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Lesser awards to finalists include swimwear and trophies by designer Annette Kellerman, a woman widely known for her scandalous 1907 arrest for indecent exposure.
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.
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.
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.