The weekend after Labor Day weekend usually is a quiet one since most people celebrate the end of summer during the holiday weekend. Labor Day generally commemorates the end of summertime and all it’s festivities as we transition into the fall season. But Atlantic City in 1921 had no plans of engaging in any summertime blues as it planned a way to extend the summer season.
Enter the Atlantic City “beauty contests” as a way to keep the summer heat on for patrons. The plan was devised by some businessmen of the city and they organized a small beauty contest which seven cities of the Northeast United States participated. Each city sent a “beauty maid” to represent the city in the contest. This contest took place September 7-8, ninety-three years ago today. The happy winner of this 1921 contest was sixteen year-old Margaret Gorman, who represented Washington, D.C. Her prize was a golden mermaid statue and the title “Miss America.”
Many other beauty contests followed this one which in turned solidified the Miss America pageants we’re familiar with today. I love these photos of the women from this time. They are wearing beautiful pieces from the era and are natural beauties in their own way. One of my favorite photos of all the photos I’ve seen is the one below of Ruth Malcolmson, Miss America 1924. This photo is so raw and natural.
Here are some additional photos from some early beauty pageants. I love how dolled up they are in the sand and with their sashes! 🙂
And to celebrate the city that brought us these beauty contests, I’ll be watching one of my favorite shows, Boardwalk Empire, which takes place in Atlantic City. In the meantime, I’ll be practicing that perfect Miss America wave. 🙂