Miss Maine 1933 Iva Stewart - semifinalist

Iva had always held dreams of being an actress, and was undoubtedly lured by the RKO screen test grand prize for the Pageant winner. Although she did not win the prized screen test, she achieved her dream of an illustrious movie career that included a leading role in a Mr. Moto movie as well as a modeling career that included her stint as the Chesterfield cigarette girl. Iva is reported to have come under the Fox spotlight when she was selected as America's most beautiful girl in an evening dress -- this was not in Atlantic City but presumably in some other contest. Of all the 1933 Miss America contestants, Iva achieved the most screen success.


1930 the Stewart Family - Bath, Maine
1930 census:
Marple A. Stewart 36 (Canada), steam fitter at the Ironworks
Georgie A. 34 (NH)(married at age 16), Iva B. 15 (NH) telephone operator, Marjorie M. 10 (NH), John A. 8 (NH).
(Iva is also found on another census in Hebron, Maine, living by herself as a lodger, age 16, and working as a telephone operator as in the census with her family.) Although she did not appear in any of the Morse High School yearbooks in Hebron, Maine, she is listed as a student there in 1931-32.
Iva was born on January 5, 1914 in Berlin, NH, to Georgie and Marple Stewart, and had two younger siblings: Marjorie and John.

Misses Maine, Connecticut, Mississippi, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky at the judging
no panorama picture of Iva - age 19
Iva was chosen as Miss Maine at a state contest in Old Orchard Beach on July 25th (article); she qualified for the state contest having been chosen as Miss Auburn. Prior to the pageant, Iva was a maid for the Sewall family, worked at the Ribbon Counter at Woolworth's, and also was a telephone operator but always had dreams of being an actress. 5' 2½" tall, weighing 108 pounds, Iva had reddish-blonde hair. (Information compiled by the Patten Free Library, Bath, ME; ordered by Daryl Schabinger.)

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)
1930s Iva Stewart - click here for a second shot in the same bathing suit, this second one is dated 1938, a photograph by Gene Korman
one of many pictures of the 1930s
1937 movie poster (back and more pictures
1939 newspaper article - click on picture to see entire article
Iva is not in the panorama picture as she forgot her bathing suit. It is most curious that two New England contestants, Iva and Miss New Hampshire, both forgot to pack bathing suits for the Atlantic City Pageant, so Iva is missing from the first day's group panorama photograph. As the Atlantic City newspapers report: "The picture-taking process was delayed for some time when it was found that two of the girls were missing. A checkup reveled that the missing beauties were "Miss Maine" and "Miss New Hampshire." They were finally located in the beauty parlors. The two New England girls had not brought along their bathing suits. However, the committee soon found two extra outfits and the proceedings continued." Somehow, even though a suit was found for her, she is not in the picture. Luckily, in this only photo found of the judging, it just so happens that Iva is in the front! And in 2016, a picture of the four New England contestants was found on ebay (at right).

After the pageant, Iva went to New York to be sponsored by the Artists Casting Agency there, and studied dramatic art while an entertainer at the Paradise Club. During this time, she met three other girls, and the four vowed to stay together until they had landed a film contract and gone on to screen stardom. By 1939, all four were under contract with 20th Century Fox. Iva had come under the Fox spotlight when she was selected as America's most beautiful girl in an evening dress.

From 1937-1940, she had parts in twenty-one movies for Fox:
1937 "Thin Ice" called a typical Cinderella story, starring Sonja Henie and Tyrone Power; Iva was uncredited as a member of the Girl's Band.
1938 "The Baroness and the Butler" a comedy-drama romance starring William Powell; Iva was uncredited as a Lady at the Charity Party
1938 "Kentucky Moonshine" A comedy-romance starring Harry, Jimmy and Al Ritz; Iva was uncredited as a telephone operator
1938 "Safety in Numbers" a family comedy. Iva played Toni Stewart -- her first credited role.
1938 "Three Blind Mice" a delightful comedy, well-scripted and directed with a sense of fun, starring Loretta Young, Joel McCrea and David Niven; Iva was uncredited as the cigarette girl
1938 "Always Goodbye" a drama starring Barbara Stanwyck and Cesar Romero; Iva was uncredited asthe flower girl.
1939 "Sharpshooters" an adventur film starring Brian Donlevy and Lynn Bari; Iva was uncredited as a secretary
1939 "The Three Musketeers" Iva was uncredited as a girl waving at the End.
1939 "Wife, Husband and Friend" a storyline with music and slapstick, starring Loretta Young and Cesar Romero; Iva was Miss Carver's secretary.
1939 "Boy Friend" a comedy crime drama, starring Sally Murphy. Iva was Blonde (uncredited)

1938 Mr. Moto ad
1939 "Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation" the last of the Mr. Moto series to star Peter Lorre; Iva was a leading lady star, Susan French.
1939 "Tail Spin" of women flyers of the time and their trials and tribulations, starring Alice Faye as the central character; Iva was not listed in the credits. In one of the Bath Independent newspaper pictures she is pictured in her aviator's costume. (Feb 4 1939 "Box Offfice" magazine page)
1939 "Hollywood Cavalcade" a comedy-drama-history starring Alice Faye and Don Ameche; Iva was uncredited as the girl with Michael (Don Ameche) at Anniversary Party.
1939 "20,000 Men a Year" an action-adventure-drama-romance, about a pilot who disobeys unsafe orders starring Randolph Scott; Iva was uncredited as a stewardess
1940 "High School" a drama set on a Texas Ranch, starring Hame Withers and Joe Brown; Iva is uncredited as a stewardess.
1940 "Little Old New York" centers around the invention of the steamboat, called a romantic comedy history lesson circa 1807. Starring Alice Faye, Fred MacMurray and Andy Devine; Iva is uncredited as Mrs. Irving.
1940 "Free, Blonde and 21" a drama-romance of stories of women who live in an all-women hotel, starring Lynn Bari and Mary Beth Hughes; Iva is uncredited as a telephone operator
1940 "Star Dust" a drama-comedy about Hollywood starring Linda Darnell; Iva is uncredited as the Hotel Clerk's wife
1940 "Girl in 313" a crime-drama-'film-noir'-romance about jewel thieves, starring Florence Rice and Kent Taylor; Iva is Margie, a telephone operator.
1940 "Young People" a drama starring Shirley Temple in her last film for 20th Century Fox (at age 12); Iva is uncredited as Soubrettee
1940 "Lillian Russell" musical and biography. Starring Alice Fay, Don Ameci and Henry Fonda; Iva is not listed in the credits but she had a part in this film. Her friend, Mona Gitterman, was severely burned in the costume department, and in an ironic twist of fate, Mona's part was given to Iva. Iva retired after this film.

February 16, 1939 Bath Independent article: Bath Girl rises from Ribbon Counter to Cinema Stardom
Miss Iva Stewart Now Under Contract with 20th Century Fox Company Sees Dream Come True and Returns for Visit
      A small town girl who made good in the Metropolis returned to the Ship-building City Tuesday in the person of Miss Iva Stewart, Hollywood, Cal., who jumped off the train literally knocking her father's hat off as she greeted him. Miss Stewart displayed none of the poise of the polished actress that she is, depicting only a charming young woman glad to be home again, was met by her father Marple A. Stewart and her brother, John, and Managers Frank A. Vennett and Francis J. Gooch of the Opera House and Uptown respectively. Mr. Vennett greeted her and told Miss Stewart that during her stay in Bath, she will have a 1939 Chevrolet at her disposal.
      Miss Steart was driven to her home, 31 Robinson Lane, and after thanking the driver, Ralph F. Small of Pilgrim Chevrolet, Inc., tore up the steps, nearly tripping in her eagerness to greet her mother. Miss Stewart wore a brown fur coat over a tailored green wool, grey felt hat and corsage of gardenias. Though she looked fresh and ready for a strenuous day of greeting her old friends, Miss Stewart expressed a desire for rest, saying she had not slept all night, attirbuting her restlessness to her excitement at being on her way home.
      For Miss Stewart the last few years have been those of "dreams come true."
      Her story, which from the screen angle has its inception in Bath, is that of an atttractive and gifted young lady who, from behind a counter of the Woolworth store, dreamed of cinema fame. Then one Summer's afternoon in 1933 she made the decision -- that she possessed the qualifications to turn those dreams into reality.
      The fact a beauty contest was to be staged at Old Orchard Beach for the purpose of selecting "Miss Maine" had everything to do with Miss Stewart's decision. She entered the contest and carried away the title. It led her to Atlantic City where as "Miss Maine" she was runner up for the title of "Miss America."
      This was a definite break in the young lady's career for it attracted the attention of the Artists Casting Agency at New York City and her services were obtained by that organization. She studied dramatic art while an entertainer at the Paradise club and during this period met three other young ladies, who, like herself, had their eyes turned Hollywood way. Their meeting and friendship was the beginning of the much publicised "Vow Girls" incident. The quarter vowed to each other they would stay together until they had landed a film contract and gone on to screen stardom.
      The other three girls were Elizabeth Palmer, Indianapolis, Ind., Irma Wilson, Brooklyn, N. Y., and Alice Armand, Alsace-Lorraine, France. Today all four are under contract with 20th Century Fox and well along the path to the fame they seek.
      Miss Stewart came under the Fox Company spotlight when she was selected as America's most beautiful girl in an evening dress.
      And briefly that is the story of Miss Stewart, who was born in Berlin, N. H., but has passed most of her life in Maine with her family. She has reddish blonde hair, weighs 108 pounds and is five feet, two and one-half inches tall.
      In addition to her parents and a brother, John A. Stewart, she has a sister Miss Marjorie May Stewart, who is employed at the Florence Villa hotel, Florence Villa, Fla.
     Presented Key to City
      Miss Stewart was presented the key to the city of Bath Tuesday afternoon at two o'clock on the steps of Davenport Memorial City Hall. Mayor Donald N. Small made the presentation. Raymond E. English, assistant superintendant, presented Miss Stewart with a genuine Hudson Bay Parks in behalf of the Congress Shirt Co.

1942 newspaper article
January 15, 1942, p. 5, The Bath Independent:
Movie Star Quits Screen to Enjoy a Home and Baby
Iva Stewart of Bath Now Mrs. Bernard Burkholder
      Mrs. Bernard Burkholder (Miss Iva Stewart) and son Richard of Sacramento, Calif., who have been visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Marple Stewart of Upper Washington street, left Sunday for their home.
      As Iva Stewart, she appeared in a number of pictures in Hollywood and one of her last parts was in "Tailspin", after which with two others of the company, she made a coast to coast tour with personal appearances in the many cities where this picture was shown.
      Miss Stewart not only took part in many pictures but was with a modelling agency. She was the Chesterfield girl in several of their advertisements.
      About a year and a half ago, she retired from all these activities and with Mr. Burkholder and their seven months old son, is now living in Sacramento. Mr. Burkholder, who had his own orchestra in New York gave up this work and is now in business.
      Mrs. Burkholder, who started her theatrical career by winning a beauty contest, is even prettier than when she left Bath and upon her visit here three years ago. She is delighted with her home in Sacramento, finding a home and small baby a full time job, and has not a single regret at leaving a promising career in the movies.
      They made the trip here and went back by airplane.

1970 newspaper article
September 14, 1970, Lewiston Evening Journal
Iva Stewart
The first [Miss Maine to bring national attention to Maine pulchritude through national beauty competition], in 1933, was Iva Barbara Stewart of Hebron, who started on the road to fame winning a beauty contest at Oakdale Gardens in Auburn, (a popular dance spot in that era). A few days after her coronation she entered the Miss America contest held that year in Newport, R.I. [No idea why they thought Rhode Island instead of Atlantic City -- the Miss America contest was never held in RI]. On September 13, the local papers reported she "finished well up in the national contest." Hebron Academy students of those days, who included a well known Lewiston political figure, remember it well. "She was second runner up," he reports [incorrect]. Iva took advantage of her success and went on to New York where she appeared in a revue the following year. In October of that same year, to prove that what a pretty Maine girl can do once, she can do again, she entered the National American Beauty Pageant at Madison Square Garden and was winner! An account of her winning appeared in the local papers, along with a photograph showing her very young, and very pretty, and very much like the many of the hundreds of film and state personalities of the 30s. Apparently, Hollywood though so too for the following year, the Journal reported, she was signed to a Hollywood contract. However, the files disclose no further news of Iva's show biz career and the only remaining entry in the winter of 1939 reports that she was visiiting in Bath.

In 1940 Iva is married, living in Los Angeles, and working as a movie actress.

Social Security Death Index: IVA BURKHOLDER, date of birth: 05 Jan 1914, date of death: Mar 1985, last residence: 90020 (Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA), last benefit: (none specified), social security number: 555-09-3347, where issued: California

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BURKHOLDER, BERNARD 28 Aug 1907 Feb 1980 72 96815 (Honolulu, Honolulu, HI) 96815 (Honolulu, Honolulu, HI) California 571-18-0816
Have not been able to contact descendants.