Cold War scholarship presents women’s importance to American propaganda and cultural diplomacy programs as limited to their roles as wives and mothers on the home front. This paper argues that female tennis players who served as goodwill ambassadors for the State Department represented public and vigorous aspects of American women’s lives outside the realm of domesticity. Cold War goodwill tours were based on barnstorming exhibition journeys made by the popular and influential Alice Marble during World War II. Doris Hart and Althea Gibson, both of whom battled adversity—physical disability and racial discrimination, respectively—led a cadre of highly skilled and accomplished women amateurs on global tours in the 1950s. These sportive peregrinations enabled players to enhance their skills, travel the world, and vie for titles while serving their country. Still, players were subject to the gendered and racialized politics, pressures, and restrictions faced by American women at large.


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pp. 289-309
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