Mary Katherine Campbell

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Mary Katherine Campbell
Mary Katherine Campbell.jpg
Born (1905-12-18)December 18, 1905
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Died June 7, 1990(1990-06-07) (aged 84)
Alma mater Ohio State University
Ohio Wesleyan
Title Miss Columbus
Miss America 1922
Miss America 1923
Spouse(s) Frederick Stanley Townley
Beauty pageant titleholder
Miss Columbus
Miss America 1922
Miss America 1923
Miss America 1924
(1st Runner-Up)

Mary Katherine Campbell (December 18, 1905 – June 7, 1990) was the only person to win the Miss America pageant twice, and the second woman in history to win the title. Campbell was Miss America 1922 and Miss America 1923, and she was also 1st Runner Up at the 1924 Miss America Pageant. Competing as "Miss Columbus," Campbell was only sixteen years old at the time of her first crowning in 1922. She lied about her age by nearly one year to enter the pageant held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She told everyone that she was born in May 1905 but later admitted that she had lied about her age. After the 1924 pageant, in which the judge's scores revealed that Campbell had almost won the title a third time, the Miss America Organization changed the rules so that "a contestant may only win the Miss America title once."

Miss America Selection[edit]

She became "Miss Columbus" over a field of 170 other women, and proceeded to Atlantic City, where the Inter-City competition had grown to include 57 women from around the country.[1] It would be the last time in Miss America history where "professional" (model, Dorothy Knapp (1907-1986)) and "amateur" (West Philadelphia's Gladys Grenemeyer) winners would be judged as finalists against the "Inter-City" champion (Mary Katherine Campbell) and place as runners-up to the Miss America title.

Campbell entered her second successful attempt in the beauty pageant as Miss America competing in Atlantic City against a field of 74 other women from 36 states.[2]

Career Offers[edit]

Mary Katherine received offers from three movies, two Broadway musical comedies, a circus, and Vaudeville. She was even approached by impresario Flo Ziegfeld to become a Ziegfeld Girl, and perform with the famous Ziegfeld Follies, chorus girls, but her mother wouldn't permit it. Mary Katherine was allowed to sing "My Buddy" on the B. F. Keith Circuit for several weeks, but, "You couldn't hear me past the third row", she explained. [3]


Campbell had graduated with a diploma from East High School in February 1922, and entered Ohio State University as an art major immediately after her selection as Miss America. This made her the first pageant winner to attend college.[4] She also attended Ohio Wesleyan.[5] She was also a member of Pi Beta Phi's Ohio Beta chapter at Ohio State University. [6]

Campbell was of French, Swedish, Swiss, English, Scottish, Cree and Welsh ancestry. [7]

Personal life and death[edit]

Campbell married Frederick Stanton Townley, (1903-1987), an executive at DuPont, and died in San Francisco county in 1990, aged 84, and was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Delaware, next to her late husband[8]


  1. ^ "Beauty Crown Won by Miss Columbus". New York Times. 1922-09-08. 
  2. ^ "Miss America History 1923". Retrieved 2012-04-13. 
  3. ^ Miss America 1923, 2008-08-11 
  4. ^ "New Beauty Queen Ideal". New York Times. 1922-09-10. 
  5. ^ "Miss America 1921-1927". Archived from the original on February 5, 2004. Retrieved 2006-06-18. 
  6. ^ Pi Beta Phi 1936 Directory 
  7. ^ "Miss America History 1923". Retrieved 2012-04-13. 
  8. ^ "Miss America History 1923". Retrieved 2012-04-13. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Margaret Gorman
Miss America
1922 & 1923
Succeeded by
Ruth Malcomson
Preceded by
Miss Columbus
Succeeded by
Elizabeth Mambourg