2nd Scripps National Spelling Bee

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2nd National Spelling Bee
Date Thursday, June 17, 1926
Location National Museum, Washington, D.C.
Winner Pauline Bell
Age 13
Residence Clarkson, Kentucky
Sponsor The Courier-Journal
Sponsor location Louisville, Kentucky
No. of contestants 25[1]
Pronouncer George S. Wills[2] and Samuel M. North[3]
Preceded by 1st Scripps National Spelling Bee
Followed by 3rd Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 2nd National Spelling Bee was held at the National Museum in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 17, 1926, sponsored by the Louisville Courier-Journal. Scripps-Howard would not sponsor the Bee until 1941.

The winner was Pauline Bell, age 13, who attended a one-room schoolhouse in Clarkson, Kentucky. She correctly spelled the word cerise.[4][5][6] Second place was taken by Betty Robinson of South Bend, Indiana, who would win the 4th bee in 1928, but spelled "cerise" as "cereaso" this time, and third went to Dorothy Casey of St. Louis.[7][8]

There were 25 spellers this year - 17 girls and 8 boys, a big jump from the nine spellers in the first Bee.[1] The first prize was $1000, followed by $500 for second and $200 for third.[7]


  1. ^ a b (17 June 1926). 17 Girls and 8 Boys, All On Edge, Await Spelling Bee Test Tonight, Louisville Courier-Journal (paywall)
  2. ^ (17 May 1953). Spelling Bee Still Growing - Professor Recalls Opening Contest, Eugene Register-Guard (Associated Press)
  3. ^ (18 June 1926). Article (paywall), Courier-Journal ("Pronouncers were Dr. George S. Wills, department of English. Western Maryland College Westminster, Md.. and Dr. Samuel M. North, of Baltimore, supervisor of high schools for the Maryland State Department of Education.")
  4. ^ (19 December 2010). Obituary: Pauline Bell Dunn, 98, Campbellsville alum, Columbia Magazine
  5. ^ (24 June 1926). This Girl Kept Spelling Title For Ol' Kaintuck, Reading Eagle
  6. ^ (23 July 2002). Pen Pals: Women have written to each other since the Coolidge administration, The Daily News (Kentucky)
  7. ^ a b (18 June 1926). Louisville Girl Awarded Prize in Spelling Contest, St. Petersburg Times
  8. ^ (18 June 1926). "Cerise" Wins $1,000 and a Spelling Bee for Kentucky Miss, Lewiston Daily Sun