Vintage Photos Featuring The First Miss America

Gorman was a junior at Western High School in Washington, D.C. when her photo was entered into a popularity contest at the Washington Herald. She was chosen as “Miss District of Columbia” in 1921 at age 16 on account of her athletic ability, past accomplishments, and outgoing personality.

As a result of that victory, she was invited to join the Second Annual Atlantic City Pageant held on September 8, 1921, as an honored guest. There she was invited to join a new event: the “Inter-City Beauty” Contest. She won the titles “Inter-City Beauty, Amateur” and “The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America” after competing in the Bather’s Revue. She won the grand prize, the Golden Mermaid trophy.

She was expected to defend her positions the next year, but someone else had attained the title of “Miss Washington, D.C.,” so she was instead crowned as “Miss America.” She is the only Miss America to receive her crown at the end of the year.

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1921. Inter-City Beauties Ethel Charles, Nellie Orr and Margaret Gorman at Union Station in Washington, D.C. National Photo Company glass negative via

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1921. Miss America was held for the first time to attract tourists to Atlantic City. Margaret Gorman, third on the left via

1921. Portrait of Margaret Gorman standing via

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Margaret Gorman in Birmingham car; whose reptilian body has an alligator finish, 1921. National Photo Company glass negative via

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Margaret Gorman with Long Goodie, 1925. National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress via

Washington Beach Beauty Contest (1920s)

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June 17, 1922. “Washington Ad Club bathing costume contest at Tidal Basin.” Miss Anna Niebel, “former Follies girl who lives at 1370 Harvard street northwest,” took first place. Harris & Ewing glass negative via

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August 5, 1922.”Washington Tidal Basin Beauty Contest” Seventeen-year-old Eva Fridell takes the loving cup from judge Isaac Gans. National Photo Company Collection glass negative via

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August 5, 1922.”Washington Tidal Basin Beauty Contest” Seventeen-year-old Eva Fridell takes the loving cup from judge Isaac Gans. National Photo Company Collection glass negative via

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August 5, 1922.”Washington Tidal Basin Beauty Contest” ” Misses Eva Fridell, 17, and Anna Niebel. National Photo Company glass negative via

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Four prize winners in the 1922 beauty show at Washington Bathing Beach, Washington, D.C. Left to right: Gay Gatley, Eva Fridell, Anna Neibel, Iola Swinnerton. National Photo Company Collection via

A Collection of Photos Featuring Mack Sennett´s “Bathing Beauties”

According to laphamsquarterly.org Mack Sennett gave Chaplin, Arbuckle, and Mabel Normand their first breaks, and was one of the founding patrons of comedy. But Sennett was also responsible for the concept of the “Bathing Beauty”—and, by extension, filmic eye-candy as we know it today.

The “bathing beauties,” themselves, were a  a group of young starlets who appeared bare-legged in Sennett’s comedies. They were particularly popular and became pin-up girls for the soldiers of the First World War. They included Gloria Swanson, Marie Prevost, Phyllis Haver, Juanita Hansen, Claire Anderson, and Mary Thurman.

The sex appeal of these young actresses raised the ire of some temperance activists, and Sennett received hundreds of letters protesting his exploitation of these women’s bodies. Despite such protests, the bathing beauties remained quite popular.

The Sennett Bathing Beauties would continue to appear through 1928.

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Marvel Rea, 1919 via

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Bathing Beauties (Credit: Collection of Dave and Ali Stevenson) via

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 Carole Lombard and Mack Sennett; far right, with a white hat and dark suit. It was taken during a seaside shoot in 1928, while Lombard was part of Sennett’s troupe via

A Collection of Vintage Photos Featuring American Beauty Bille Dove

Billie Dove (1903-1997) was in her heyday known for her voluptuous femininity on the silent screen, rivaled that of Mary Pickford, Marion Davies and Clara Bow in popularity. She retired after only a few years into the talking picture era, however, and is not as well-remembered in today’s film circles as the aforementioned.

She was born Bertha Bohny to Swiss immigrant parents. As a teen, she worked as a model to help support her family and was hired as a teenager by Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld to appear in his Ziegfeld Follies Revue.

However, a burgeoning affair between Dove and Ziegfeld prompted Ziegfeld’s wife Billie Burke to arrange work out West for the young starlet in Hollywood films. She soon became one of the most popular actresses of the 1920s, appearing in Douglas Fairbanks’ smash hit Technicolor film The Black Pirate (1926), as Rodeo West in The Painted Angel (1929), and was dubbed The American Beauty (1927), the title of one of her films.

She married the director of her seventh film, Irvin Willat, in 1923. The two divorced in 1929. Dove had a huge legion of male fans, one of her most persistent being Howard Hughes. She shared a three-year romance with Hughes and was engaged to marry him, but she ended the relationship without ever giving cause. Hughes cast her as a comedian in his film Cock of the Air (1932). She also appeared in his movie The Age for Love (1931).

Following her last film, Blondie of the Follies (1932), Dove retired from the screen to be with her family, although she was at the time still popular. She married oil executive Robert Kenaston in 1933.

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Billie Dove as a Ziegfield Follies Girl, by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

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Billie Dove as a Ziegfield Follies Girl by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

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Billie Dove via

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Billie Dove as a Bride via

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Billie Dove via

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Billie Dove via

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Billæie Dove in Blondie of the Follies, her last film (1932) via

Billie Dove (Reprise)

Vintage Photos Feat. Miss Universe 1926

The First International Pageant of Pulchritude and Seventh Annual Bathing Girl Revue, was a beauty pageant held from May 15 to May 17, 1926, in Galveston, Texas. The previous editions of the Galveston Bathing Girl Revue had only featured contestants from the United States. However, during the 1926 event, one contestant from Mexico and another from Canada entered, giving the pageant its first international competitors. It was reported that around 160,000 people watched the bathing costume parade on the afternoon of the 16th.

Miss Dallas, Catherine Moylan (1904-1969), won the event, becoming the first Beauty Queen of the Universe. She was already a performer in the Ziegfeld Follies.

For winning, Moylan received $2000, and a gold and silver plaque engraved with “Beauty Queen of the Universe”.

After winning she signed with MGM Studios, and appeared in several silent films before having roles in “Love On The Run” (1930) and “Our Blushing Brides” (1930).

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CATHERINE MOYLAN “MISS INTERNATIONAL QUEEN OF PULCHITRUDE, 1926″  (photo credit Movies ink amsterdam flickr) via

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 MGM Photo of Beauty Queen of the Universe Catherine Moylan via

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Catherine Moylan as a ziegfeld girl by Alfred Cheney Johnston via