vintage, nostalgia and memories


September 14, 2017

19 Candid Photographs Documented Scenes During the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, 1945

These photographs were taken by LIFE photographer Alfred Eisentaedt during the 1945 competition in Atlantic City. There were speeches and displays of genuine talent on stage. But more often than not, the images that emerged from the two-day affair featured scores of women, most of whom seemed—and who still seem—to be cut from very much the same physical mold, wearing very small bathing suits and posing or parading in high heels.


That the Miss America title for many decades really meant Miss Caucasian America certainly undercut the pageant's unspoken but strongly implied claim to celebrate—and judge—an entire nation's loveliest and most talented women. African-American women did not even begin competing in the pageant until the 1970s, and the first African-American Miss America, the wonderful Vanessa Williams, would not be crowned until 1984—a full six decades after the pageant began.

But that sort of problematic history aside, the Miss America pageant remains a signature cultural happening, while the Miss America Organization provides tens of millions of scholarship dollars annually to thousands of young women who, without that money, might not be able to attend college. In fact, it just so happens that the Miss America featured in this gallery, Bess Myerson—incidentally, the first Jewish winner of the pageant—was the very first Miss America to receive a scholarship as part of her victory prize.

The winner of the 1945 Miss America pageant, 21-year-old Bess Myerson of New York.

Spectators line up during the Miss America pageant festivities in Atlantic City, 1945.

Bess Myerson, Miss America, 1945.

Scene outside the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1945.

Scene during the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1945.

Outside the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1945.

Contestants in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1945.

Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1945.

Contestant in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1945.

Contestants in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, September 1945.

Inside the Warner Theater during the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, September 1945.

Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, September 1945.

Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, September 1945.

Contestants in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, September 1945.

Bess Myerson, Miss America in 1945, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Bess Myerson, Miss America in 1945, meets the press, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Miss America contestants in Atlantic City, September 1945.

Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, September 1945.

Miss America Bess Myerson (right) and friend, Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 1945.

(Photos: Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

0 comments:

Post a Comment


FOLLOW US
FacebookTumblrPinterestRSS

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Browse by Decades

Popular Posts

Random Posts