Miss Kentucky 1933: Lucille Rader - semi-finalist

The seven MidWest contestants included young and old. Turning 15 just at the end of the Pageant, Lucille was the youngest Pageant contestant, but far from alone at the young age -- at least four of the 31 contestants were under the proscribed age of 16, including the winner, Miss Connecticut. No information on any state contests have been found; it is assumed that the Pageant's MidWest coordinator Jimmy Carrier chose Lucille perhaps due to her successful World's Fair competition in June. Statuesque, Lucille was a semi-finalist at the Pageant, and stayed involved in the Miss America pageant in Florida throughout her life.


1930 Rader Family census form -- Berea, KY
1930 census data, Berea, KY:
27 Adams St
Roy E. Rader, 41 (KY) Business manager of the Bond Lumber Company
Cornelia 37 (KY), Howard 16 (KY), Vernon 14 (KY), Lucille 11 (KY), Fred 9 (KY), Billy 5 (KY), John 3 11/12 (KY), Irene 2 (KY). (Note: although this census has Lucille's mother's name as Cornelia, her name is actually Minerva as listed on her 1920 census; Cornelia was her mother's name.)
Lucille Rader was born in 1918, the oldest daughter of Roy and Minerva Rader.

Lucille from the panorama photograph - age 14
Lucille's start in the beauty pageants of 1933 was a prestigious and lucrative international photographic contest sponsored by San Antonio and Chicago newspapers in conjunction with the opening ceremonies for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Along with Miss Arkansas Vivian Ferguson, Lucille sent her picture in, and was chosen as one of the 51 "Court of Honor" competition winners. She and Vivian were both pictured in the May 14, 1933 San Antonio, TX newspaper, two of 10 winners featured that week. It should be noted that the Court of Honor competition billed itself as looking for girls with charm as opposed to beauty. Lucille was only 14, but this Court of Honor contest specifically stated that it was open to girls of all ages; only married women and professional models/actresses were prohibited. The prizes were grand: the Queen was to receive $5,000 (over $80,000 in today's dollars)!

It is not certain how Lucille was actually chosen as Miss Kentucky for the Miss America Pageant. According to her son, she was selected "Miss Kentucky" at the Chicago World's Fair. According to the September 9 NY Daily Mirror article, she was invited by letter by James Carrier, who at the time was the promotion director of the Atlantic City Beauty Pageant Association, and was ousted in late August, a week prior to the start of the Pageant. Apparently there were no preliminary contests in Kentucky to pick a state beauty queen for the Pageant.

1933 - Lucille is second from the left
1933 - Lucille is third from the left
Lucille was one of the seven contestants who met in St. Louis to start their journey on the 7 week Whistle Stop Tour. As the Atlantic City newspapers described it: "Several of the girls came to this city via a seven weeks vaudeville tour and are now old campaigners. This is the principal difference between the new and the old pageants. While the old pageants were promoted by newspapers and similar agencies, a great many of the girls this year were selected though contests sponsored by amusement parks and similar enterprises who so arranged the contests that they are able to pay all expenses for their entrants."

In St. Louis, Lucille and Miss Idaho Margaret Whitman were featured in the local newspaper article having cooking lessons on Aug 6th. Lucille 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!

Misses Maine, Connecticut, Mississippi, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky at the judging
In the Atlantic City newspapers, one month later, Lucille was noted for her height: "Blue Grass Maid Is Tall. Most of the girls are tall, stately and poised. "Miss Kentucky" may be a shade tallest." Lucille was a semi-finalist in the Pageant, and probably had no chance of winning since by the time of the selection of Miss America, the judges were likely influenced by the controversy surrounding the MidWest contestants who been hand-selected by promotion director James Carrier.

Lucille married Jesse Marion Cyrus (1909-1973) and had two children. Her husband pre-deceased her by 33 years. She cannot be found on the 1940 census, and neither can her family.

Social Security Death Index: LUCILLE R CYRUS, date of birth: 11 Sep 1918, date of death: 16 Dec 2006 (V), last residence: 34748 (Leesburg, Lake, FL), last benefit: (none specified), social security number: 341-05-1963, state of issue: Illinois

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CYRUS, JESS 11 Jul 1909 Sep 1973 64 32811 (Orlando, Orange, FL) (none specified) Kentucky 403-03-9551
Lucille had stayed in touch with the Miss Florida Pageant. Her son and I contacted each other through genealogy postings.