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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/27/2023

One of USA’s most decorated track stars in the 1950s was Isabelle Frances Daniels. Born in the tiny town of Jakin in southwest Georgia, “Tweety” – a nickname that stuck as a young girl – grew up in a deeply segregated region attending all-Black schools where opportunities were few and far between. As a senior at Carver High School, she won the Georgia State Championships in both the 50-yard and 100-yard dash, earning recognition nationwide and recruitment to Tennessee State – then the most prestigious college women’s track program in the country. Competing for USA Track & Field at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City, Daniels took second place in the 60 Meters and was part of the gold-medal winning 4×100 Meter relay team.

At the 1956 U.S. Olympic Trials, Daniels won the 100-meter dash to earn the coveted title of fastest woman in America, beating a talented field that included future three-time Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph. At the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics, she initially placed third in a tight finish in the 100 Meters, but post-race photos pushed her to fourth and just off the podium. Later at those Games, Daniels anchored USA's 4×100-meter relay team to a 3rd place finish and the bronze medal in an American record-breaking time of 44.9 seconds. Amazingly, all three teams (Australia, Great Britain and USA) shattered the previous world record. For Daniels and her teammates Mae Faggs, Margaret Matthews and Wilma Rudolph, it was a powerful moment for women’s sports and Black history as they became the first all African American ladies relay team to ever compete at the Olympics.

Presented here is the USA Track & Field race uniform Isabelle Daniels wore at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games when she finished an agonizing fourth place in the 100-meter dash and ran the final leg of the 4x100-meter relay to take home the bronze medal for USA. The style of this uniform says a lot about about the state of women's rights in the 1950s: a one-piece, loose-fitting skirt that would make modern-day apparel designers from Nike or Adidas cringe. Yet, there was Daniels, her powerful legs churning and arms pumping against the anti-aerodynamic nature of her USAT&F uni to run a blistering 11.8-second 100 meters. She then ran an even faster anchor leg in the 4x100 relay to make history for women and Black athletes around the globe.

The white garment appears to be made of polyester and is designed with an open collar and button-up top. A red, white and blue elastic band around the midsection is matched by trim in the same patriotic color scheme at the leg ends. Two pockets adorn the chest, with the U.S. Olympic Team crest sewn on left pocket. This patch was initially presented to us separate from the uniform, having been removed for some reason after Daniels wore it. We had a local tailor re-sew it back on the same location based on photos of Daniels wearing this outfit during Olympic competition. The uniform, for all its outdated inefficiencies, exhibits heavy wear with some light spot soiling and multiple team repairs from previous tears and holes in the fabric. It was clear Daniels raced in this outfit many times. It survives as an exceptionally rare piece of Olympic history.

Isabelle continued to excel after the 1956 Olympics, earning All-American honors in each of her four years at Tennessee State under famous coach Ed Temple (who also coached the Olympic team). In 1957, she set a world record in the 50-yard dash. At the 1959 Pan Am Games in Chicago, she won gold in the 60 Meters, silver in the 200, and another gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay (again teaming with Rudolph). Overall, Isabelle Daniels won five AAU sprint titles outdoors and seven AAU titles indoors. Injuries prevented her from competing at the 1960 Rome Olympics where Rudolph swept gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay.

With her running days behind her, Daniels married Rev. Sidney R. Holston and settled down as a teacher and track coach at Ronald E. McNair High School in Georgia where she was eventually named 1990 National Coach of the Year. In 1996, she carried the Olympic torch prior to the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Inducted into both the Georgia and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fames, Isabelle Daniels Holston passed away in 2017 and is survived by her husband and four children. Each item from her memorabilia collection comes directly from the family with a letter of provenance.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $19,540
Number Bids:12
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