Established in 1921 by local Atlantic City businessmen as a way to extend the summer season, The Miss America Organization has since grown to become one of the most recognizable household names in America.
Miss America remains a role model to young and old alike. Over the years, Miss America has continually made a difference in people’s lives through her charitable and community service endeavors, using her national platform to educate millions of Americans on important issues facing society.
Miss America is more than a title, it’s a movement of empowering young women everywhere to achieve their dreams by giving them a voice to inspire change and by honoring their commitment to helping others.
In September 1920, Atlantic City Businessmen staged a “Fall Frolic” to secure summer tourism past Labor Day. This city-wide festival was highlighted by a spectacular rolling chair parade down the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk.
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. 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.