What the Accepted Origin Story Leaves Out

It is impossible to overstate Constance Applebee’s importance with regards to the early history of college field hockey in the United States. Her boundless energy and evangelical zeal for the sport changed the landscape of female athletics in this country forever. But the idea that field hockey didn’t exist on college campuses in the United States before her arrival in 1901 turns out to be not entirely true. Continue reading “What the Accepted Origin Story Leaves Out”


Constance Applebee at Mount Holyoke

Almost every retelling of Constance Applebee’s story that I have found includes Mount Holyoke with Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Radcliffe and Wellesley as part of her original circuit when introducing field hockey to American women’s colleges in 1901. But I thought it was odd that I hadn’t been able to find any contemporary accounts of her visit there while the other schools had proved relatively easy to confirm. Among the only references I’d found regarding hockey at Holyoke in that era was a less-than-promising nugget from the November 1904 issue of The Mount Holyoke, which read: “Field hockey seems to have died out here; in many other schools it is played regularly.” Continue reading “Constance Applebee at Mount Holyoke”

2014 NCAA Field Hockey Championships

The NCAA Division I and Division III field hockey championship games were held Sunday, and both were won by the same schools that won the very first NCAA championships 33 years earlier.

The University of Connecticut topped Syracuse, 1-0, in College Park, Maryland, to capture their second consecutive national title and fourth overall. In 1981, the Huskies defeated top-seeded Massachusetts, 4-1, to become the first women’s team to win an NCAA Division I championship in any sport. Continue reading “2014 NCAA Field Hockey Championships”

Fact-Checking a 113-Year-Old Story

Very soon after beginning my research I came across several versions of the same basic story regarding field hockey’s arrival in the United States. The sport was quite popular among men and women in England during the late 19th Century, the story goes, but it wasn’t played at all in the United States until an English woman named Constance Applebee arrived in 1901. Applebee attended the summer session in physical training at Harvard that year, and staged a field hockey demonstration for her fellow students in a courtyard outside the Hemenway Gymnasium. That fall she was invited to six of the Seven Sisters colleges in the northeastern United States to teach field hockey, at which time it took off as a women’s college sport in this country. Continue reading “Fact-Checking a 113-Year-Old Story”