Brooks Avenue

Matilda Brooks (1860-1940) hailed from a well-to-do Brattleboro, VT family. Her father went to San Francisco in 1852 to run a paper company, and that’s where Matilda was born, but she grew up back in Brattleboro. She married Francis G. Ryan (1855-1898) in 1885 and within five years they relocated to Santa Monica, with Francis partnering with the illustrious Abbot Kinney on several ventures. The Ryans (and Kinney) were tennis fanatics, and their daughters Alice and Elizabeth soon took up the game; in fact Elizabeth “Bunny” Ryan (1892-1979) became one of the world’s greatest doubles players, setting records at Wimbledon broken only by Billie Jean King (one day after Elizabeth’s death). In 1899, four months after Francis’s untimely passing, Matilda married Englishman T. H. Dudley, who had been a pallbearer at Francis’s funeral. They then sold Francis’s beachside property to Kinney, who named Brooks and Dudley avenues on it in 1902. The two Ryan daughters eventually moved to England and Matilda regularly accompanied the never-married Bunny on her European tennis tours. During one such tour, T.H., back in Santa Monica, fell in love with another tennis champ: the Dudleys divorced in 1922. Matilda moved to England near the end of her life to be near daughter Alice. She died in Leicester – her ex-husband’s hometown.