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Edith Cummings

Edith Cummings

American socialite and premier amateur golfer
Edith Cummings
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American socialite and premier amateur golfer
Was Socialite Athlete Golfer
From United States of America
Type Sports
Gender female
Birth 26 March 1899, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 1984 (aged 84 years)
Star sign Aries
Edith Cummings
The details (from wikipedia)

Biography

Edith Cummings Munson (March 26, 1899 – November 20, 1984), popularly known as The Fairway Flapper, was an American socialite and one of the premier amateur golfers during the Jazz Age. She was one of the Big Four debutantes in Chicago during World War I. She attained fame in the United States following her 1923 victory in the U.S. Women's Amateur. 

Cummings on the cover of Time magazine in August 1924.

On August 25, 1924, she became the first golfer and first female athlete to appear on the cover of Time magazine. She also was the literary model for the character of Jordan Baker in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.

Early life and school

Cummings was born on March 26, 1899, to David Mark Cummings and his wife Ruth Dexter. She had a younger brother, Dexter, and a younger sister Dorothy who died in infancy in December 1902.

Cummings circa 1920

Cummings had a privileged upbringing and was regarded by the Chicago press as a member of the city's elite "Big Four" debutantes circa World War I. This exclusive quartet consisted of Cummings, Ginevra King, Courtney Letts, and Margaret Carry. The four debutantes often "went to dances and house parties together, and they were seen as a foursome on the golf links and tennis courts at Onwentsia."

Edith's father, David Cummings, was a Yale alumnus and Chicago banker. He paid for her to attend the Westover School, a prestigious finishing school in Middlebury, Connecticut. Edith was in the class of 1917. Though the school had been founded only in 1909 by headmistress Mary Robbins Hillard, the institution attracted young women from many prominent families. Cummings' classmates included fellow Chicago socialite Ginevra King, future philanthropist Katharine Ordway, Isabel Rockefeller (of the Rockefeller family, a granddaughter of William Rockefeller), and Prescott Bush's sisters Mary and Margaret (aunts to U.S. President George H.W. Bush and great aunts to George W. Bush).

F. Scott Fitzgerald

In 1915, while either at Westover School in Connecticut or at Lake Forest, Illinois, Cummings met a young Princeton University student named F. Scott Fitzgerald. He had fallen in love with her close friend and Westover schoolmate Ginevra King. He would later immortalize both of them in his 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald based the character of Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby upon Cummings, just as the character Daisy Buchanan was modeled after Cummings' friend King.

Much like King and Cummings, Buchanan and Baker were wealthy socialites and intimate friends. Baker, à la Cummings, "wore all her dresses like sports clothes — there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon golf courses on clean, crisp mornings." In the novel, Baker is the love interest of the novel's narrator Nick Carraway, and she purportedly cheats at golf, but there is no evidence that Fitzgerald drew this particular detail from Cummings. Fitzgerald reportedly created the name of Cummings' character by combining the names of two car manufacturers, the Jordan Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor Vehicle.

Golf victories

 

 

Edith Cummings (March 26, 1899 – November 1984) was an American socialite and one of the premier amateur golfers of her generation. She was one of the Big Four debutantes in Chicago, at the end of the First World War. 

She became nationally famous following her 1923 victory in the U.S. Women's Amateur. On August 25, 1924, she became the first golfer and first female athlete to appear on the cover of Time magazine.

She also was the literary model for the character of Jordan Baker in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.

Life and career

Edith Cummings was born on March 26, 1899, to David Cummings and Ruth Dexter. Her father was a wealthy Chicago socialite, who sent her to boarding school at the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut. Cummings was in the class of 1917. Though the school had been founded only in 1909, it attracted many young socialites. 

Cummings' classmates included fellow Chicago socialite Ginevra King, future philanthropist Katharine Ordway, Isabel Rockefeller (of the Rockefeller family, a granddaughter of William Rockefeller), and Prescott Bush's sisters Mary and Margaret (aunts to U.S. President George H.W. Bush and great aunts to George W. Bush).

In 1915, Cummings met a young student at Princeton named F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had fallen in love with her friend Ginevra and would later immortalize them both.

Following her graduation in 1917, Cummings pursued tournament golf where she would earn the nickname "the Fairway Flapper". In 1921, she competed in the British Ladies Amateur along with other famous female golfers such as Alexa Stirling and Marion Hollins. The next year Cummings entered the U.S. Women's Amateur, where she was in match play against Glenna Collett, then an 18-year-old out of Rhode Island, who would become known as one of the greatest female golfers of the 1920s. Cummings lost on the final hole. She returned to the tournament the next year. This time, she won, earning her the cover photo on Time magazine, in addition to profiles in Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, and many newspapers. She also won the Women's Western Amateur in 1924

Her literary fame, however, would endure because in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby, the character of Jordan Baker was modeled directly after Cummings, just as the character Daisy Buchanan was modeled after Cummings' friend King. Buchanan and Baker were socialites and friends. Baker "wore all her dresses like sports clothes -- there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon golf courses on clean, crisp mornings," Fitzgerald wrote. In The Great Gatsby, Baker is the love interest of the novel's narrator Nick Carraway. In Gatsby, Baker cheats at golf, although there is no evidence that Fitzgerald drew this detail from Cummings.

Cummings never won another tournament but remained a well-known figure. In 1934, she married a wealthy businessman named Curtis B. Munson and had three daughters, Frances, Marion, and Anne. Munson was later selected by Franklin D. Roosevelt to investigate the sympathies of Japanese-Americans living in the United States just before the U.S. entered World War II. He found very little hostility among the Japanese-American community, but despite the warnings of his Munson Report, Roosevelt pursued a policy of Japanese American internment.

Cummings and Munson largely faded from the spotlight later in life, except for forays into philanthropy. Cummings remained a committed golfer into her 80's. She was enthusiastic about all outdoor activities, especially hunting and fishing. She and her husband traveled extensively throughout their marriage until her husband’s death in 1979. In his honor, she made a significant contribution to the Decatur House renovation in Washington, DC.

Today, the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation funds a number of conservation programs. She has an award named after her, the Edith Cummings Munson Golf Award, given annually to one of the top female collegiate golfers who excels in academics. The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation donates $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the winner's school.

 

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 01 Nov 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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References
http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/1952521/fairway-flapper
https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2012/12/25/where-daisy-buchanan-lived/
https://archive.org/details/perfecthourroman00west
https://archive.org/details/perfecthourroman00west/page/8
http://www.masterworksofgolf.com/ladies/american_ladies.html
https://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/edith-cummings-was-womens-golf-before-michelle-wie-and-nancy-lopez
https://archive.org/details/fscottfitzgerald00matt/page/9
https://books.google.com/books?id=KcHUNkH8-hwC
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https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0521402301
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http://campuspress.yale.edu/yalegolf/topics/players/cummings/
https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cummings-edith-1899-1984
http://chicagotribune.newspapers.com/image/355111021/?terms=edith+cummings+munson
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/magazine/1981/12/06/what-did-you-do-before-the-war-dad/a80178d5-82e6-4145-be4c-4e14691bdb6b/
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