A Guide to the Gladys Heldman Papers, 1971-2002
Born in New York City, Gladys Medalie Heldman (1922-2003) is best known as an author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and advocate for women’s tennis. Heldman’s father, George Z. Medalie was appointed as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1931 and to the New York Court of Appeals in 1945. Heldman graduated from Stanford University in 1942 and received her Master’s degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1943. Shortly after graduation from Stanford, she married Julius Heldman, a former United States junior tennis champion who eventually became an executive at Shell Oil in Houston. After the birth of her two daughters, Carrie and Julie, Heldman began playing tennis in Houston. In 1954, she ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the Southwest, and competed in the United States Championships and Wimbledon.
In addition to playing tennis, Heldman also founded the magazine Tennis World, first published in 1953. Although she sold the magazine to CBS Publication in 1972, Heldman continued to be involved in tennis professionally, especially as an advocate for women’s tennis. In 1970, she defied the USTLA (United States Tennis Lawn Association) and organized the Virginia Slims Circuit to give female tennis players the same opportunities as men to compete and win prize money. Eventually, the USTLA recognized her efforts and made her director of their women’s tour in 1972.
In 1979, Heldman was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. That same year she published a novel entitled, The Harmonetics Investigation. She retired with her husband, Julius, to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Meyer, Bernard S., et al. The History of the New York Court of Appeals,1932-2003. (New York: Columbia University, 2006), 22-23.
Jewish Virtual Library, "Gladys Heldman,"http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Heldman.html. (accessed October 25, 2010).
The Gladys Heldman Papers, 1971-2002, document Heldman’s career as the founder of Tennis Magazine and the Virginia Slims Circuit tennis tour, as well as a writer, author, and philanthropist. The collection contains correspondence, notes, magazines, newspaper clippings, photographs, published articles, and drafts of articles and of Heldman’s novel, The Harmonetics Investigation, as well as a great deal of personal correspondence with friends and acquaintances, especially greeting cards, postcards, invitations , and thank you notes. Financial documents pertaining to the Virginia Slims Circuit tour from 1971-1973 are also included.
This collection is open for research use.
These papers are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Gladys Heldman Papers, 1971-2002, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers