The Thirty-One 1933 Miss America Contestants
Final standings and follow-up information
[Click on any Picture for larger view]
30 contestants with organizer Armand Nichols (the 30 here include Miss Atlantic City who was not a competitor)
Note: Misses Maine and Oklahoma are missing from the photo -- Maine had no bathing suit and Oklahoma was in the hospital
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Stanley, McCollum, ?
Ruhlman, McKnight, Setzer
Sillman, Moore, ?, Marra
Shomer, Schneider, Maharam
New York (State)
* KEY: In the Miss America Pageant: 1=Winner; 2=First Runner-Up; 3=Second Runner-Up; 4=Third Runner-Up; SF=Semi-Finalist; WD=Withdrew; DQ-M=Disqualified-Married; DQ-R=Disqualified-Residency
In the Evening Gown Competition: EG-1=winner; EG-2=First Runner-up; EG-3=Second Runner-up; EGSF=Semi-Finalist
A big thank you to Louis Meisel for making copies for me of the panorama picture at the top of this page. This was the picture that started his Miss America panorama collection; now he is only missing 1943. Visit his gallery at www.meiselgallery.com/LKMG/. He is the author of 13 books, mostly on pinups and photorealism, a term he coined.
Picture of top 12 finalists (still seeking better quality copy).
|"While Miss Florence Meyers, representing New York, and Miss Blanche McDonald, New York's State's pride, [sic] looked on while Director General Nichols Saturday night crowned Miss Marion Bergeron, "Miss Connecticut," in the Pageant, as "Miss America," queen of the 21 beauties in the final judging. The other two girls were runners up." - Atlantic City newspaper: Sep 11, 1933|
• There were several newspapers with incorrect information. To date, I have found three: 9/12/1933 Massachusetts newspaper article (by judge Gladys Glad's husband! "At last there is an end. "Miss Connecticut" is the winner. "Miss California" is second, and "Miss New York State" is third."), 9/1933 Danville, VA article, and a 10/23/1936 Fresno, CA newspaper clipping. It is thought that Mark Hellinger, a colorful columnist who proclaimed he did not take beauty pageants seriously, simply made a mistake. It is thought that the Danville, VA newspaper (hometown paper of third-runner up Miss Virginia) perhaps used literary license to describe: "There was spirited competition between Miss Virginia and Miss New York State for third position, the judges after a difficult decision finally naming Miss New York."
• As mentioned above, most newspapers simply specified that CA and NY were the runners up, without specifying which was second and which third.
• However there were several articles that reported NY as second and CA as third, most notably, the 9/10/1933 Los Angeles Times article which specifically stated that New York was second, California third and Virginia fourth (in the headline as well as the article), as well as a nationally-syndicated newsclipping found in several papers that specifically states Miss New York State was second and Miss California third and another article too. The Philadelphia Inquirer also specifically mentioned that NY was first-runner up and CA was second runner-up (Sun., Sep 10), with pictures and interviews of both women. Note that NY 2nd, CA 3rd and VA 4th means that both hometown newspapers (Los Angeles Times and Danville, VA) reported on the finish of their hometown contestant correctly.
|another view of just the 31 contestants|
|map: blue states sent contestants to Atlantic City|
The judges were given the names of just 25 of these 31 contestants to choose from for Miss America -- it is not known why the Atlantic City newspaper above on Sep 11 says 21. Miss Oklahoma withdrew the first day when she had to undergo an emergency appendectomy; Miss New York City withdrew the final night saying the contest was not "on the up and up" (and the Miss America Organization website lists she was disqualified due to professionalism); Miss Arkansas was disqualified as she was married; Misses Idaho, Illinois and Iowa were disqualified for lack of proof of state residency -- more on disqualifications.
Sources/Methodology - MAO (Miss America Organization) supplied me with a list of all the information they had as of 2002. I worked with Ric Ferentz (MAO historian) and the Miss Illinois Pageant Vice-President (Daryl Schabinger) to find more information from newspapers, etc, starting with the three missing names (Maine, Missouri and Vermont). I had originally only wanted to locate the seven other MidWest contestants to share the group photos, but I was quickly sucked into a larger project as Ric and Daryl wanted to locate all 31 contestants. The 1920 and 1930 census data were used to find parents names and siblings (and the year and place of birth of contestant). Then, the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) could be used to locate date and place of parents deaths for obituaries that would list married names of children. Or alternatively especially brothers could be traced through the internet or SSDI. Generally, the state pageants had no historical information to add; several in fact were adamant that they had no 1933 contestant! As more archival newspapers are digitized, more information will be available.--Donna Hay, 2002-2017
• New Hampshire: keep searching on Google/newspapers for "1933" and "Miss New Hampshire" for information on the 1933 state pageant or an obituary. Also search outside New Hampshire, look at the contests in MA and ME, and look for spelling alternatives such as Leta and Langley.
• Arkansas: Find parents' obits for 3rd married name. Find second husband's 1980 obit to find where son John is living. Search other sources for son John G. McCollum born ~1939. Find marriage certificates for birthdate for SSDI. In 2022 find her on 1950 census under expected new married name (but her son should be listed as McCollum).
• Pennsylvania: try to locate obituaries of parents or siblings. Wait for 1950 census.
• California: wait for 1950 census to add in other children (available in 2022)
• Maine: wait for 1950 census to add in other children (available in 2022)
• Missouri: confirm children 1950 census
Status of quest to share MidWest photos with the other seven contestants: shared with descendants for IL, KY, WV; shared with other relatives as no descendants for ID, KS; shared with other relatives but still looking for descendants for AR; not shared as of 2017 for MO.