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

State

Rank*

First
Name

Maiden
Name

Married Name(s)

Date of Birth

Age  

Date of Death

# children

Arkansas

DQ-M

Vivian

Ferguson

Stanley, McCollum, ?

~1912 AR

21

?

1+

California

3**, EG-3

Blanche

McDonald

Herman, Flever

10/3/1914 ME

18

9/5/1982 CA

1+

Connecticut

1, EGSF

Marion

Bergeron

Ruhlman, McKnight, Setzer

5/3/1918 CT

15

10/22/2002 OH

3

DC

SF

Rita

Burns

Slade, LeCuyer

6/28/1914 DC

19

9/8/1971 CA

2

Delaware

Victoria

George

Seiger, Lusardi

8/5/1914 DE

19

3/17/2003 DE

4

Idaho

DQ-R

Margaret

Wittman

Salm

2/8/1914 WA

19

12/17/1964 CA

0

Illinois

DQ-R

Lillian

Kroener

Rubesa

4/13/1915 MO

18

9/8/2004 CA

2

Iowa

DQ-R

Eleanor

Dankenbring

Hay

3/7/1913 IA

20

10/14/1974 MD

4

Kansas

Pauline

Sayre

Blair

9/20/1909, KS

23

5/1983 NV

0

Kentucky

SF

Lucille

Rader

Cyrus

9/11/1918 KY

14

12/16/2006 FL

2

Louisiana

SF

Marjorie

Hagler

Dial

6/12/1915 LA

18

2/7/1997 LA

3

Maine

SF, EGSF

Iva

Stewart

Burkholder

1/5/1914 NH

19

3/1985 CA

1+

Maryland

Dorothy

Dennis

Schulze

7/7/1917 DE

16

12/8/2000 MD

3

Massachusetts

SF

Elsie

Taylor

(never married)

6/24/1910 RI

23

3/6/1998 NE

0

Michigan

SF, EGSF

Barbara

Strand

Soderquist

6/25/1916 MI

17

6/21/2005 MI

3

Mississippi

SF

Dorothy

Eley

Jané

4/5/1909 AL

24

4/2/2005 MS

2

Missouri

SF

Marie

Marks

Sillman, Moore, ?, Marra

4/22/1918 TX

15

10/14/1995 CA

0?

New Hampshire

Leita

Laugley

?

?

?

?

?

New Jersey

SF, EG-2

Gertrude

Christman

(used Christman)

5/7/1918 NJ

15

12/28/2003 CA

2

New Mexico

Julia

Valdez

Rhodes, Prewitt

9/23/1914 CO

18

5/6/2007 NM

1

NYC

WD, EGSF

Elsa

Donath

Shomer, Schneider, Maharam

1/30/1914 NY

19

10/23/1993 CA

2

New York (State)

2**, EG-1

Florence

Meyers

Barber

8/5/1912 NY

21

12/17/2001 CA

1

North Carolina

Leola

Councilman

?, Haught

7/29/1913 NC

20

5/26/1991 NC

0

Ohio

SF

Corinne

Porter

Marino

6/8/1914 OH

19

3/24/2001 OH

2

Oklahoma

WD

Joanne

Alcorn

Tomlin

10/15/1916 OK

16

7/1986 CA

2

Pennsylvania

SF, EGSF

Geraldine

Glassman

Kingsley, ?

1915/1916 PA

17

?

?

Vermont

Nettina

Rich

(never married)

8/17/1914 MA

19

6/13/2005 MA

0

Virginia

4, EGSF

Evangeline

Glidewell

Newman

2/20/1915 VA

18

12/27/1997 VA

1

Washington

SF, EGSF

Gladine

Sweetser

Goerig

6/2/1911 MT

22

12/31/1987 WA

0

West Virginia

SF

Mildred

Fetty

Little, Geppert

5/22/1913 WV

20

7/9/1997 FL

3

Wisconsin

SF

Marie

Huebner

Raimer

9/24/1913 WI

19

2/15/2007 WA

4


-------------------
* 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
** It is absolutely confirmed that NY was first runner-up and CA second runner-up, but most articles and books prior to 2005 are incorrect. Even the Miss America Organization itself had listed Blanche McDonald as first runner-up until 2005 (see 2002 list); starting in 2005 Ric Ferentz (MAO historian) corrected the standings, specifying Miss NY 2nd and Miss CA 3rd. The confusion over the runners-up undoubtedly was a result of MAO wanting to distance itself from the 1933 pageant when it was revived in 1935, and then when more interested decades later found that most newspapers, including those of Atlantic City newspapers, simply mention that Misses California and New York State were the runners up, usually in that order (which perhaps suggests that California was second).
• 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
Early in the year, it was expected that there would be 49 contestants -- one from each of the 48 states, plus one from the District of Columbia (see 5/2 Fresno, CA article). Although 31 women showed up in New Jersey for the contest, four more had been expected, as the first Atlantic City newspapers mentioned 35 contestants -- but their list of states had just the 31. Several other state queens have been found, with references that they were to represent their state in Atlantic City: Texas (Aug 9th Denton, Texas newspaper), Indiana (7/19 Valparaiso, IN article) and Florida (newspapers). (Note that Texas is mentioned by columnist Mark Hellinger as being announced at the Pageant but not being there in his 9/12/1933 newspaper article, but he writes as a colorful columnist and not a serious reporter.) Additionally, there were references to three other states having queens who were supposed to show up on the Whistle Stop Tour in the MidWest: Nevada and Colorado (8/28 WV ad) and Oregon (7/31 Cape Girardeau, MO article). It is possible that especially in the MidWest, the Miss America Pageant might have been overshadowed by the newspaper advertising blitz campaign for the Court of Honor contest with its massive $5,000 prize for the opening of the Chicago World's Fair in May.

map: blue states sent contestants to Atlantic City
States with no contestant participating in Atlantic City: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. (Alaska and Hawaii were not states in 1933.) Some (but probably not all) of these states selected a state queen; she simply did not participate in the national pageant in Atlantic City. It is expected that more will be found as more local papers are digitized.

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

Research plans:
• 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.