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They would become known as the Inter-City Beauties.Each individual winner’s prize would be an all expense paid trip to Atlantic City’s Second Annual Fall Frolic as an honored guest.By 1921, East Coast newspapers were looking for ways to increase their circulation.Newspaper organizations decided to sponsor photographic popularity contests from among their readership and awarded their respective winners with an all expense paid trip to the Second Annual Fall Frolic.With no rule barring her participation, she finished as a runner up.But her inclusion fueled the fire started by women’s and religious groups against the competition as lacking in decorum.Jumping on the extra media attention the newspaper contests elicited, frolic organizers decided to include yet another event just for them: the “Inter-City Beauty” contest to be held September 7th.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.
Subsequent city finalists would be judged on personality and social graces during citywide summer events.They competed against the winners of “professional” and “amateur” ranks, representing over two hundred women, for the elusive Golden Mermaid.Riding on a wave of popularity from the previous day, Margaret Gorman won this event, too.She would also win a trophy for her appeance in the Boardwalk Parade noting her popularity with the crowds of parade-goers.The next day, based on the popularity of the visiting Inter-City Beauties, they were also entered into the Bather’s Revue.By September 1922 she became known as “Miss America.” In the ensuing years it would grow and reflect some of the most powerfully held attitudes towards what it meant to be an ideal American woman. In the decades just prior to its creation, there was a marked transformation around women’s roles in society.The years from 1900 to 1920 were rich with expanding social, political and cultural activity for women.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.Lesser awards to finalists include swimwear and trophies by designer Annette Kellerman, a woman widely known for her scandalous 1907 arrest for indecent exposure.While trying to popularize wearing a one-piece swimsuit with tights instead of the standard bloomers, Annette’s involvement raised many eyebrows. C.” for 1922 already selected, Margaret Gorman received a new title, “Miss America”.