to compete in the sport of tennis despite the racial barriers of the time
resulted in the creation of the American Tennis Association in 1916. The
Association often held its matches on college campuses such as Hampton
Institute, now Hampton University, and Lincoln University, where adequate
facilities were available. One such championship event was held at Hampton in
the year, 1932. At the conclusion of the tournament, a group of tennis players,
who were also bridge enthusiasts, suggested having a duplicate bridge match in
the evening as a form of relaxation. This event, coupled with impetus from the
Cromwell School of Contract Bridge in New York City, marked the beginning of
the American Bridge Association. Dr. M.E. Dubissette became the first president of
the ABA and the first National Bridge Tournament was held in Buckroe Beach,
Virginia in 1933.
eminent for the newly formed ABA. In 1936, the ABA merged with the Eastern
Bridge League, a group of New York City bridge clubs. Since this time the ABA
has evolved into eight sections:
Great Lakes, Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic, Northwestern, Southern, Southwestern, and Western.
As the ABA
continued to grow, attention focused on the need for a permanent home. The
ideal of a permanent location was accomplished when a building, which now
houses the ABA National Office and ABA memorabilia, was purchased in Atlanta,
Georgia in 1994.
inception, the ABA seeks to recognize its achievers and high ranking players.
The Merit Award is given yearly to either an ABA or non-ABA member who has
rendered meritorious service to the ABA within the previous year. Life
memberships are awarded yearly to individuals who have been ABA members for at
least twenty years and who have a record of outstanding service at the local
sectional and national levels. Other prestigious awards are granted to those
players amassing the most points within a calendar year.
highlighting the achievements of its own, the ABA also identifies with the
larger social arena in which it functions. In 1963, the ABA established the F.
Alberta Peterson Scholarship Award. This program has now been incorporated into
a broader arm of the American Bridge Association Education and Charitable
Foundation, established in 2002. The Foundation mission is to engage in
educational and charitable activities, provide scholarships, and facilitate
learning opportunities for young and adult citizens.
history of the American Bridge Association is recorded and preserved in several
ways. In the 1980s, the American Bridge Association selected the Schomburg
Center in New York City to officially house its memorabilia. The ABA National
Headquarters showcases artifacts and catalogs ABA documents. In 2005, the
American Bridge Association published Defining Moments, a historical
package which includes a written chronicle, DVD of oral history, and playing
cards. These components depict the movements, forces, and people who helped
shape the history of the ABA. The entire package or its components may be
obtained from the ABA National Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia