Barbara Peterson

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Not to be confused with Barbara A. Petersen, Administrator for Saint Thomas and Water Island, United States Virgin Islands.
Barbara Peterson
Beauty pageant titleholder
Born Barbara Elaine Peterson[1]
(1953-11-25) November 25, 1953 (age 62)[1]
Edina, Minnesota
Other names Barbara Burwell
Barbara Peterson-Burwell
Residence Minneapolis metropolitan area[2]
Occupation Philanthropist[3]
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)[4]
Weight 54.3 kg (120 lb)[4]
Measurements 89-61-89 (35-24-35)[4]
Hair color Brown[4]
Eye color Brown[4]
Title(s) Miss Minnesota USA 1976
Miss USA 1976
Miss USA 1976
Miss Universe 1976
Spouse Rodney P. Burwell[5]
Children 3[3]

Barbara Elaine Peterson Burwell (née Peterson; born November 25, 1953) is a beauty pageant titleholder from the United States who was crowned Miss USA in 1976.

Early life[edit]

Born in Edina, Minnesota, to former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Carl Donald Peterson[6] and mother Gretchen Elaine Palen Peterson,[7] Burwell grew up in Edina, Minnesota with four brothers: Todd Douglas, Scott Jeffrey, Craig Donald, Mark Bradley; and one sister, Polly Suzanne.[1]

She graduated from Edina High School and was a junior at St. Olaf College in Northfield when she decided to participate in Miss USA.[4]

Miss USA[edit]

Burwell won the title of Miss Minnesota USA and represented her state in the 1976 Miss USA pageant broadcast live from Niagara Falls in May that year, winning the title and becoming the first Miss USA from Minnesota in the history of the pageant.[8]

As the official representative of her country to the 1976 Miss Universe pageant in Hong Kong,[9] Burwell would become the first Miss USA titleholder not to advance to the semifinal round of the Miss Universe pageant,[10] which did not happen again until 1999.[11]

Life after Miss USA[edit]

In 1987, Burwell and sister Polly Peterson Bowles authored Becoming a Beauty Queen: the Complete Guide, based on their experience with pageants.[12] Burwell was also a judge at the 1990 Miss USA pageant[13] and resides in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.[2]

Burwell's married to businessman Rodney P. Burwell,[5] with whom she has three sons: Rodney Peter, Blake Palmer, and Michael Craig,[1] and makes donations to educational and charitable institutions along with her husband through the Rodney and Barbara Burwell Family Foundation.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d "Minnesota Birth Index, 1935–2002". Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Barbara Burwell Campaign Contributions and Donations". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "A fashionable frolic". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. June 15, 2006. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Miss USA eyes following in judge-father's footsteps". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. May 17, 1976. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Rod Burwell honored with Entrepreneurial Award" (PDF). Retrieved November 29, 2010.  "Rodney P. Burwell". Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ "C. Donald Peterson dies at 69; served on state Supreme Court" (PDF). Minneapolis Star-Tribune. December 20, 1987. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Gretchen Peterson, dancer and pioneer descendant in a family of well-known names, dies at 79". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. February 6, 2003. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ Goudas, John (May 12, 1977). "1976 Miss U.S.A steps down Saturday after year of travel". Toledo Blade. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  9. ^ Butterfield, Fox (July 10, 1976). "Hong Kong is agog over beauty pageant". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Las doce finalistas". La Nación. Associated Press. July 11, 1976. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  11. ^ "10 finalists are named in Miss Universe competition". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. May 27, 1999. Retrieved November 29, 2010. The finalists were from Botswana, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain and Venezuela. 
  12. ^ Sragow, Michael (July 22, 1999). "Here he is: Michael Patrick Jann's beauty-pageant sendup Drop Dead Gorgeous lands the crown". Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Equal opportunity padding to debut at beauty pageant". St. Petersburg Times. Feb 23, 1990. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  14. ^ "UND receives donation of $10 million". Grand Forks Herald. October 3, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]