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“America’s Best Girl” stole the nation’s heart by swimming the English Channel in 1926, and later dedicated herself to the deaf children she taught to swim

President Calvin Coolidge gave her the nickname “America’s Best Girl” after she swam across the English Channel in 1926. In her day, Gertrude Ederle captured the public’s imagination in the same way as other athletic and patriotic heroes like slugger Babe Ruth and aviator Charles A. Lindbergh. She was overwhelmed when an estimated 2 million people showed up in the financial district for a ticker-tape parade on August 27 celebrating her accomplishment, chanting “Trudy! Trudy!” (Never mind that her family actually called her “Gertie.”) She sustained a career as a minor celebrity for about a decade before retreating into a quiet life of teaching deaf children how to swim.

read the full portrait and see the pictures @ The Vintage News