First American to Win Wimbledon
TILDEN, William (1893-1953). Professional tennis player who dominated tennis during the golden age of the 20’s. For seven years he never lost a match of significance. He was the first to win Wimbledon, which he did three times. In 1950, the nation’s sportswriters voted him the outstanding athlete of the 1st half of the 20th century. He received twice the number of votes over Babe Ruth. His career finished with seventy titles including seven American national championships. Of all his proteges during a period of 40 years, Arthur Anderson was Tilden’s dearest. Tilden called him “the only real son I ever had”. Tilden left everything he owned to Anderson and his mother. Tilden’s career came to a crashing end when he disclosed he was a homosexual. Tilden was sentenced to jail for a second time for a new molesting incident on Feb. 10, 1949 his 56th birthday. He was released for Christmas on Dec. 18, 1949. Tilden was caught with Arthur Anderson alone in his apartment, a violation of his probation.
He writes: “ Did I understand you to say USC would play in the Rose Bowl?
Didn’t you mean the toilet bowl”
Autograph letter signed, two and a half pages, in pencil, from prison to Marrion Anderson and her son. Dated “Sunday”. Tilden writes: “Dear Marrion and Bratto, Today was really swell and I enjoyed every minute of it. I hated to say goodbye but Friday is not far off. I am so pleased at Bratto’s tennis. Beating Flutz and Jack Kerr this week shows how he is progressing and I could tell that he is becoming much more sure and confident of his own game which is so needed. I feel funny in my insides, I think I have a touch of the bug that is running around but I’m sure that in a day or two I’ll be OK. Don’t worry about me. I’ll try to have something of interest tomorrow to write to you I hope but at the moment I am debating whether to loose my lunch or mail this letter. I think the letter will win. By the way Babe, I hear that USC has a football team but I can’t find any record of it in the press this year. Do you know if it’s true? Did I understand you to say USC would play in the Rose Bowl? Didn’t you mean the Toilet Bowl? Well, provided I can walk down to mail this without loosing my lunch-you will get it Tuesday. I love you both more every week. Be careful & I’ll be watching for you on Friday. Always, your Bill”. In very fine condition with original envelope postmarked Nov. 7, 1949. His name “W.T. Tilden” is written in pencil along with his return address on the envelope. Choice personal content from prison....$495.00