Here is a pair of bookends that almost certainly represents Gertrude Ederle. Ms. Ederle was one of the most celebrated female athletes of the twentieth century. Between 1921 and 1925, she held 29 US freestyle national and world titles. At the 1924 Olympic Games she won three medals in swimming. In 1926, at the age of 20, she was the first woman to swim the English channel, through rain and heavy swells and finishing in a record time that lasted until 1950. She was greeted with a ticker tape parade and a crowd of 2 million when she returned to New York City after the channel swim. President Calvin Coolidge called her “America’s Best Girl.” She made a movie short, “Swim, Girl, Swim”. about herself. Later she claimed to have invented the bikini style by wearing a cut-down swimsuit. Today she remains a feminist icon, an inspiration to all female athletes the world over. “People said women couldn’t swim the Channel but I proved they could.”
We purchased this pair in December 2010 on eBay. It is unmarked, but we attribute it to Armor Bronze. It was probably sold in about 1926, at the height of her fame. The pair is 4 inches high and 8.5 inches wide in electroformed bronze.