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Inter-City Beauties: 1927

Contestants at Atlantic City Pageant. View full size.

Contestants at Atlantic City Pageant. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Miss Yonkers 1927

Miss Yonkers was 16 at the time. All contestants were required to wear stockings, something she was unaware of, and she didn't bring any. She borrowed the knee highs because to pose with bare legs was not allowed and considered scandalous. How do I know? She was my Mom. SHe passed away in 1999. I have a whole album of photos from the event. Her 1st cousin, running as Miss Westchester County, won the bathing suit competition in 1941 and was 3rd runner up. 1941 was the first year that the competition was called the Miss America Pageant. Up until then it was called the Atlantic City Pageant. It started in 1926, I believe, as a way to extend the summer season in Atlantic City.

Similar to the 1926 Inter-Cities Competition pic...

I see a similarity to the previous year's picture with that year's contestants. Notice in the upper right-hand corner, Miss Yonkers wears rolled-up white stockings just like cute and a little sexy. In the '26 photo, two contestants stood in that same corner and, lo and behold, they were the only ones in rolled up stockings. Unfortunately, that picture was obscure to the tags they wore in the front that you could not see where they were from...what a shame! But I love it!!! What an era in history!!! Did our grandmothers have fun or what?

Not Miss America

The photo is of the Miss Atlantic City pageant, not the Miss America pageant.

Interesting comment...

Chances are at least one of the Miss Black America contestants has a bit of German heritage in her. Not enough, maybe for blue eyes, but probably.

But your comment is interesting because these smiling young women competed in a system that informally screened blacks, Asians and others from competition. The informal understanding was later codified under the pageant's Rule Seven, which stated: "contestants must be of good health and of the white race."

People with backgrounds other than strictly European began competing eventually. But the Miss Black America pageant was created in the 1960s, after years of informal exclusion, by those of African heritage seeking their own recognition. That they had to do so outside of the pageant was unfortunate.

If you want to read more, PBS has material up on their website from their show about Miss A here.


I was watching the Miss Black America Pageant and I didnt find any blue eyes. I guess Germans need not apply.

Limited sampling

To be a beauty in 1927 meant being white. Anyone with one drop of (Arrgh! Gasp! Retch!) African blood need not apply.

Are you my mother?

I was born in Atlantic City 12 years after this picture was taken, so conceivably one of these could be my lost mother.

Don't be ridiculous!

These women put most of the hussies to-day to shame!



yes most of them are still living but in the other life. i agree with will said


except that 1927 was 80 years ago and most of them may have been about 20 years old which would put them all at about 100 now. So probably not most of them are alive.


yea except i'm sure most of them are still alive 1930 wasn't very long ago der.

Annotate on Flickr?

Anyone find this on Flickr with notes on each contestant where they are from?

Old photos make me sortof sad

Old photos make me sortof sad, and I get all philosophical and thoughtful and whatnot: Every one of these women have been dead for many, many years, the guys overcome with need for them are also gone, but that need lives on, or something. They sure are beautiful.

Like the above comment, it's nice that there are no augmentations or nose jobs or whatever, just pretty women, their smiles glowing, life stretching out in front of them like a road without end. I hope that the road was good for them, and I hope your road is good for you, too.


Austin Texas

In reply to Tipster No. 2

"(I'm looking at you, Miss Biloxi), but what do you expect in a competition where they throw Miss Biloxi up against Miss California and Miss New England?"

There are so many beautiful women in the South.

Hush yo mouth! Let's see your picture!

The winner

The winner was Miss Illinois. Sort of a demure, cute look. Can you find her in the picture?

What are you fools talking

What are you fools talking about? I read the comments before I clicked through to the full size pic, expecting it to be shocking. There are some hotties in there, and most of them have a really attractive cute look. Yeah, there are a few mingers too (I'm looking at you, Miss Biloxi), but what do you expect in a competition where they throw Miss Biloxi up against Miss California and Miss New England?


Look at her banner, I think it says Princess American


I meant to the left as you're looking at him; actually to his right.

Re: Not a blonde among them ...

More importantly, not a breast augmentation for any of them. And no capped teeth. Just as God made 'em. You'll never see a talent show like that any more.

Drew Barrymore

Look at the woman 4th to the left of the guy in the middle. Either Drew Barrymore has a time machine, or that's her grandmother.

beauty standards

Hey! There are some real hotties in that bunch.

Beauty Standards

Beauty standards change from time to time.


While it appears there are no blondes, there were in fact several. This is owing to the likelyhood that the photo was taken on orthochromatic film, not panchromatic film. Panchromatic film was invented in Dec 1912 and did not take over popular photography as THE choice until the 1960's. Orthochromatic film stock—the only kind previously available—had good reproduction at the higher frequency (blue) end of the colour spectrum, low response to yellow and green and complete insensitivity to reds. Therefore yellows are represented as a dark grey.

Not a blonde among them ...

Interesting how much darker their hair was than your typical beauty queen of today.


I think it's a picture that brings out the feelings of the era.

most beautiful of them all...

is the one in full formal native american dress... anyone able to link more about her?

At least . . .

. . . they're not all anorexic appearing and their smiles seem genuine. They look real! Thanks, Shorpy, for sharing!

What about 8th down?

The woman 8th to the right of the man looks more drag queen-ish than the 4th... but the REAL question here is what's the deal with the woman dressed like an American Indian? Was she part of the presentation, or was she a contestant who thought that get-up would give her the edge?


I think I've seen this image before on the american memory project. Is this where you are getting your images?

Bitter pageant rivalry caught on film . . .

Take a look at the woman directly behind the gentleman in the middle. She's about to sink a knife into the back of Miss Wichita.

Compare and contrast

Pay attention

And why is the woman to his left looking in a different direction than everyone else?

Forgive me...

I hope this isn't an average sampling of women in 1927. Some of them are pretty, of course, but others... man... How did they win? (For instance, look at the girl four down from the man in the center. Is that a drag queen?)

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