Venus Ramey

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Venus Ramey
Venus Ramey in 2007
Born (1924-09-26) 26 September 1924 (age 92)
Ashland, Kentucky
Occupation Tobacco farmer, activist
Title Miss America in 1944
Predecessor Jean Bartel
Successor Bess Myerson
Children 2 sons

Venus Ramey (born September 26, 1924 in Ashland, Kentucky[1]) left Kentucky to work for the war effort in Washington, DC, and won the Miss District of Columbia pageant and then became Miss America in 1944. She was the first red-haired contestant to win the title.[2]


She became the first Miss America to run for public office, seeking a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives.[2]

She was wooed by Hollywood in 1947, but dissatisfied with show business, she returned home to her Eubank, Kentucky, tobacco farm (which she has maintained for over 50 years) in Lincoln County, Kentucky. She married and raised two sons.[2]

In the 1970s, Ramey successfully campaigned to save Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. The neighborhood was eventually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and her work led her to make an unsuccessful bid for a spot on the Cincinnati City Council.[2]

In April 2007, when she was 82, Ramey confronted intruders who had entered a storage building on her farm where thieves had previously stolen equipment. She used a snub-nose .38 revolver to shoot out the tires on their pickup truck, then flagged down a car and had the driver call 911, holding the would-be thieves until the sheriff arrived. "I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it", she said. "If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be six feet under by now."[3]


In 1944, a B-17 of the 15th Air Force, 301st bomb group was named the Venus Ramey. This plane is reputed to be one of the longest-lived B-17s of the war, having flown over 150 missions and survived the war. It was later scrapped.[4]

There was also a B-24 Liberator bomber (42-52312) in the 454th bomb group named MISS AMERICA '44 which flew 133 missions. [5]


  1. ^ "Johnson County History... and That's a Fact". Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Miss America History 1944". Archived from the original on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  3. ^ "Armed Miss America 1944 stops intruder". April 20, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  4. ^ Excerpt from National Review,, May 14, 2007.
  5. ^ B-24 Best Web
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jean Bartel
Miss America
Succeeded by
Bess Myerson
Preceded by
Dixie Lou Rafter
Miss Washington, D.C.
Succeeded by
Dorothy Powell