Mystery Photo #33: Champions 1913

Girls Champions 1913 by Louis Dworshak 1911

Who are these girls? What basketball team were they on? Why were they in a photo shot in 1911 on a postcard mailed in 1911 with “Champions 1913” written on the ball?

What we do know, based on the signature on the image, is the photo was taken by Duluth photographer Louis Dworshak, owner of the Dworshak Studio at 8 N. Second Ave. W.

Interesting side note: Louis Dworshak was the father of Lois Dworshak, a famous ice skater who appeared in the 1941 film Ice-Capades.

Lois-Dworshak Jitterbugs

But back to the postcard …

Girls Champions 1913 by Louis Dworshak 1911 back

The postcard was mailed in May of 1911 to Miss Mildred Smith of Waltham, Mass.:

My dearest Mil:

I am off for one more day of misery. Pick out the homeliest here and it is I. I was down to see “Edith” last evening and had a nice time. She has never never talked so seriously before. She gave me a list of books to read. Please write a line.

Goodbye lovingly, Loddie.



about 8 years ago

Perhaps the first line is "I am off for one more day of misery."   After all, it was springtime in Duluth.


about 8 years ago

Well, in 1911 in at least our region, girls basketball was a new thing, and a quick overview of searchable Duluth newspapers tells me it was fairly controversial.

In Tower MN, a girls' basketball team had just been formed for the first time in 1911, and another brand new team had just been formed in Gilbert. In January of that year, the new teams were only practicing, and played other Range teams for the first time later that season. In Duluth, newspapers reported on games conducted between classes within the high school, which suggests that the girls teams were not yet playing teams from other schools. Possibly the idea of taking the train all the way up north to play teams on the Range was too far? Unimaginable given the controversy that they existed at all? In November, 75 girls turned out at Central for the basketball teams, and were told the rules of the gym, possibly for the first time. 

Duluth newspapers reported that year that in Sparta WI, the school board banned girls' basketball, saying it was "not conducive to good morals." In August 1911, Manitowoc schools did the same, saying the game was dangerous and "too violent to be beneficial or healthful to schoolgirls." In Biwabik in September, the board ruled to disband the new girls  basketball team, and a newspaper article in the DNT noted that there had been "considerable trouble over the team" the previous year. 

So, I would surmise that the postcard is a response on the part of enthusiastic local girls who were looking forward to the idea of actual school teams where they actually got to play other schools, which had not yet happened.


about 8 years ago

I found a copy of this picture in the 1911 Duluth Central High School Zenith yearbook. The 1913 refers to these students' graduation year. They were sophomores in 1911.

From the Zenith:

The girls of '13 also contribute no small share of fame to athletics. last year, their first year at basketball, they made a good record, defeating both the Juniors and Seniors. This year they won the championship. And so, with both championships, the Sophomore class stands foremost in the game of basket ball. The of members of the team are: Forwards - Mildred Miller and Eunice Whipple Centers - Ella Currier and Marion Todd Guards - Winifred Hopkins and Florence Whipple
It's hard to tell which of those names might engender the nickname Loddie. The photo in the Zenith shows the Dworskak name in white and doesn't include the year. The postcard looks like a photo of a photo, you can see the mount.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Well now we not only know the champions of 1911 girls basketball, we know the champions of 2016 history mystery solving -- Mark, Heidi and Mags.

Mark, you are correct, it has to be "misery," and I have edited the post to indicate that.

And hey, shouldn't it be easy to pick out Loddie? Just find the homeliest one. Oh Loddie, Loddie.

Thanks all around!

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