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Marilyn and Edward Fernberger collection on Philadelphia professional and amateur tennis tournaments


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Edward Fernberger (June 4, 1923-August 24, 2009) was the son of Samuel Weiller Fernberger and Eva C. Wallerstein and grew up in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He served in World War II in the United States Army Air Force from 1942 to 1946, and was discharged at the rank of corporal. Towards the end of the war, he served in the South Pacific, including New Guinea and the Philippine Islands. After the war, Edward returned to finish his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he met Marilyn Friedman. Edward married Marilyn R. Friedman on June 21, 1947. They had three children: Edward Jr., James, and Ellen.

Marilyn R. Friedman (August 13, 1927-May 2, 2012) was raised in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, the daughter of David and Edith Friedman. While attending the Philadelphia High School for Girls, she played field hockey and tennis and was on the swim team. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948 with a bachelor's in English and political science.

The Fernbergers shared a love of tennis and became involved with the United States Tennis Association. They started promoting and organizing several youth and adult tournaments and were crucial in turning an amateur men's event into a major men's professional tournament known as the U.S. Pro Indoor. Marilyn and Edward co-chaired the event from 1967 through 1991. Marilyn is also remembered for bringing the Virginia Slims Circuit Tour to Philadelphia. Working as a journalist, consultant, fundraiser, and tennis organizer, Marilyn received numerous awards and was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002. The Fernbergers were also committed to bringing tennis to youth in all of the communities in Philadelphia. Through fundraising work and various non-profit organizations, they provided funding for tennis programs across Philadelphia, including free public park tennis programs.

Edward worked as a real estate developer until his retirement in 1994, all the while spending his "free" time promoting, planning and attending tennis tournaments and events. He had a keen interest in photography and captured images of players, matches, and other tennis-related subjects while attending tournaments. He became so good at it that several of his images were published in World Tennis Magazine and other publications. His collection of more than 100,000 photographs was donated to the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

This large collection consists of Marilyn and Edward Fernberger's records of professional and amateur tennis tournaments held in Philadelphia between 1962 and 1992. Materials include numerous files relating to organization, promotion, finances, players, facilities, and other aspects of tournaments, as well as scrapbooks, scorecards, photographs, posters, audio-visual materials, and ephemera for the Virginia Slims of Philadelphia tournament, the U.S. Pro Indoor, and other tournaments and tennis activities, including the Fernberger's involvement in local youth tennis. There is a small amount of personal material in the collection including family photographs and a school assignment of Edward Fernberger's from when he was a child. The tournament files are organized chronologically. A box list for the collection is available on-site.

Highlights in the collection include numerous photographs and tournament memorabilia. Photographs include tennis stars such as John McEnroe, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Pete Sampras, and others. Ephemera from tournaments includes numerous buttons, badges, parking passes, tickets, press packets, and other materials. There are score cards for several years of the U.S. Pro Indoor tournament throughout the 1970s and 1980s and some for the Virginia Slims of Philadelphia tour in the 1970s. Posters include creative advertisements for the Tennis in Art cocktail party and fundraiser, an art exhibition that preceded the U.S. Pro Indoor tournament, as well as tournament posters.

Gift of Marilyn and Edward Fernberger.; 1997 acquired

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu.
Finding Aid Date
; 2017.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Collection Inventory

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