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HISTORY

The geneology of the NSWTA began in 1977 with three forward looking women Nancy Reed, Betty Pratt and Charlene Grafton. Betty, in a recent conversation, said that she had thought for a long while that "senior" women competitive players should be supported by their own organization - an advocate group for what was then a growing constituency of women over 35 interested in playing National Championships. She said she thought that "This was a way to get women out of the kitchen." Nancy led the charge and the Senior Womens Tennis Association was born. Nancy became the first President, serving two terms. Our first magazines were published during Nancy's terms with a limited edition of several mimeographed pages. (Some of you reading this might have to look this word up on Google).

 

Gladys Heldman followed Nancy as President and was well-known not only as NSWTA president, but founder of the World Tennis magazine. Along with Billie Jean King, Gladys was a grass roots organizer of the women's professional tennis tour. During her administration, the word "National" was added on to the name of the Senior Women's Tennis Association. During these early years the NSWTA was incorporated in the state of Florida as a not-for-profit corporation. Because there was little money in the coffers, Dr Hugh McCain of Winter Park, where Nancy and Mary Ann lived, provided the funds for the incorporation process. Mary Ann Plante was the first executive director and produced the newsletter, until Jane Crofford became president in 1983. The first annual meeting was held in Houston during the National Championships, which was then and still remains the largest women's Senior National in the country.

 

During the NSWTA's infancy, Nancy, Mary Ann and Kay Merrill organized and ran the first SWTA  tournament (40,50,60,70) at the Maitland Field Club in Maitland, Florida with $1000 prize money. Not long after this tournament, Nancy and Mary Ann formed what is now the Les Grandes Dames tour.

 

The NSWTA original logo designed with a lady in a long tennis dress was supposedly taken from a picture of May Sutton Bundy. It was then replaced by the current logo during Mary Mclean's presidency (2003-2004).