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Athletics and Physical Education at Bryn Mawr College, 1885-1929

Student Athletic Culture: Basketball

Basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891. In 1893, Senda Berenson, Director of the Gymnasium at Smith College, adapted the game for women so that it required less exertion1. It caught on quickly among college women, and at Bryn Mawr basketball soon became the most popular competitive sport.

Since the introduction of basket-ball at Bryn Mawr, the growth of the game here has justified the hope of its permanence. It has taken the first place in athletic sports and, especially in the spring, forms an all-absorbing out-of-door interest. The excitement culminates in the match games between the four classes. Basket-ball has developed from a general scrimmage for the ball to a game guided by scientific principles, and affords many opportunities for pretty play in long, swift throws, clean catches and rapid interference2.


1. Melnick, Ralph. Senda Berenson: The Unlikely Founder of Women's Basketball. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.
2. J. C. G. '98, "The Athletic Field." The Lantern. Philadelphia: Avil Printing Co., 1897, pp. 146-147.