By 1921, East Coast newspapers were looking for ways to increase their circulation.Newspaper organizations decided to sponsor photographic popularity contests from among their readership and awarded their respective winners with an all expense paid trip to the Second Annual Fall Frolic.She would also win a trophy for her appeance in the Boardwalk Parade noting her popularity with the crowds of parade-goers.
Sixteen year-old Margaret Gorman, “Miss Washington, D.
C.” (and a Mary Pickford look-a-like) would eventually win the Watkins Trophy in this event.
In 1928, the protestors won, and the pageant was discontinued as commercial supporters withdrew in response to accusations that the pageant lacked decorum.
1920s Timeline September 25th: Atlantic City businessmen stage a “Fall Frolic” in order to attract tourists to the seasonal resort beyond the traditional end of summer, Labor Day. Decisions were made to increase the number of scheduled public attractions and make it a two-day event the following year.
By September 1922 she became known as “Miss America.” In the ensuing years it would grow and reflect some of the most powerfully held attitudes towards what it meant to be an ideal American woman. In the decades just prior to its creation, there was a marked transformation around women’s roles in society.
The years from 1900 to 1920 were rich with expanding social, political and cultural activity for women.
With no rule barring her participation, she finished as a runner up.
But her inclusion fueled the fire started by women’s and religious groups against the competition as lacking in decorum.
The first pageant winner reflected these changes in attitude towards beauty. She also bore a striking resemblance to silent screen star Mary Pickford, who was just achieving fame as ‘America’s Sweetheart’.