Classic Covers: Women in Sports in the 1900s

Did you think that ladies in the early part of the 20th Century just did needlework and played piano? I was surprised to find some of our earliest Post covers depicted the feminine side of several sports.

Woman with Basketball by Carol Aus

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Woman With Basketball by Carol Aus

Woman with Basketball by Carol Aus
Woman with BasketballCarol AusNovember 20, 1909

Dr. James Naismith is credited with inventing basketball in 1891, and apparently it didn’t take long for the ladies to try their hand at the sport. A Norwegian artist named Carol Aus (1868-1934), about whom little is known, painted this young player for a 1909 Post cover.

Woman Playing Tennis by George Brehm

Woman Playing Tennis by George Brehm
Woman Playing TennisGeorge BrehmAugust 3, 1907

We have plenty of cover art showing a pretty lady posing with a tennis racket or other sports equipment, but an action shot like this tennis player makes a person wonder how the artist did it. A person might also wonder how the lady was so active in a long skirt. This is from 1907.

Lady Fishing by Harrison Fisher

Lady Fishing by Harrison Fisher
Lady FishingHarrison FisherAugust 16, 1902

We have dozens of covers depicting the art of fishing, the first of which was Grover Cleveland fishing in 1901. The second, in 1902, was of a lady reeling one in! Harrison Fisher was a big name in Post covers, doing nearly 80 between 1900 and 1915.

The Finals and Alice Gray by Pete Fountain

The Finals and Alice Gray by Pete Fountain
The Finals and Alice GrayPete FountainMarch 21, 1903

We have numerous depictions of the great game of golf, also. This is one of the earliest, from 1903. Maybe they couldn’t vote, but women could certainly golf…and fish, hunt, play tennis, basketball and baseball.

Woman Archer by J.J. Gould

Woman Archer by JJ Gould
Woman ArcherJJ GouldJune 1, 1907

This is another action painting. Early Post artist J.J. Gould went for verisimilitude in this one from 1907. The lady looks like she knows what she’s doing.

Woman on Horseback by Philip R. Goodwin

Woman on Horseback by Philip R. Goodwin
Woman on HorsebackPhilip R. GoodwinJune 9, 1906

Hundreds of covers depict a lady reading, holding flowers or a fan, or simply looking lovely in a beautiful gown. This 1906 cover shows many of the fair sex were made of sterner stuff.

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