Miss Oklahoma 1933 Joanne Alcorn - withdrew (appendicitis)

Joanne was part American-Indian (9% Osage), and many 1933 newspapers learned of this fact and publicized it. Joanne, however, was far from the first American Indian contestant; the previous Miss America contest seven years earlier in 1926 was won by Norma Jean Smallwood, a "full-blood" Cherokee. Joanne's claim to fame in the 1933 Pageant was that she was the first to withdraw in Atlantic City -- she was rushed to the hospital on the first day for an emergency appendectomy.


1930 Alcorn family census form - Ponce city, OK
1930 census data, Cross township, Kay county, OK
John S. Alcorn 39 (IA) oil producer
Myrtle A. 39 (OK), Joanne S. 13 (OK), Sally 11 (OK), John S Jr 4 5/12 (CO), Emily Ellis 37 (TX)(servant - cook), Hugh Ranard 21 (MN)(servant-chauffeur) (Ponca City is also in Kay county)
Born in 1916, Joanne was the oldest child of John and Myrtle Alcorn, who lived near Ponca City in Oklahoma. Her father was a well-to-do oil producer -- the ranch was worth $35,000 in 1930 and they had a cook and chauffeur living there!

Joanne, 16, missing from the panorama - in hospital with appendicitis
Joanne's mother is listed as Myrtle Soldania, now Alcorn, born 1-1-1891 with 3/16 Indian Blood -- the Oklahoma Osage Tribe Roll, 1921. By the Act of Congress on 28 June 1906, the lands of the Osage Nation in what is now Osage County, Oklahoma were divided among the 2229 members of the tribe. Each member received an allotment of 657 acres of surface rights. Accordingly, there was a census taken in 1908 and certified by the Osage Indian Agency in 1921.

Due to her mother's Indian blood, Joanne was widely touted as the American Indian entrant. Curiously, Joanne was not the first American Indian in the Miss America Pageant. Her most famous predecessor was 1926 Miss America Norma Smallwood from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was the first Native American (Cherokee) to win the crown. It is noteworthy that the earliest Miss America pageants were more inclusive of minorities; it was not until the 1935 that the white-only restriction was instituted.

July 14 St. Louis newspaper
In a today-not-so-politically-correct headline, the July 14 St. Louis newspaper proclaims: "Joanne Alcorn, Osage Indian, beauty of Ponca City, OK, was crowned Miss Oklahoma recently, winnng against the competition of scores of her pale face sisters."

July 27, 1933 Aberdeen daily world
And Aberdeen daily world (WA newspaper) had a July 27th article: Real Indian Beauty. Joanne Alcorn, Osage Indian girl of Ponca City, Okla, is "Miss Oklahoma" of 1933 (Associated Press photo).

Joanne is in St. Louis in the end of July, together with Miss Kansas and Miss Missouri, according to the picture and caption of the August 9th Denton, TX newspaper. Curiously, Miss Texas who is also in the picture, never makes it to Atlantic City. Joanne is not mentioned in any of the other St. Louis newspaper articles found to date.

Joanne is also included in the West Virginia ads the end of August. However, she is not included in the MidWest group photos, so it is not clear when she might have joined the six-week Whistle Stop Tour.

Atlantic City newspaper: Sep 6: "MISS OKLAHOMA FAILS. Girl From State Which Crowned One Winner Afflicted With Appendicitis. The wheels of another Atlantic City Pageant began to grind out a "Miss America 1933" yesterday, the first since Lois Delander carried away the title in 1927. Thirty girls from 28 states arrived on the Beauty Special and immediately entered the Pageant whirl revived this year on a commercial scale. There should have been 31 but "Miss Oklahoma" from the state which produced one Miss America (Norma Smallwood), was seized with appendicitis and an emergency operation kept her from the Pageant."

Joanne went to the University of Oklahoma upon her return home, where she met Pinky Tomlin (1907-1987), a singer, songwriter and famed bandleader of the 1930s and 1940s. He wrote and published 22 songs, including "In Ole Oklahoma" adopted as the state song. He came to national attention while attending the University of Oklahoma with his song "The Object of My Affection" written for Joanne Alcorn, whom he would later marry in 1938. In 1940 Joanne is married; she and her daughter are living with her (divorced) mom and siblings. Joanne and Pinky Tomlin remained happily married until their respective deaths in 1986 and 1987. They had two children: Sylvia Tomlin Burns of Ponca City, Oklahoma, and Truman Virgil Tomlin, Jr., (Tom), of Valley Village, California.

Joanne died in 1986 at age 69.
Social Security Death Index: JOANNE TOMLIN, date of birth: 15 Oct 1916, date of death: Jul 1986, place of last residence: 91361 (Westlake Village, Ventura, CA), place of last benefit: (none specified), social security number: 551-70-3517, state of issue: California

LA Times obituary: July 11, 1986. Joanne Tomlin, beloved wife of Truman 'Pinky' Tomlin; mother of Mrs. Sylvia Riley and Mr. Tom Tomlin. Also survived by 4 grandchildren, Ann and Bob Riley and Jon and Mike Tomlin. Contributions may be made to the John Wayne Cancer Clinic, UCLA, P.O. Box 24177, Village Station, CA 90024. Graveside services 11 am Friday in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

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TOMLIN, TRUMAN P 09 Sep 1907 12 Dec 1987 (V) 80 90241 (Downey, Los Angeles, CA) (none specified) Colorado 523-10-6599
-- have not been able to make contact with her children.