Vintage: American Beauty Queens (1920s)

Vintage: American Beauty Queens (1920s)


Beauty contests became more popular in the 1880s. In 1888, the title of ‘beauty queen’ was awarded to an 18-year-old Creole contestant at a pageant in Spa, Belgium. All participants had to supply a photograph and a short description of themselves to be eligible to enter and a final selection of 21 was judged by a formal panel. Such events were not regarded as respectable. Beauty contests came to be considered more respectable with the first modern “Miss America” contest held in 1921.

On Aug. 2, 1926, Mae Greene, 18, was chosen as Miss Chicago 1926 out of 4,000 rivals at the Trianon Ballroom in Chicago

On Aug. 2, 1926, Mae Greene, 18, was chosen as Miss Chicago 1926 out of 4,000 rivals at the Trianon Ballroom in Chicago

On Aug. 2, 1926, Mae Greene, 18, was chosen as Miss Chicago 1926

On Aug. 2, 1926, Mae Greene, 18, was chosen as Miss Chicago 1926

Estelle Kosloff, 20, August 16, 1927. Kosloff won the Miss Chicago beauty pageant in 1927, but was disqualified when the pageant found out she was recently married

Estelle Kosloff, 20, August 16, 1927. Kosloff won the Miss Chicago beauty pageant in 1927, but was disqualified when the pageant found out she was recently married

Miss America Lois Delander, 16, Oct. 11, 1927

Miss America Lois Delander, 16, Oct. 11, 1927

Miss America Lois Delander, a Joliet High School junior who was selected queen of beauty at the Atlantic City pageant, is seen with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albin Delander, 1927

Miss America Lois Delander, a Joliet High School junior who was selected queen of beauty at the Atlantic City pageant, is seen with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albin Delander, 1927

Miss Myrtle Christine Valsted, 17, July 11, 1927. Valsted became Miss Chicago 1927 after the original winner, Estelle Kosloff, was found out to be married

Miss Myrtle Christine Valsted, 17, July 11, 1927. Valsted became Miss Chicago 1927 after the original winner, Estelle Kosloff, was found out to be married

Miss Myrtle Christine Valsted, 17, was Miss Chicago in 1927

Miss Myrtle Christine Valsted, 17, was Miss Chicago in 1927

Mrs. Wallace Ford models a dress that she will wear to the Miss America costume for arts ball at the Stevens Hotel, Nov. 20, 1927

Mrs. Wallace Ford models a dress that she will wear to the Miss America costume for arts ball at the Stevens Hotel, Nov. 20, 1927

Virgina Stonesifer, from left, Betty Ann Savers, Doris Rutkin, Margaret Dorney, Novene LaRue, and Myrtle Christine Valsted in the Miss Chicago contest, 1927

Virgina Stonesifer, from left, Betty Ann Savers, Doris Rutkin, Margaret Dorney, Novene LaRue, and Myrtle Christine Valsted in the Miss Chicago contest, 1927

Ella Van Hueson, July 3, 1928

Ella Van Hueson, July 3, 1928

Miss Chicago Georgia Theodora Hale was the winner in the first year of the Miss Chicago contest in 1922

Miss Chicago Georgia Theodora Hale was the winner in the first year of the Miss Chicago contest in 1922

Miss Universe Ella Van Hueson, June 16, 1928

Miss Universe Ella Van Hueson, June 16, 1928

The recently-crowned Miss Universe, Ella Van Hueson, 22, arrived home in Chicago for a parade in her honor on June 8, 1928 after winning the International Pageant of Pulchritude in Galveston, Texas

The recently-crowned Miss Universe, Ella Van Hueson, 22, arrived home in Chicago for a parade in her honor on June 8, 1928 after winning the International Pageant of Pulchritude in Galveston, Texas

Miss Chicago Margaret Leigh came in fourth place at the Atlantic City Miss America beauty contest, the most prestigious beauty contest in America, September of 1924

Miss Chicago Margaret Leigh came in fourth place at the Atlantic City Miss America beauty contest, the most prestigious beauty contest in America, September of 1924

Miss Milwaukee Clare Koehler, from left, Miss Chicago Margaret Leigh, Miss Los Angeles Lillian Knight and Miss Sioux City Alta Sterling, Sept. 1924

Miss Milwaukee Clare Koehler, from left, Miss Chicago Margaret Leigh, Miss Los Angeles Lillian Knight and Miss Sioux City Alta Sterling, Sept. 1924

Miss Chicago of 1925, Margarita Gonzales, circa 1925. Gonzales was a candidate for the national title at the Atlantic City beauty contest in 1925, but was eliminated in the first round

Miss Chicago of 1925, Margarita Gonzales, circa 1925. Gonzales was a candidate for the national title at the Atlantic City beauty contest in 1925, but was eliminated in the first round

Cars are covered in flowers as part of a Chrysler Parade to honor beauty queens, Sept. 1, 1926

Cars are covered in flowers as part of a Chrysler Parade to honor beauty queens, Sept. 1, 1926

Maebelle Soller at the Miss Chicago contest, Aug. 31, 1926

Maebelle Soller at the Miss Chicago contest, Aug. 31, 1926

Margaret Knight, right, and two other girls participate in the 1926 Miss Chicago contest

Margaret Knight, right, and two other girls participate in the 1926 Miss Chicago contest

Miss Chicago contestant Lucille Burgess, left, with Betty Blythe, March 20, 1926

Miss Chicago contestant Lucille Burgess, left, with Betty Blythe, March 20, 1926

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