Home

This might just be the most unexpected “sports” image that I’ve come across in my exploration of early French women’s magazines– upper class women playing ping pong in their home in 1902. Of course, these aren’t just any women– they are Yvonne and Marie-Louise de Pfeffel,  French ping ping champions. That’s right– long before Venus and Serena, there were sister (table) tennis stars  lighting up the Paris circuit!

The accompanying article explains the origins of the game’s “pretty name”  (from the agreeable sound the balls make, “akin to that of javanese gongs”), as well as its simple rules. Not quite as sporty as tennis, its older brother, notes the journalist, le ping-pong has many advantages, namely, that it is weather-proof. Most importantly, with its simple grace, it is “a truly lovely game for young women and girls.”

Femina, April 1, 1902

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s