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Once there, frolic organizers placed the young women in an “Inter-City Beauty” contest in which the judging was largely based on their general appeal in appearance, personality, conversations with the judges, and interactions with the crowds.
In order to build hype, the women were later put in the running for the Golden Mermaid trophy given to “The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America.” Margaret Gorman swept both events.
The first pageant winner reflected these changes in attitude towards beauty. She also bore a striking resemblance to silent screen star Mary Pickford, who was just achieving fame as ‘America’s Sweetheart’.
Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, noted in the New York Times, “She (Margaret Gorman) represents the type of womanhood America needs; strong, red-blooded, able to shoulder the responsibilities of home-making and motherhood.
In 1928, the protestors won, and the pageant was discontinued as commercial supporters withdrew in response to accusations that the pageant lacked decorum.
1920s Timeline September 25th: Atlantic City businessmen stage a “Fall Frolic” in order to attract tourists to the seasonal resort beyond the traditional end of summer, Labor Day. Decisions were made to increase the number of scheduled public attractions and make it a two-day event the following year.
It was judged on 50 percent audience applause and 50 percent judges’ decision after a day of mingling with the contestants, and a final appearance on stage.As America moved headlong from the Victorian to the modern age, a new image for women developed, symbolizing the changing times.According to leading magazines and periodicals of the time, the modern woman was vigorous. This was an unprecedented break from the rigorously controlled physicality prescribed for the ideal 19th century woman, with its emphasis on delicacy and fragility.Over fifty newspapers from across the country sent representatives to compete in the “Inter-City Beauty” contest. She was expected to defend her numerous 1921 laurels as the returning champ.In the end, it was Mary Katherine Campbell, “Miss Columbus” (OH) who was selected to succeed Margaret. It was estimated that three hundred thousand people attended.
( In September 1920, Atlantic City Businessmen staged a “Fall Frolic” to secure summer tourism past Labor Day.