Miss Kansas 1933: Pauline Sayre

At almost age 24, Pauline was the second oldest contestant in Atlantic City, and much older than the other MidWest contestants who ranged in age from 14 to 20. Pauline was one of the three MidWest contestants (together with Missouri and West Virginia) who did win a state pageant, and it had been sponsored by the Wichita Beacon newspaper. Not only did Pauline love her time in Atlantic City, but her husband later loved to proudly introduce her as Miss Kansas to all in Las Vegas throughout their life.

1930 Sayre Family census form -- El Dorado, KS
1930 census data, El Dorado, KS:
425 Oak Street
Herbert Saye [sic], 54 (IL) contractor for Big Rig
Margaret 47 (MO), Pauline S. 20 (KS) (Pauline's older brother Clarence is 24 and married).
On the 1910 census, dated April 1910, Pauline is a baby (listed as 7 months old) and is called Sadie P.
Pauline Sayre was born in Kansas in 1909, the younger child of Herbert and Maggie (Margaret) Sayre.

Pauline from the panorama picture - age 23
In early July there was a Bathing Revue in El Dorado, an annual event, with approximately 40 competitors in 1933, divided into three groups according to age. The winners of each group were awarded prizes donated by various El Dorado merchants. However, the newspaper article did not say if this was a qualifier for the Miss Kansas competition.

The July 20, 1933 El Dorado article said that Miss Sayre, a former resident of this town and graduate of the local High School, won first place in the recent Beauty Contest conducted by the Wichita Beacon. As "Miss Kansas" she will represent her state in the big pageant at Atlantic City in September. Before her removal from this town, Miss Sayre was a popular saleswoman for Montgomery Ward & Company.

1933 - Pauline on the far left
1933 - Pauline is fourth from the left
After the coronation as Miss Kansas, Pauline must have left almost immediately for St. Louis, as she joined six other MidWest contestants in St. Louis just days later. She was part of the MidWest Whistle Stop Tour which spent the next 7 weeks touring cities and towns in the MidWest and East, performing to raise money for their expenses on their way to Atlantic City. In addition to beauty parades in evening gowns and bathing suits, the performance often included a vaudeville act with the beauty contestants featured in short song and dance persormances; the The Cape Girardeau article on August 1 mentions that Pauline was a singer.

While in St. Louis, Pauline, together with Miss Oklahoma, Miss Missouri and Miss Texas partake in the champagne-bottle christening of a railroadcar for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas line, according to the August 9th Denton, TX newspaper. Curiously, Miss Texas never makes it to Atlantic City; this is the only source found to date that even mentions her. Pauline was pictured in the Sep 6-8 articles nationwide with a picture of six Midwest contestants who visited the Nation's capital; this is thought to be a picture from when many contestants performed at Chevy Chase Lake, a suburb of Washington, DC. The only contestant known to have visited Washington, DC was Miss Wisconsin who made a special trip after the Pageant ended and was received in the Oval Office by President Roosevelt!

No specific mention of Pauline was found in the Atlantic City newspapers at the time of the Pageant.

Sep 12, 1958 Obituary for Pauline's father
In 1940 Pauline is living in Houston, Texas where she works as a payroll clerk in a department store. Her mother dies in 1952 in Great Bend and her father in 1958. [As Pauline is living in Las Vegas, NV at the time of her marriage in 1960, it is assumed that this reference is in error, and it was supposed to be NV not NM.] Pauline is not known to have been married prior to 1960, and had no children.

In 1960 Pauline met Verl Blair, a twice-divorced father of three sons. They fell madly in love and spent the rest of their years together in Las Vegas, where Pauline worked for the Stardust Hotel and Verl was a retired real estate broker. They enjoyed the many visits from his sons and her nieces/nephews. Pauline remembered the Pageant fondly throughout her life, and Verl took pride in introducing her as "Miss Kansas" to everyone. Verl died in July 1976, age 80, and Pauline's world was not the same.

Social Security Death Index: PAULINE BLAIR, date of birth: 20 Sep 1909, date of death: May 1983, last residence: 89106 (Las Vegas, Clark, NV), last benefit: (none specified), social security number: 511-05-9161, place of issue: Kansas

Research notes:
-- Interestingly, (unrelated) Earl Sayre of Wichita, age 102, was called in 2004. He was born in WV and moved to KS in 1927. Although he lived in Wichita, he was no relation to Pauline's family, and moreover, had never heard of a Pauline Sayre being Miss Kansas in 1933, although he lived in the same town, with the same name, and would have been 31 in 1933!
-- Once I found Pauline's father's obituary, I could do a SSDI search on Pauline, DOB 1909, issued KS, died NV, and Pauline Blair was the only SSDI that popped up. Her husband's SSDI: BLAIR, VERL 14 Mar 1896 Jul 1976 80 89109 (Las Vegas, Clark, NV) (none specified) California 551-40-4106
-- In March, 2009 I spoke with Verl's daughter-in-law, Lois Blair, whom I found through genealogy message boards. They had lost touch with Pauline (after Verl's death she "just dropped out of sight"), and were so happy to have the pictures and information on this webpage.