Explore Palm Springs: Early Push for Women

Thomas O'Donnell recognized early that Palm Springs was founded by women

Renee Brown History 0 Comments


On April 26, 1938, Thomas O’Donnell made one of his strongest speeches of the season when he was welcoming women golfers who were participating in the Palm Springs Women’s Golf Tournament held at his golf course.

He spoke under the stars at the Desert Inn tennis court surrounded by his 400 dinner guests, which was approximately 80 percent women. 

He said, “You know, I have been doing more talking in the past month than I have in many years. I can’t tell whether it’s because my new crockery teeth were intended for some lady and are really women’s teeth or whether it is because I have an incentive in my keen interest in incorporation. I am extremely happy to night to welcome California’s women golfers to this baby city.”

“I feel that it is appropriate and right that the first big contingent of guests welcomed by the new city should be women. Palm Springs is a community which has been founded by women – they still seem to be running it. Looking back to the early days, we find the dominate names, Nellie Coffman, Pearl McManus, Frances Stevens and the White sisters. Palm Springs has been very fortunate in the fine character of these early residents as it is in welcoming all of you here for your tournament.”

There is a multitude of ways to Explore Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013.

One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring Palm Springs history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit for more information.

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