A History of Women's Pool
A Brief History of the Noble Game of Billiards
by Mike Shamos
Copyright©1995 All Rights Reserved
Until very recently, billiards was completely dominated by men. The atmosphere of the poolroom was very forbidding and a woman would have had trouble being accepted there. Nonetheless, women have been enthusiastic players since the game was brought up from the ground in the 15th century.
For over two hundred years women of fashion have played. Since the 1890's, there has always been at least one prominent female professional on the scene, from May Kaarlus, a spectacular turn-of-the-century trick-shot artist, to Ruth McGinnis, who toured with Willie Mosconi in the 1930's and could beat most men, to Dorothy Wise, winner of the first five U.S. Open tournaments for women, and Jean Balukas, who took the next seven.
Today there are enough women professionals to merit a separate organization, the WPBA, to solicit commercial sponsorship and organize tournaments. It is very difficult for a woman to develop billiard skill because male players, her family, and friends usually do not support her efforts and it is not easy to find experienced women instructors or coaches. As this situation changes, we can expect women to equal men in ability and take the game to even greater heights.