I remember a strong-gripped golf champion woman in there somewhere.

On googling, I realize that I haven't read much of wodehouse.

And on refreshing my memory it was Nero Wolfe that I was thinking of.

Auntie Analogue said...

Jordan Baker is Fitzgerald's precursor to Tom Wolfe's "boys with breasts."

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/baseball-no-hitters-are-on-the-rise-and-now-its-time-to-ask-why/2012/06/14/gJQA5FC4cV_story.html

Anonymous said...

On the farms, women rode horses, used guns, plowed fields, hunted, and fought Injuns.

gumney said...

what rom and obam have in common:

no bain, no gain.

Anonymous said...

On the farms, women rode horses, used guns, plowed fields, hunted, and fought Injuns.

They mostly cooked and cleaned.

If you've ever been on a traditional farm, you know that cooking for a family would take up most of the day, leaving time for little else besides cleaning.

Anonymous said...

"They mostly cooked and cleaned."

Vera Miles in THE SEARCHERS was one tough girl. And the woman in RED RIVER fought Injuns.

Anonymous said...

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/are-jews-really-an-under-represented-group-at-new-york-colleges/258386/

Anonymous said...

"On the farms, women rode horses, used guns, plowed fields, hunted, and fought Injuns."

They mostly cooked and cleaned.

If you've ever been on a traditional farm, you know that cooking for a family would take up most of the day, leaving time for little else besides cleaning.



Eh. My grandmother grew up on a farm without any brothers. She and her sisters not only cooked and cleaned, they also did farm work and shot animals for food and for pest control (Granny was a damn good shot), butchered hogs, etc.

Don't think they fought any injuns, though.

Anonymous said...

So three lived long lives and one died young (42). I wonder how many children they had. Higher socio-economic white women are not having enough children these days.

Anonymous said...

Ben Tillman's post reminds me of the story about George (The Gipper) Gipp, who spent most of his days at Notre Dame boozing and playing cards, offering his services to Fielding Yost at Michigan, as he felt he was underpaid by Knute Rockne.

Daniel, Class of 2012 said...

How ignorant! Don't you know that womyn were slaves oppressed by the white male hegemonic patriarchy until the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s? They were kept in the dark as slaves and treated like animals for thousands and thousands and thousands of years!! At least I read MY history book in class, Sailor you doofus.

peterike said...

The frenzy to win football games drove colleges to recruit ringers—older roughnecks who had merely a nodding acquaintance with academic life—to play.

So the Ivy League elites were sleazy con artists even in 1900.

as said...

What a fantastic cover.

Anonymous said...

http://takimag.com/article/squealing_versus_killing_andrew_napolitano/print#axzz1xqnA3SM5

Bush's illegal tortures were bad but Obama's illegal murders are cool.

Anonymous said...

the new terminolgy: illegal alien youths are called 'dream act' kids by the media. obama bribes them for votes but it's called 'reprieve'.

cons won't say anything out of fear of Jewish media's smear campaigns against 'racists'.

Anonymous said...

"Don't think they fought any injuns, though."

cuz her mother done beat them.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tnr.com/article/film/103417/the-dictator-sacha-baron-cohen-fascism-democracy

DPG said...

The full court press is on to try to import/legalize as many Democratic voters as possible.

I read the following statistic and immediately said to myself, "That cannot be true":

"...with 31.5 percent of science and engineering graduates coming from Latino backgrounds, Obama’s decision could add 252,000 new scientists."
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/15/500354/obama-immigration-economy/

So I dug. It turns out the writer badly misinterpreted the statistic (I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt that it was unintentional). It is not 31.5 percent of all STEM degrees that go to Hispanics, but rather 31.5 percent of all degrees earned by Hispanics are STEM. Still, I found that number to be high. I turned to the original source.

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10300/pdf/tab22.pdf

36,402 of 115,279 degrees earned by Latinos are in science and engineering, which is 31.5%. However, 20,880 of those are in Pyschology or Social Sciences. 15,522 are in the physical sciences, only 13.5% of the total.

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics, and then a few layers of hell below that, there's politicized statistics.

Paul Mendez said...

How could women have been allowed to even play sports before Title IX, much less to have been encouraged to play by countless magazine covers?

Title IX was crucial to getting young women interested in sports. Just as government funding was crucial to the success of Edison and the Wright brothers.

pat said...

Didn't you write a column years ago about how all the women golfers were lesbians. In this I seem to remember you seperated them from women tennis players of whom only about half were lesbians.

Were these twenties lady golfers also sapphics?

Albertosaurus

pat said...

It must mean something when the readership references their familiarity with farm life by citing old movies they once saw.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Obaman bypasses Congress and goes for UNDOCUMENTED LEGISLATION in favor of illegal aliens.

Anonymous said...

All four of the debutantes married wealthy and prominent people, and their descendants are the classic "Top Out of Sight".

Right now women's golf is riddled with Asians from lower backgrounds.

Extremely little is known about Yani Tseng's background, which probably means she comes from humbler backgrounds.

Se Ri Park, the first Asian female golfer of note, was daughter of a small-time thug, who often took his daughter to practice in cemeteries.

Other Korean female golfers mostly come from lower classes as well. Their parents think their golfer daughter is their lotto ticket and spare no expense.

Woman's golf should once be reserved to Top Out-of Sight women, so the proles would have one glance of them, and clean out the Asians.

Kylie said...

"'On the farms, women rode horses, used guns, plowed fields, hunted, and fought Injuns."

They mostly cooked and cleaned.

If you've ever been on a traditional farm, you know that cooking for a family would take up most of the day, leaving time for little else besides cleaning."


I think you two commenters are talking about two different kinds of farms. Women certainly pitched in to do outdoor work when their men were away or indisposed on small family farms like the Ingalls and Wilders had (according to Laura). Also, cooking was pretty primitive. While sausage and cheese making took up a lot of time, I get the impression that small farm families ate a lot of food like cold mush sliced and fried or cornbread and biscuits, which wouldn't take too much time to prepare.

On larger farms, of course, with several helpers to feed, yes, I'm sure more extensive cooking was done, such as Willa Cather recounts in Jim Burden's grandmother doing My Antonia.

Anonymous said...

Obama is not an American president in any way except on paper.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/06/15/obama_illegal_immigrations_are_americans_in_every_way_except_on_paper.html

I don't get it. Jews give us Obama, Kagan, Sotomoyor, illegal immigration, and 'gay marriage', but Sailer prefers Jews over Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

burglars and trespassers are now 'undocumented guests'. and rapists are 'undocumented lovers'.

Anonymous said...

19th century women playing tennis

http://www.tennisite.org/ancienthistory

Anonymous said...

"If you've ever been on a traditional farm, you know that cooking for a family would take up most of the day, leaving time for little else besides cleaning."


If you'd ever been on at traditional farm, you would know that the work gets done by whoever is there to do it. My mother grew up on such a farm. She was the oldest of eight and 16 years older than the only boy. The girls did all of the farm work because mom was nearly always pregnant or nursing a baby. My mother really really wanted to be in the house doing the "women's" work. Her father informed her that there was no women's/men's work. There was only work. And she better get her jeans on and get out there and help with the harvest or she would get the beating of her life.

Anonymous said...

Steve, did you hear about the new charges against Lance Armstrong for doping?

David said...

>Sailer prefers Jews over Palestinians.<

And recently blamed any noticeable unpleasant characteristics of modern Jews on their erstwhile assimilation in Germany. It's the Germans' fault.

Like Sowell blames any noticeable unpleasant characteristics of American blacks on their presumed imitating of Irish and/or Scottish and/or Appalachian whites (see his book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals"). It's the white man's fault again.

Is narcissistic self-flagellation a characteristic of the modern white gentile, and if so, why? Perhaps we can blame it on...oh, I don't know...Canadians? Presbyterians?

Drunk Idiot said...

pat (Albertosaurus) said...

"It must mean something when the readership references their familiarity with farm life by citing old movies they once saw."

Supposedly important feminist deep-thinkers have been skirting by with this type of "evidence" to back up their cultural criticisms for years.

Third Wave feminists are particularly egregious offenders.

Need evidence to support your claim that, before Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem came along, American women were enslaved by white males who presided over an oppressive, anti-woman patriarchy?

Just cite Don Draper.

Need evidence to support your claim that in Eisenhower's AmeriKKKa, the white male patriarchy chained women into chastity belts (figurative or otherwise) while they boozed, caroused and whored it up in plain sight every night?

Just cite Don Draper.

But don't make the mistake of thinking that young feminists who write in the trendy, "new media" have a monopoly on the tactic: older feminists play the game just as well. Need evidence to support your claim that today's young American white males are creepy, perpetually adolescent losers who are causing the downfall of society because, rather than doing their duty and "manning up" (i.e., putting a ring on 30something single girls like your daughter and her rapidly aging, Manhattan ex-party girl friends), they insist on hanging out in bars, playing video games, and picking up slutty party girls (unlike your daughter and her friends)?

Just cite Seth Rogan characters from Jud Apatow movies.

Anonymous said...

"I don't get it. Jews give us Obama, Kagan, Sotomoyor, illegal immigration, and 'gay marriage', but Sailer prefers Jews over Palestinians."

Maybe because Jews have "given" the world Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, St. Paul, Spinoza, Fritz Haber, Niels Bohr,Max Born, etc. Palestinian contributions to world civilization have been somewhat... lacking in comparison.

Syon

TGGP said...

David, Sailer was arguing that Jewish accomplishments following emancipation were inspired by the competent & organized Germans they lived among. The Slavic contrast was not a very positive one.

Anonymous said...

Maybe because Jews have "given" the world Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, St. Paul, Spinoza, Fritz Haber, Niels Bohr,Max Born, etc. Palestinian contributions to world civilization have been somewhat... lacking in comparison.

Syon,
Don't forget John von Neumann, Richard Feynman, Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam. Of course neither of these is an exhaustive list nor are they intended to be, but few things show the anti-Jewish animus of the WN's here like their biased selectivity in the lists of Jews they cite, the attributes of Jews on which they like to fixate or the supposed actions of Jews. These are always bad and most of the time things in which Jews may have been over-represented but which are not characteristic of all Jews. In the WN world, if one Jew does something bad or thinks something bad, all Jews are responsible. On the other hand, they would never apply that standard to themselves.

Anonymous said...

In the WN world, if one Jew does something bad or thinks something bad, all Jews are responsible. On the other hand, they would never apply that standard to themselves.

I'm lost, what does this have to do with women's golf? Seems insecure and anxious, no need to be that way.

Anonymous said...

"In the WN world, if one Jew does something bad or thinks something bad, all Jews are responsible. On the other hand, they would never apply that standard to themselves."

not a bad strategy. That's why it happens in real world to whites.

Steve Sailer said...

"What a fantastic cover."

People had style in the 1920s. I suspect the 1930s would have been even better if there had been any money. You can get some idea what 1930s architecture would have looked like if there had been any building in the 1930s from the sets for Fred Astaire movies.

David said...

>Don't forget John von Neumann, Richard Feynman, Edward Teller<

Ah, Feynman and Teller, who helped to give us the Hell Bomb.

I'd say the best argument is that Jewish contributions are a net wash. There are some who would claim net negative.

Besides, people who don't contribute to the world by some arbitrary standard shouldn't be actively exterminated, just left alone. Pretty radical concept these days, everywhere in the world.

Anonymous said...

David:"I'd say the best argument is that Jewish contributions are a net wash. There are some who would claim net negative."

Some people say the same things about the British: Newton, Adam Smith, Bentham, John Stuart Mill, etc. To many leftists and crown and altar conservatives, the British are the devils of humanity.

David:"Besides, people who don't contribute to the world by some arbitrary standard shouldn't be actively exterminated, just left alone. Pretty radical concept these days, everywhere in the world."

MMM, I don't see much sign of the Palestinians being "exterminated."

Arbitrary standard: Contributions to science are the only standard that is not arbitrary...unless you are a Boasian anthropologist.

Syon

Sean said...

"Fashionable" . Fashion is about women trying to attract men. Look at the illustration, very slim hipped, broad shouldered, lanky and without curves (never mind where she is holding the handle), and long face. Flapper clothes must be the the least feminine style of modern times. Instead of hair she has a close fitting cap.

Why would women be dressing like that to attract men ?

The urinary estrogen theory. Part III

JSM said...

"Eh. My grandmother grew up on a farm without any brothers. She and her sisters not only cooked and cleaned, they also did farm work and shot animals for food and for pest control (Granny was a damn good shot), butchered hogs, etc."

My Grammy, while still a spinster, homesteaded *by herself.* Now, true, she had 3 brothers ranching nearby who gave her a hand at calving and branding time, but the rest she did all by her lonesome.

Story is, in the early 20th century there were no young White men in western Nebraska, all of them having been marched to the Great War in Europe and buried there. So Grammy wrote to her penpal in NY asking her to go to the immigration depot and see if there were any single Catholic men getting off the boat.

The friend complied.

Story is, when Grandpappy heard about Gramma's 600 acres and 100 head of cows, he said, "Write and tell her I'll be out on the next train."



"Don't think they fought any injuns, though."

Story is Great-Grammy (mom of Grammy the spinster homesteader) *shot* an Injun. Now, to be completely forthright, it was a drunken Injun just wandered off the res looking for more hooch -- and it was in the foot she shot him -- but, hey.