Silver trophy awarded to Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, in 1926
Ederle's swim on August 6, 1926, broke the men's world record by nearly two hours and won her international fame. On her return to the United States, New York City celebrated its hometown hero with a ticker-tape parade, and William Randolph Hearst presented her with this elaborate trophy honoring her as "Most Popular Athlete." But the prize came at a cost: exposure to the channel waters damaged Ederle's hearing, leaving her permanently deaf. In 1991 Ederle's niece donated this trophy, along with the goggles Ederle wore during her famous swim, to the Smithsonian.
Popular Culture Memorabilia, Sports Memorabilia, Women's History