June 17, 2018

Historical Pictures of Miss America Through the Years of the 20th Century

Originating in 1921 as a "bathing beauty revue", Miss America is a competition that is held annually and is open to women from the United States between the ages of 17 and 25. The contest is now judged on competitors' talent performances and interviews.

Miss America travels about 20,000 miles a month, changing her location every 24 to 48 hours, touring the nation and promoting her particular platform of interest. The winner is crowned by the previous year's titleholder.

These pictures that show a look at the pageant's history through the year of the 20th century.


1921: Miss America.


Contestants in the first Miss America pageant in 1921 line up for the judges in Atlantic City in their swimwear attire.
(AP Photo/files)


1921: Miss America.

Margaret Gorman, of Washington, D.C., poses after winning the first Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., in Sept. 1921. (AP Photo)


1922: Miss America.

Mary Katherine Campbell, 15, holds the scepter as she poses in the regal robe and crown after becoming Miss America 1922 at the second Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., in Sept. 1922. Campbell, of Columbus, Ohio, won again in 1923, the only one to win twice. (AP Photo)


1926: Miss America.

Norma Smallwood, of Tulsa, Okla., poses in her bathing suit with trophies after becoming Miss America 1926 in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 11, 1926. (AP Photo)


1927: Miss America.

Lois Delander, of Joilet, Ill., poses on the throne wearing a robe and holding a scepter after being crowned Miss America 1927 at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., in Sept. 1927. (AP Photo)

1929: Miss America.

Ruth Burnham chosen as Miss America on Sept. 9, 1929. Location unknown. (AP Photo)


1935: Miss America.

Miss Pittsburgh Henriette Leaver, 19, wears her crown and holds her trophy after winning the 1935 Miss American title at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 8, 1935. (AP Photo)


1936: Miss America.

Rose Veronica Coyle of Philadelphia, Miss America 1936, poses in a bathing suit at an unknown seaside location.
(AP Photo)


1937: Miss America.

Bette Cooper poses with her trophy in the regal robe after being crowned Miss America 1937 at the annual Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., in Sept. 1937. Cooper is Miss Bertrand Island, N.J. (AP Photo)


1938: Miss America.

Marilyn Meseke, of Marion, Ohio, is crowned Miss America 1938, center, at the annual National Beauty Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 10, 1938. Flanking the 21-year-old winner are second and third place contestants, respectively, Miss California, Claire James of Los Angeles, right, and Miss Utah, Marion La Von Goodspeed of Salt Lake City, left. Talent counted for one-third of the overall judging score for the first time in pageant history. (AP Photo)


1940: Miss America.

Patricia Donnelly, Miss America 1939 from Detroit, Mi., crowns Miss America 1940, 19-year-old Frances Marie Burke of Philadelphia, Pa., at the annual Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 7, 1940. (AP Photo)


1943: Miss America.

Miss America of 1943 Jean Bartel of Los Angeles, poses with her trophy in Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 11, 1943. She was Miss California. (AP Photo)


1944: Miss America.

Venus Ramey, Miss America 1944, reads telegrams of congratulations the morning after she won the title, in Atlantic City, Sept. 10, 1944. She received her crown from Jean Bartel of Los Angeles, Calif., who was Miss America 1943. (AP Photo)


1945: Miss America.

These young women, who will seek the title of “Miss America, 1945,” at Atlantic City, N.J. on September 8, grace the boardwalk, Sept. 4, 1945. From left to right: Lee M. Wieland, Chicago, Ill., Miss Chicago; Barbara Lee Smith, Detroit, Mich., Miss Detroit; Bess Myerson, New York, Miss New York City; Phyllis Mathis, La Jolla, Calif., Miss San Diego; Gloria Naomi Bair, Philadelphia, Pa., Miss Philadelphia; Claire Thibadeau, Boston, Mass., Miss Boston; Rae Evelyn Crist, Miami Beach, Florida, Miss Florida and Frances Born, Birmingham, Ala., Miss Birmingham. (AP Photo/A. Camerano)


1950: Miss America.

Yolande Betbeze, of Mobile, Ala., walks on the runway after she is crowned Miss America 1951 at Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 9, 1950. The 21-year-old Miss Alabama won the title among 54 contestants. (AP Photo)


1951: Miss America.

Colleen Kay Hutchins, 25, Salt Lake City, Utah, poses with her trophy in the regal robe after being crowned Miss America 1952 in the annual Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 8, 1951. (AP Photo)


1953: Miss America.

Six contestants in the annual Miss America pageant, which got underway in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 8, 1953. From left: Barbara Ann Crockett, North Carolina; Virginia McDavid, Alabama; Miriam Jacqueline Stevenson, South Carolina; Lucia Claire Hutchinson, Georgia; Marjorie Jeannette Simons, Florida; and Susanne Dugger, Mississippi. (AP Photo/Sam Myers)


1954: Miss America.

Miss Lee Ann Meriwether, representing California in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City Sept. 8, 1954, won the bathing suit competition. She is from San Francisco. (AP Photo)


1955: Miss America.

These six contestants, preliminary winners in competition for the title of Miss America, hold a commanding lead as contest moves into final stage in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 10, 1955. Talent and bathing suit division winners, alternately, from left: Miss Alabama, Patricia Byrd Huddleston; Miss Hawaii, Barbara Mamo Vieira; Miss Florida, Sandra Wirth; Miss Oklahoma, Ann Campbell; Miss Massachusetts, Virginia E. Maffucci; and Miss North Carolina, Clara Faye Arnold.
(AP Photo)


1957: Miss America.

The new Miss America of 1958 is shown with her family, Sept. 7, 1957, in Atlantic City, N.J. Marilyn Elaine Van Derbur is kissed by her parents, Gwendolyn and Francis, as her sisters stand in the background. From left to right, back row: Nancy Knowlton, Valerie Horan and Gwenn Falkenberg. (AP Photo)


1958: Miss America.

Miss America 1959, Mary Ann Mobley, of Brandon, Mississippi, is crowned by outgoing Miss America Marilyn Elaine Van Derbur at the annual Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 6, 1958. (AP Photo)


1959: Miss America.

Lynda Lee Mead of Natchez, Miss., is shown during the swimsuit competition during the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 13, 1959. (AP Photo)


1967: Miss America.

Debra Dene Barnes, of Pittsburgh, Ka., poses on the throne after being crowned Miss America 1968 in Atlantic City, N.J.
on Sept. 9, 1967. (AP Photo)


1969: Miss America.

The new Miss America, Michigan's Pamela Anne Eldred, presses her hands to her mouth as she hears that she has been named the new Miss America for 1970 in Atlantic City, N.J., Sept. 6, 1969. Behind her, at right, waiting to give up her crown is outgoing queen, Judith Ann Ford. (AP Photo/Bill Achatz)


1970: Miss America.

Miss Iowa, Cheryl Adrienne Brown, of Bettemdorf, Iowa, first African American girl to reach the finals in the Miss America contest, points on the boardwalk at the Atlantic City, N.J. on Monday, Sept. 8, 1970 as she talked to Miss Maryland, Sharon Ann Cannon, Salisbury, Md., at start of the pageant. New Miss America will be crowned on Saturday. (AP Photo)


1973: Miss America.

Rebecca Ann King, of Denver, Co., walks down the runway after she is crowned Miss America 1974 at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., Saturday night, Sept. 8, 1973. (AP Photo)


1983: Miss America.

Vanessa Williams, the new Miss America, left, is shown as she is crowned, Saturday, Sept. 17, 1983 in Atlantic City, N.J. by the outgoing Miss America, Debra Maffett. (AP Photo)


1985: Miss America.

Susan Akin, of Meridian, Missi., gets her crown adjusted by Miss West Va., Rebecca Porterfield at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., Saturday night, Sept. 15, 1985. Akin won the annual competition and won the title of Miss America 1986. (AP Photo/Jack Kanthal)


1994: Miss America.

Miss America 1995 Heather Whitestone, the former Miss Alabama, walks down the runway and signs "I Love You" to the crowd after she won the 74th annual pageant in the Atlantic City Convention Hall Saturday, September 17, 1994.
(AP Photo/Tom Costello)


1995: Miss America.

The Miss America contestants perform the 75th Anniversary production number on stage at the Atlantic City Convention Hall Saturday, Sept. 16, 1995. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


1996: Miss America.

Miss America 1997 Tara Dawn Holland of Kansas is crowned by former Miss America Shawntel Smith at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., Saturday night, Sept. 14, 1996. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


1998: Miss America.

Miss America Nicole Johnson, the former Miss Virginia, waves to the crowd after being crowned Miss America at the Atlantic City, N.J., Convention Hall Saturday, Sept. 19, 1998. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


1999: Miss America.

Miss Kentucky Heather Renee French, right, reacts to first runnerup, Miss Illinois Jade Smalls, left, after she realizes she has become Miss America 2000 during the Miss America Pageant at the Atlantic City Convention Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., Saturday, Sept. 18, 1999. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)






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