Natalie Cohen

A lifelong lover of tennis, Natalie Cohen made her mark on the sport as both an athlete and a trusted referee. Cohen earned a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley before working under the Pulitzer Prize–winning sports writer Ralph McGill at the Atlanta Constitution. From 1936–1940, she worked for the Civil Service Commission district office, then for the South Atlantic Engineer Division from 1941–1967. She then became the first executive secretary of the Southern Tennis Association from 1967–1980. While working full–time, Cohen maintained a remarkable second career in professional tennis, winning thirteen Georgia State Women’s Open Double Championships and a number of other tournaments. She was ranked number two in doubles by the STA in 1954. Cohen was also a certified umpire for over fifty years, the first woman to serve as chair umpire for men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Tennis Championships, and the first woman to umpire a professional match during the Jack Kramer tours in the 1950s. The STA repeatedly honored her for her work as an umpire, and she received a Presidential Sports Award from Gerald Ford.


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Natalie Cohen (1912-2007) began playing tennis at age eight. Described as a "tennis legend," she has been involved in the game ever since, first as a player and then as an umpire.

Institution: Private collection.

Date of Birth

Atlanta, GA
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Natalie Cohen." (Viewed on November 17, 2019) <>.


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