Miss America 1945

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Miss America 1945
Date September 8, 1945
Presenters Bob Russell (entertainer)
Venue Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Entrants 39
Placements 13
Winner Bess Myerson
Flag of New York City.svg Miss New York City

Miss America 1945 (the 19th Miss America pageant) was held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 8, 1945.[1] Two days prior to the actual selection and coronation, the night of the talent competition, the Army Air Force Veterans voted the eventual winner, Miss New York City (Bess Myerson) as their favorite beauty queen.[2]


Miss New York City, Bess Myerson: Miss America 1945 (Image taken in 1957)

Bess Myerson was the first Jewish-American and the first Miss New York [3] (competing as Miss New York City, a competition organized by a local radio station[4]) to win the Miss America Pageant as Miss America 1945.[5][6][7][4][8] As the only Jewish contestant, Myerson was encouraged by the pageant directors to change her name to "Bess Meredith"[6] or "Beth Merrick"[5] but she refused.[6][5] After winning the title (and as a Jewish Miss America), Myerson received few endorsements[6][5][7][8][4] and later recalled that "I couldn't even stay in certain hotels [...] there would be signs that read no coloreds, no Jews, no dogs. I felt so rejected. Here I was chosen to represent American womanhood and then America treated me like this."[6] She thus cut short her Miss America tour and instead traveled with the Anti-Defamation League. In this capacity, she spoke against discrimination in a talk entitled, "You Can't Be Beautiful and Hate."[6][5][7][8][4]



Miss America 1945
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up
3rd runner-up
4th runner-up
Top 13
Miss Congeniality


The Miss America 1945 delegates are:[9]

City or State Name Hometown Age Talent Placement Awards Notes
Miss Arkansas Leslie Hampton Lake Village, Arkansas 18
Miss Atlanta Pauline Walker Atlanta, Georgia 18
Miss Birmingham Frances Lanell Dorn Birmingham, Alabama 18 2nd runner-up Talent (tie)[10]
Miss Boston Claire Thibadeau Cambridge, Massachusetts 19
Miss California Polly Ellis Tarzana, California 19 Top 13
Miss Chicago Louise Wieland Chicago, Illinois 19 Top 13
Miss Cincinnati Virginia Lee Pleasant Portsmouth, Ohio 20
Miss Connecticut Sylvia K. Shaw Hartford, Connecticut 20
Miss Detroit Barbara Lee Smith Detroit, Michigan 20
Miss Florida Virginia Freeland Miami, Florida 19 3rd runner-up
Miss Georgia Doris Joyce Coker Columbus, Georgia 18
Miss Illinois Beverly Ann Long Joliet, Illinois 18
Miss Indiana Betty Anna Lackyear Evansville, Indiana 20
Miss Iowa Jeanne Gordon Des Moines, Iowa 19
Miss Maine Virginia Trask Portland, Maine 18
Miss Maryland Virginia Lee Van Sant Cumberland, Maryland 20 Top 13
Miss Massachusetts Ruth Claire Thomas Belmont, Massachusetts 18
Miss Miami Beach Rae Evelyn Crist Miami Beach, Florida 19
Miss Michigan Theresa Mary Sullivan Detroit, Michigan 19
Miss Minnesota Arlene Anderson Minneapolis, Minnesota 19 4th runner-up
Miss Mississippi Harriet Jane Carr Marks, Mississippi 21
Miss Missouri Betty Ruth Ream Hughesville, Missouri 19
Miss New Hampshire Margorie Lundfelt Lake Spafford, New Hampshire 19
Miss New Jersey Matilda Agin New Brunswick, New Jersey 20
Miss New Orleans Helen Shively New Orleans, Louisiana 21
Miss New York City Bess Myerson New York City, New York 21 Miss America 1945 Talent (tie) [11]
Swim Suit[12]
Miss New York State[13] June Jenkins Elmont, New York 18
Miss North Carolina Dorothy Louise Johnson Winston-Salem, North Carolina 21 Top 13
Miss Northern British Columbia Georgina E. Patterson British Columbia, Canada 19 Miss Congeniality
Miss Ohio Julia Ann Donahue Oxford, Ohio 19
Miss Pennsylvania Timmy Weston McKeesport, Pennsylvania 18
Miss Philadelphia Gloria Bair Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19 Top 13
Miss Rhode Island Mary Stevens Cranston, Rhode Island 24
Miss San Diego Phyllis Mathis San Diego, California 19 1st runner-up
Miss South Carolina Margaret Neeley Columbia, South Carolina 19
Miss Tennessee Lee Harriet Henson Chattanooga, Tennessee 18 Top 13
Miss Texas Polly Below Galveston, Texas 18 Top 13
Miss Utah Dorothy F. Holohan Salt Lake City, Utah 21
Miss Vermont Mary Staikos Burlington, Vermont 21
Miss Washington, D.C. Dorothy Louise Powell Washington, D.C. 21 Top 13
Miss Wisconsin Eileen Christy Menomanie, Wisconsin 20


  1. ^ "Will Use Prize To Study Music". Ogden Standard-Examiner. 1945-09-10. p. 1. 
  2. ^ Associated Press Wire Photo (1944-09-06). "Beauty Queen of AAF Veterans". Lowell Sun. p. 1. 
  3. ^ "Bess Myerson Biography (Miss America 1945)". Miss America Organization. 
  4. ^ a b c d Woo, Elaine (January 5, 2015). "Bess Myerson, Miss America who rose in politics and fell in scandal, dies at 90". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "PBS American Experience: Miss America Transcript". PBS American Experience. 2002. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Morrisroe, Patricia (March 30, 1987). "Bess and the Mess: Myerson's Slide Into Scandal (pp. 34-35)". New York (magazine). 
  7. ^ a b c Nemy, Enid (January 5, 2015). "Bess Myerson, New Yorker of Beauty, Wit, Service and Scandal, Dies at 90". New York Times. 
  8. ^ a b c Hollander, Sophia (January 5, 2015). "Bess Myerson, Miss America who rose in politics and fell in scandal, dies at 90". Wall Street Journal. 
  9. ^ Official Yearbook of the Miss America Pageant, 1945. Miss America Organization. 1945. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  10. ^ International News Service (1944-09-06). "Takent Awards". Lowell Sun. p. 1. 
  11. ^ International News Service (1944-09-06). "Takent Awards". Lowell Sun. p. 1. 
  12. ^ Associated Press (1944-09-10). "New York City Girl Is Beauty Queen". Salamanca Republican-Press. p. 5. 
  13. ^ Miss New York History

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