Bebe Stetson '39

May 2018
Brearley was always there for me. My name is Barbara Brown Stetson, my classmates nicknamed me Bebe for my initials. I was in the class of 1939. Because I was on scholarship, I did not think I should participate in extracurricular activities. When the gym teacher, Miss Carling, found out, she had me on the tennis team the next day. All we had to do was walk across the street from the school entrance and there were five tennis courts next to 10 Gracie Square. I made some of my best friends at Brearley, like Clare Weber Springs and Betsy Babcock Moulton, playing basketball. Most weekends I spent visiting Clare at her family’s home in Westchester or visiting Betsy and her family at Woodbury on Long Island. Betsy became captain of the tennis team and I became manager. Our names are still up on the wall in the gym. I won the Higginson Cup, best athlete in the school, three times in 10th, 11th and 12th grades. In 1938, I won my first Ladies Singles Championship at the Maidstone Club in Easthampton, Long Island. In my day, there were no tennis lessons.
Mother just gave me a racket and said go out and play, dear. I have been a lifelong tennis player. I organized the Ladies tennis at our local club for 30 years. My husband and I played tennis with People to People Group all around the world. People to People was a group run by Bill Halsey, Admiral Halsey’s son. He would arrange games for us all around the world, even a team at Wimbledon! We played in Australia, China, South Africa, England, and many other countries. We had a team from Germany to play with us at the Country Club of Fairfield. My husband had friends to put them up and had his friends meet them at JFK. They entertained us and we entertained them. I would say that a Brearley girl strives for excellence. Brearley believed in me, and it helped me believe in myself.