Margaret Gorman

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Margaret Gorman
Margaret Gorman 4.jpg
Born (1905-08-18)August 18, 1905
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Died October 1, 1995(1995-10-01) (aged 90)
Bowie, Maryland, U.S.
Title Miss Washington, D.C.
Golden Mermaid Award
Miss America 1921
Successor Mary Campbell
Spouse(s) Victor Cahill

Margaret Gorman (August 18, 1905 – October 1, 1995) is best known for being the first Miss America, from the year 1921.

Miss America[edit]

Margaret Gorman wins first prize, Atlantic City.

Gorman was a junior at Western High School in Washington, D.C., when her photo was entered into a popularity contest at the Washington Herald.[1] In 1921, at age 16, Gorman was chosen as "Miss District of Columbia" due to her athletic ability, past accomplishments, and outgoing personality. She was invited on that count to join the Second Annual Atlantic City Pageant as an honored guest held on September 8, 1921. There Gorman was invited to join a new event: the "Inter-City Beauty" Contest. She won two titles, "Inter-City Beauty, Amateur," and "The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America" after competing in the Bather's Revue. She won the grand prize, the Golden Mermaid trophy.[2]

Gorman was expected to defend her positions the next year, but since someone else had reached the title of "Miss Washington, D.C.," she was instead crowned as "Miss America." She is the only Miss America to receive her crown at the end of the year. Gorman was the lightest Miss America, at 108 pounds, until 1949, when five-foot three-and-one-half inch Jacque Mercer of Phoenix, Arizona, weighing in at 106, won the now-coveted title.[3]

Gorman was later quoted as saying: "I never cared to be Miss America. It wasn't my idea. I am so bored by it all. I really want to forget the whole thing."[4] She still owned the sea green chiffon and sequined dress she wore in the 1922 competition.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Gorman continued to compete in 1922 and won Gorman was a favorite of the crowds. A few years later, she married Victor Cahill,[6] and was happily married until he died in 1957. She lived all her life in D.C., became somewhat a socialite and enjoyed traveling. She died on October 1, 1995, age 90.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Margaret Gorman: First Miss America and Washingtonian". Ghosts of DC. February 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Fairest in a Thousand". Spartanburg Herald. September 15, 1921. p. 2. 
  3. ^ "Miss America is short and is proud of height". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 13, 1949. p. 20. 
  4. ^ Mattiace, Peter (September 2, 1980). "First Miss America Says Pageant was "Boring"". Kentucky New Era. p. 6. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (October 3, 1995). "1st Miss America Margaret Gorman Cahill Dies". Deseret News. p. 2. 
  6. ^ "Miss America of 1921 Wed". New York Times. November 16, 1925. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (October 3, 1995). "1st Miss America Margaret Gorman Cahill Dies". Deseret News. p. 2. 
  8. ^ "Year 1921: Margaret Gorman: District of Columbia". Archived from the original on May 26, 2006. Retrieved June 18, 2006. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Miss Washington, D.C.
Succeeded by
Mary Campbell