Miss Massachusetts 1933: Elsie Taylor - semi-finalist

Perhaps Elsie's interest in beauty pageants had been sparked by her mother -- her mother is reported to have won a beauty contest, undoubtedly in England prior to her marriage. Elsie was first crowned "Miss Revere Beach" and then won the state competition, garnering an all-expenses-paid trip to the national competition in Atlantic City. At least locally in South Walpole the contest was not very memorable for most residents.


1930 Taylor Family census form -- Elsie, at age 20, is not living with her parents in Boston
Elsie was one of seven children of Edwin and Annie Taylor, both born in England. Edwin was a finisher/buffer in a silver shop. On the 1920 census, she had siblings Edwin W. Jr 19, George H. 18, Annie 13, John 11, (Elsie was 9) and Lillian 6, living in Greenfield twp in Franklin county, MA; the two oldest brothers were born in England, then three children including Elsie in Rhode Island, and Lillian in Maryland. However, by 1930, the family has broken up and moved: while the parents are now in Boston with younger sisters Lillian and Barbara, Elsie is not found. George is married and living in Rhode Island; John is still in Franklin, MA; Edwin Jr is not found either.


Elsie from the panorama shot - age 23
Elsie was 23, from South Walpole, MA, and the August 11th Lynn, MA newspaper states she is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin W. Taylor. She has chestnut hair and blue eyes, is 5'7" tall, and had been selected as "Miss Revere Beach." She was selected "Miss Massachusetts" at the Poquanum Tribe carnival at Memorial Park in Lynn, and received an all-expense trip to Atlantic City for the contest.

1933 New England contestants the description on the reverse side of the photo most unfortunately omits the names of the four women (source: Sept 7 Philadelphia Inquirer, found on ebay by Daryl Schabinger in 2016)
St. Louis, MO Aug 17, 1933 Walpole, MA Aug 18, 1933.
Boston Post, August 12, 1933 (full page)
August 17th article in St. Louis: Miss Massachusetts in Beauty Pageant: Miss Elsie Taylor. Who will compete in the Atlantic City contest this fall. She is from Walpole. Her mother once won a beauty prize. (Note -- this must have been in England, since the mother, Annie Taylor, only moved to America after she was married and had two children.)

The Walpole, Massachusetts newspaper clipping of August 18th states that "Miss Massachusetts" at the Atlantic City beauty pageant will be 23-year-old Miss Elsie Taylor of South Walpole, slender, brown-eyed, brown-haired beauty. She was chosen last Thursday evening Aug 10 at the mardi gras and carnival of the Poquanum tribe, International Order of Redmen, at Lynn. Runner-up and alternate to the Atlantic City competition was 17-year-old Miss Mary Burnett who had been named as "Miss Lynn." "Miss Massachusetts" was first in the semi-final tests made at Revere recently.

The Boston Public Library kindly looked for articles in the Boston Post and found two (none in the Globe). The first was on August 11 was virtually identical to the Walpole article above. The second was on August 12 (at right) featuring a picture and caption: "'Miss Massachusetts' Miss Elsie Taylor of South Walpole, slender, brown-haired beauty who will represent the Bay State at Atlantic City. 'Miss New England' is to be chosen this week at the big Revere Weterans of Foreign Wars carnival at Revere."

There is no mention of Elsie in the Atlantic City newspapers, other than she is a semi-finalist.

In 1940 Elsie is living back at home with her parents and sister, working in the packing department of an optical shop.

Elsie never married, and spent most of her adult life living with her widowed sister Annie in Manhattan Beach, CA where she was a production worker for Douglas aircraft. Neither Elsie nor her sister Annie had any children; most of their family lived back East.

Social Security Death Index: Name: ELSIE E TAYLOR 24 Jun 1910 06 Mar 1998 (V) 90266 (Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, CA) (none specified) 022-07-5756 Massachusetts

Neither Elsie nor her sister Annie (who died 10/20/1997) had obituaries in either The Beach Reporter (the Manhattan Beach newspaper) or the LA Times. Elsie and Annie lived in California for about 40 years, moving there sometime after Annie's husband died in 1955. Shortly before her death in March, 1998, Elsie moved from her long-time home in Manhattan Beach, CA to live with her younger sister Lillian Cassidy in Lincoln, NE; it is assumed that her "special friend, John Wydock" was also from Manhattan Beach and moved with her to Lincoln.

Obituary: Lincoln Journal Star -- March 7, 1998. Taylor - Elsie E., 87, Lincoln, formerly of Manhattan Beach, Calif., died Friday (3/6/98). Born, Attleboro, Mass. Production worker, Douglas Aircraft. Homemaker. Former Miss Massachusetts, 1934. Finalist, Miss America Pageant. Survivors: sisters, brother-in-law, Lillian Cassidy, Lincoln, Barbara and Freeman Caswell, Port Richey, Fla; sister-in-law, Thelma Taylor, Greenfield, Mass; special friend, John Wydock, Lincoln. ... Memorial services at a later date. Cremation. No visitation. [Note: although the obituary states Elsie was born in MA, her 1920 census clearly states that she and her two older siblings were born in RI; it is almost certain that she was born in RI as the 1910 census enumerated in April just three months before Elsie's birth, shows the family in RI.]

Search notes:
-- contacted Miss Massachusetts Scholarship, and received no help
-- I contacted the Walpole Library (Warren Smith), sending him the St. Louis Aug 17 article. He tried to look up information on Elsie Taylor but found nothing. He referred me to the Walpole Historical Society.
-- John Anderson of the Walpole Historical Society responded to my inquiries saying that the "old timers" he talked to remember Lucy Taylor (see below) but no Elsie Taylor. He found the August 18 "Walpole Times" article above. He also stated that no Taylor owned property in 1920 or 1935 in Walpole.
-- I contacted a Miss Lucy-Ellen Taylor Hill in Florida, who lived in Walpole on the 1930 census, age 13. Although I subsequently got the Walpole article and found this was too young to match up, I also thought she might have known of the Elsie Taylor of Walpole who was selected in 1933. The note received back from her on 10/13/2004 confirmed she was not Miss Massachusetts 1933, and furthermore stated she did not know of Elsie, despite being a contemporary in Walpole 1916-1972.
-- The Lynn Public Library (hedetnie@noble.mass.edu) researched the newspapers there and found the article above, which allowed me to identify Elsie's family.
-- brother John: SSDI: JOHN TAYLOR 09 Feb 1908 Jun 1990 (not specified) (none specified) 016-07-1598 Massachusetts -- Greenfield is in Franklin County, and is where the Taylor family lived on the 1920 census above. Requested John's obituary from the Greenfield newspaper. (John is married to Thelma and living in Montague, Franklin, MA in 1930 census.) I called his daughter Dorothy who confirmed that Elsie was Miss Massachusetts, had never married, and neither she nor her sister Annie had any children.
-- In September, 2010, family friend John Hennessey so kindly sent me the above obituary plus a picture of Elsie with his uncle, Steve Hennessey of Greenfield, Massachusetts. I would never have thought to look in NE! Thanks!
-- No SSDI found for John Wydock as of 2010.