Miss Idaho 1933 Margaret Wittman - Disqualified (residency)
It is unknown how Margaret Wittman came to represent the state of Idaho when her hometown was Spokane, Washington, but somehow she came to the attention of the Pageant Promotional Director James Carrier who was responsible for contestants from the MidWest. It is not thought that Margaret competed in any local or regional beauty pageants, but she did join the seven MidWest contestants on the seven-week Whistle Stop Tour leading up to the National Pageant. On the final night in Atlantic City her name was simply dropped from the voting ballot, as were those of the other three disqualified contestants.
|1930 Wittman family census - Spokane, Washington -- CLICK ON ANY PICTURE FOR A LARGER VIEW|
West 2414 Dalton Avenue
Joe Wittman 43 (WI) chief clerk of a railroad
Virginia 40 (IL), Margaret 16 (WA). Note: her parents were born in Wisconsin and Illinois, Margaret was born in Washington (Spokane), but one of Joseph's sisters lived in Idaho.
|Margaret from the panorama picture - age 19|
Margaret was one of the seven Midwest contestants who traveled together from the end of July from Chicago and St. Louis to Atlantic City on the seven-week Whistle Stop pageant beauties tour. On many occasions the tour included a vaudeville act with short performances by the beauties; the Cape Girardeau article on August 1 mentions that Margaret was a tap dancer. One newspaper that states hometowns lists an Ilinois city for Miss Illinois and the Idaho city of Couer D'Alene for Margaret.
|1933 - Margaret is fourth from the left|
|1933 - Margaret is second from right|
Margaret is not specified in the Atlantic City Newspapers until the disqualification issue: "I can't say anything to the newspapers," said Margaret Wittman, 19, brunette, who wears the ribbon of "Miss Idaho." The New Castle, PA newspaper on Sep 7th, prior to the announcements, specified that "The second girl said she never resided in the state she represents and had not competed in any sort of contest in that state" -- this is clearly Miss Idaho Margaret Wittman. This article says that the three "girls, interviewd by International news Service ... attributed the mistake to a promoter..." -- see more details on disqualification.
|9/12/1933 Tyrone, PA newspaper|
|1964 Yuba City obituaries|
Margaret was the first 1933 contestant to die, in 1964, at just 50 years of age, after a long battle with lung cancer at the young age of 50.
Social Security Death Index: There is no Social Security Death Index for her as records prior to 1968 were not computerized.
Birth record: Margaret Virginia Wittman, 8 Feb 1914, Female, Spokane City, Joe Wittman, Virginia May Staley.
California Death Index, 1940-1997 Name: Margaret V Salm Social Security #: 533031012 Sex: FEMALE Birth Date: 9 Feb 1914 Birthplace: Washington Death Date: 17 Dec 1964 Death Place: Sutter -- but her birth date was supposed to be the 8th not the 9th. This is 22 years before her mother dies, and coincides with the mother living in Spokane for 20 years before her death.
(maybe) SALM, JOHN 19 Dec 1901 Oct 1971 69 94101 (San Francisco, San Francisco, CA) (none specified) California 551-09-2659
1932 yearbook entry (click here for full entry)
Margaret had graduated from North Central High School in 1932 (yearbook photos at right). I am indebted to the principal who looked up the old yearbooks and sent me the photos for me to make sure I had the correct Margaret Wittman. I am also deeply indebted to Spokane Librarian Becky Menzel, who was so intrigued with this project that she looked up a multitude of directories and obituaries for me; without her help I would never have found the family of Margaret Wittman, since Virginia Wittman's (Margaret's mother) 1986 obituary did not list a daughter, alive or predeceased, and also said she lived in Spokane for only 20 years.
1932 yearbook entry (click here for full entry)
I spoke with a first cousin-once removed of Margaret's who confirmed her identity, and is delighted to have these pictures; she had not known that Margaret had been involved with the Pageant. She was the one who related the story that Margaret had dated Bing Crosby, and he had even attended one of her birthday parties! Harry "Bing" Crosby (1903-1977) was a popular singer and actor, born in Tacoma, Washington and got his start in a band in Spokane, Washington in the 1920s. However, Bing Crosby was married to acress Dixie Lee in 1930 until her death in 1947; it is not clear if Bing and Margaret "dated" in 1930 when she was 16 and he was 27 or in 1947+. The cousin said Margaret married a Film Director, died in Northern California in the 1960s of lung cancer, and was estranged from her mother (which seems odd as her mother had moved from Los Angeles to Yuba with the Salms just 10 months before Margaret's death, according to her obituary). She is confirming the surname of Salm.
I have not confirmed that John H. Salm was a film director. (Note that Margaret Salm's obituaries state her mother is Mrs. Joseph Wittman, and that Margaret was a native of Spokane, confirming this is the correct Margaret.) Thanks are extended to the Sutter County Library for looking up the obituaries.