Blacks@Dartmouth 1775 to 1960

Talley Robert Holmes

Attorney and American Tennis Association Co-Founder

alumnus image

Dartmouth College A.B.

Class of 1910

1924 Howard Univ (LL.B.)

Born  1889  Washington DC

Died 1969 Washington DC

Quotes from Biographical Sources

Talley Robert Holmes, a 1910 graduate of Dartmouth College, was among the founders of the American Tennis Association (ATA) in 1916 and he became the first national champion in 1917. The ATA was formed because the National Tennis Association excluded all people of color at the time. And Holmes was clearly the class of the nation at the time, winning the individual championship four times and claiming the doubles crown eight more times.

A native of Washington, D.C., Holmes had an amazing career outside of tennis. He served as an interpreter and intelligence officer in World War I. Upon returning to Washington, D.C., he taught German, French, Latin, and mathematics in the District school system. While teaching, he studied law at Howard University and received a degree in 1924. Mr. Holmes also owned Whitelaw Hotel, which was the largest hotel available to African-Americans in Washington at the time. All the while, he was laying the groundwork in the ATA Championships, which would eventually crown both Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson as champions.

Holmes died on March 10, 1969 in D.C. at age eighty.

In Memoriam. (May 1969). Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, 61(8), 82-83.

Other source(s)

  1. A Tennis Trailblazer. Retrieved from

Profile image source: Dartmouth Aegis 1910