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The years from 1900 to 1920 were rich with expanding social, political and cultural activity for women.
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.
It is in her type that the hope of the country resides.” Despite the best efforts of the pageant officials, the pageant gained a reputation for being a little risqué.
Annual protests from women’s and religious groups questioned the morality of a beauty contest that featured bobbed hair and bare limbs.
She would also win a trophy for her appeance in the Boardwalk Parade noting her popularity with the crowds of parade-goers.
( In September 1920, Atlantic City Businessmen staged a “Fall Frolic” to secure summer tourism past Labor Day.
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.The event had become so big, results of the prize-winners were later aired nationwide via radio.Although never before seen as a problem, concern arose over the fact that a leading contender for the “Miss” America title was a married woman.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.