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Wimbledon Honorary Librarian Alan Little awarded MBE

Wimbledon Librarian Alan Little
by Alexandra Willis
Monday 6 January 2014

The Honorary Librarian of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, Alan Little, was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Years' Honours List for 2014 for services to tennis, alongside former champion Ann Jones, who was awarded a CBE, also in recognition of her services to the sport. 

"Alan has made a truly outstanding contribution to the creation and development of the widely acclaimed library at the Wimbledon Museum," commented All England Club Chairman Philip Brook. "This award rightly recognises his hard work and dedication over a period of over 35 years." 

Little has more than 6,000 books in his care in the Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library, the most comprehensive tennis library in the world, and has been collecting books since he was a schoolboy. One of his earliest acquisitions was a copy of of the MCC Rules of Tennis from 1877, which he bought for £1.

Having first played tennis and table tennis at school, Little attended The Championships for the first time in the 1940s, and from 1958 he began to write articles for the magazines Lawn Tennis and Badminton and Tennis World. In 1976, prior to the opening of the Museum in 1977, the Museum Committee sought 20 books to display in the Victorian Parlour showcase. Tom Todd, one of the Museum's founders, suggested that Little was the person to ask, and he was subseqently invited by Ted Avory to consider setting up a library as part of the Museum.

Author of the fabled Wimbledon Compendium, the ultimate source of facts and figures about Wimbledon,  Little has written over 35 books during his time as Honorary Librarian at SW19. From his work on Suzanne Lenglen, to the history of tennis and the Olympic Games, is latest work, 'Tennis and the Riviera', is due to be published later this year.

"Alan Little's contribution to capturing the history of Wimbledon and tennis in general has been immense," commented Chief Executive Richard Lewis. "The award is well deserved recognition for outstanding voluntary service to The Championships and the All England Club".

The compendium includes astonishing facts such as: 

The six Wimbledon champions who wore glasses in a final.

The 10 Wimbledon runners-up who wore glasses in a final.

The 29 Wimbledon champions who wore headgear in a final.

Tweed vs. Tiara; Underarm vs. Ambidextrous

Little was made an Honorary Member of the All England Club in 1984 and is a former winner of  the Lawn Tennis Writers' Association's award for services to tennis. 

Find out more about the Wimbledon Library


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