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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • RAINIER NATIONAL PARK: c. 1920s

Pageant of Pulchritude: 1927

Pageant of Pulchritude: 1927

"Second International Pageant of Pulchritude and Eighth Annual Bathing Girl Revue -- Galveston, Texas -- May 21-22-23, 1927." Panorama by Joseph M. Maurer. View full size.

 

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

And the winner was --

Miss New York, Dorothy Britton.
She was also Miss United States at the time.
Dorothy won $2,000 and a silver plaque.

Blondes vs Orthochromatic Film

There were blondes back-in-the-day, though not the percentage of faux blondes that you see today.

The most common film used in Cirkut cameras in this period was Kodak Verichrome. It was very well suited to the exposure challenges this type of imaging poses and developed to a density range that was an excellent match to the contact printing papers of the day. It was, though, orthochromatic. As a result, blond hair with any yellowish or golden hue would reproduce much darker than it would seem to the eye. Miss Oak Cliff, Miss Florida, and Miss Douglas may well be blondes. Miss Amarillo could possibly be a redhead, you just can't really tell.

Didn't they have Blondes back then?

Out of 38 contestants, not even one.

Enthusiastic Model.

My vote is with Miss San Antonio for her devil-may-care smile and sassy pose. Her name was Florence Zoeller.

A lot of beautiful curves

including the seawall in the background that is pretty much the same age as the young ladies. It is an engineering marvel that was completed in 1910, so it is only 17 years old in this picture. The seaway runs straight along the beach, but has a convex curved face. It only looks curved because of the way the panoramic camera (probably a Kodak Cirkut camera) scanned the image.

Take a bow. Take two.

Miss Portugal's hosiery ... I can't even. She may be my style icon for today. But the winner of that whole shooting match had to be Miss Third-From-The-Left (I can't read her sash).

Cora, Countess of Grantham

Miss Vancover (sic) looks a lot like a young Elizabeth McGovern when she was in the movie 'RAGTIME'.

A touching picture

Most of these young women look so happy and sweetly pleased with themselves. I hope this day was a pleasant memory for all of them, even world-weary Miss France.

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Too bad Miss Monroe didn't have the same attributes as Marilyn. :^{

Pour me another.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder."

Sea change

Compare the swimsuits and favored body type in this pageant to the pictures we've seen of Iola Swinnerton just five or so years earlier. What a change!

Who won

The Charleston contest? By the way, really like the new, easier to read format!

Miss Spelling

Miss "Vancover" doesn't seem disheartened by her forgotten "u."

Game of Clones

What a collection of scrawny legs. However I would choose Ms. Ottawa to win
in this category, IMHO.

Galveston Does Not Have A Great Beach -- Been There

First thing I noticed is every contestant is wearing heals heels on a sandy beach. How many sprained ankles resulted from this practice?

Third from the left (between Dallas and Amarillo) is so busy showing off her beautiful ringlets she hasn't noticed her sash has flipped over. I suspect Miss Point ? (between Douglas and Bessemer) spent the most time practicing her pose in front of a mirror. I like the saucy bows on the hose of Miss Portugal. I think Miss New York and Brooklyn look lovely standing next to each other, outfitted in similar attire.

Countries and towns

Such a diversity of locations: from American cities and towns (Shreveport, Kerrville, Ogden, Monroe, Pine Bluff, Bessemer) to European countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy) to other nearby lands (Mexico, Cuba). Special mentions are in order: perkiest (Miss San Antonio), scowling stereotype (Miss France), coolest bathing suit (Miss Cleburne), and outstanding hair (Miss Amarillo). I can well understand the assembled crowd on the seawall, soaking in all the pulchritude.

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