|Miss America 1958|
Marilyn Van Derbur, Colorado
When I was a teenager back in the Fifties, I used to follow all the beauty pageants with a passion which was not unusual for a 14 year old gay kid who didn't know he was gay. I can't say exactly why beauty pageants fascinated me. Perhaps it was the beauty and glamour. The fantasy come true of a Cinderella becoming a princess. What I was pretty sure was that I didn't picture myself in that role. Except for a brief period on elementary school when I wanted to wear a big, white, puffy, crinoline dress on my Halloween trick or treat excursions, I never have had the desire to go in drag. But I do appreciate feminine beauty.
|Miss America 1921 -bathing beauty|
Margaret Gorman, Washington, D.C.
The first year I remember following beauty pageants was in 1954. I would follow my local Miss Chester County (PA) beauty pageant and try and pick the winner. Then I would follow the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. I remember so clearly that year that the Miss Pennsylvania pageant was held in West Chester, PA which was where I was born an also near where I lived in Downingtown, PA. I remember perusing all the county winners and pointing out Evelyn Ay, Miss Ephrata. I told my Mother, "Look at how ugly she is, she will never win Miss Pennsylvania, let alone Miss America!" Well, guess what? Evelyn Ay, Miss Ephrata won Miss Pennsylvania and then went on to win Miss America in the very first televised pageant. I was shocked. So much for my beauty picking skills.
|Evelyn Ay, Miss America 1954 and her court|
|1951 Miss America Contestants|
|2010 Miss American Contestants - definitely a different attitude|
|Miss America 1951|
Yolande Betbeze, Alabama
|Miss America 1952|
Coleen Hutchins, Utah
Now I don't know if the old man who used to run the Miss America pageant is still alive (I think his name is Albert Marks or something like that) but if he is pushing up daisies now he surely would be turning over in his grave if he could see the Miss America contestants today. The beauty if back!
|Miss America 1953|
Neva Jane Langley, Georgia
|Miss America 1954|
Evelyn Ay - the last Miss Pennsylvania to win Miss America
|Miss America 1955|
Lee Ann Meriweather of California
|Miss America 1956|
Sharon Ritchie, North Carolina
|Miss America 1957|
Marian McKnight, South Carolina
|Miss America 1958|
Marilyn Van Derber, Colorado
|Miss America 1959|
Mary Ann Mobley, Mississippi
|Miss America Contestants Gown Competition (my favorite)|