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Postage Stamp to Honour “Little Mo”, the Tennis Star

05 Feb 2019  Tue

The USPS will be releasing a Forever Postage Stamp to commemorate the tennis legend Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly on 23rd April. The 5-foot-4-inch sportswoman won 9 Grand Slams in three years. She won all four Grand Slams - the Australian Championships, the French Championships, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, in 1953 at the age of 18. She became the first “woman” to achieve this feat in one year. That’s when she earned the title “Little Mo”.

She was badly injured when she met with an accident while riding her horse in 1954. Even then, she continued playing tennis. Maureen died at the young age of 34 due to ovarian cancer in 1969. The year 2019 marks the 50th death anniversary. Three other stamps honouring sportswomen who excelled in swimming, downhill skiing and track and field will also be released. All four stamps in the series were supposed to be issued in 2016, but it took 3 years for completing all the formal procedures. Connolly’s daughters were very supportive and played a very important role in quickening this process.

The stamp would be formally released at Southern Methodist University. Connolly studied and also participated in Dallas Tennis Championships in the 1970s and 1980s here. The stamp depicts an image of the oil-on-linen painting featuring Connolly hitting her famous low volley. Gregory Manchess had made this painting by referring to a black-and-white photograph taken in 1952.

Maureen Connolly got married to Norman Brinker when she was 20 years old in 1955. Brinker was working at Jack in the Box hamburger chain in San Diego at that time. Connolly became a mother of two by 1959. Brinker decided to expand his business and the family shifted to Dallas in 1962. Connolly’s daughters were 12 and 10 when she died. Her headstone has two crossed tennis rackets, Maureen’s birth and death years, and the inscription “A Gallant Lady Wife Mother Champion.” Even though Connolly was one of the most popular and talked-about personalities in the 1950s, she always prioritised her family life more than anything else.

Visit philamart to view and purchase variety of stamps from all over the world. Image Courtesy: The USPS

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