Scope and Contents
The Constance Applebee papers house the personal papers and memorabilia of Constance Applebee. This collection, which dates from 1898 to 1981, consists of personal memorabilia, correspondence and clippings, books, and Applebee papers, 1898-1981. The collection provides insight both into the private life of Constance Applebee and into women’s physical education in the early 20th century.
The collection is arranged into nine series: “Series I: Personal, 1898-1981”, “Series II: Personal Items, 1898-1981,” “Series III: Memorabilia (non-print), 1898-1981,” “Series IV: Memorabilia (fragile), 1898-1981,” “Series V: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Materials, various,” “Series VI: Miscellaneous Publications, 1898-1961,” “Series VII: Sports Publications, 1900-1980,” “Series VIII: Books (non sports),” “Series IX: Books (sports and health).”
“Series I: Personal, 1898-1981” includes a miscellany of personal items, including, but not limited to, correspondence, thank you letters to Applebee, and citizenship information. “Series II: Personal Items, 1898-1981” contains eight loose physical items, including a whistle, a diploma, two hair bands, and two jackets. “Series III: Memorabilia (non-print), 1898-1981” is comprised of primarily hockey memorabilia: pins, buttons, a miniature hockey stick, and the alumna flag which draped Applebee’s coffin, among other materials. “Series IV: Memorabilia (fragile), 1898-1981” is comprised of eighteen loose items, including a marble cross, a paperweight, jewelry, and plaques. “Series V: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Materials, various” includes, but is not limited to, Applebee’s correspondence with early BMC presidents and with the Seven Sisters Colleges, as well as assorted newspaper clippings from 1911-1967, speeches, athletic notes from 1921, BMC publications, Folk Dance materials from 1928-1932, and images. “Series VI: Miscellaneous Publications, 1898-1961” consists of scrapbooks, yearbooks, and bound magazine volumes. “Series VII: Sports Publications, 1900-1980” contains issues of The Eagle from the 1950s-1980s, issues from The Hockey Annual from 1901-02, issues of The Hockey Field from 1902-1938, and issues of The Sportswoman from 1930-1934. “Series VIII: Books (non sports)” is comprised of miscellaneous books owned by Applebee. “Series IX: Books (sports and health)” is comprised of books owned by Applebee on hockey, other sports, and country dancing.
The academic and physical education of women was a hotly debated topic from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. Constance Applebee introduced field hockey to the United States and was heavily interested in the debate concerning women’s physical education. She taught field hockey at women’s colleges and was a part of the Bryn Mawr College athletic faculty from 1904-1928, first as director of outdoor sports, and later as director of physical education. The personal memorabilia and letters in this collection provide insight into the Applebee’s life and the early physical education department at Bryn Mawr College. Additionally, this collection contains a breadth of other material, including books, magazine publications, and speeches, which would make it a valuable resource to researchers studying physical education for women in the twentieth century.
Biographical / Historical
Constance Applebee, who introduced field hockey to the United States, was born in Essex, England in 1873. While attending Harvard for a summer course in 1901, she demonstrated field hockey during a class discussion of exercise for women. She returned every fall for the following three years to teach hockey at women's colleges, including Bryn Mawr.
In 1904 she became director of outdoor sports at Bryn Mawr and in 1906 she became director of physical education, in 1909 opening the college's health department. She also singlehandedly made Philadelphia the field hockey capital of the US and founded a hockey camp in the Poconos.
Applebee officially left the faculty of Bryn Mawr in 1928, but continued to coach at the college off and on until the age of 97. In 1978 she received a national award from the Association of Girls and Women in Sport, and in January 1980 received the award of merit from the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. She died in 1981 at the age of 107.