By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (September 7, 2021) – In Issue 2021-172 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we celebrate the beauty and talent of American women.

The biggest controversies from the Miss America Pageant

A history of Miss America (Photo Credit NY Post) 


Designed as an event to draw the tourists to Atlantic City over Labor Day weekend, the Miss America pageant began 100 years ago today.

Young ladies from 8 locations vied for the “Golden Mermaid” title.  The 16-year-old Margaret Gorman, from Washington DC, was the winner of $100 and the title of “Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America.”  She was dubbed Miss America by the press when she returned to the pageant the next year.

The pageant has changed with the times, and the grand prize of money and movie contracts switched to college scholarships in the 1940s.  The emphasis now is less on beauty and physical appearance and instead looks to focus on a candidate’s “talent, passion and ambition.”

Ohio has been represented well in the contest, tying for the most wins – 6 times – with California, New York, and Oklahoma (although only two things come out of Oklahoma, per a famous movie line).

Here is Ruth Taylor White’s humorous take on New Jersey in this 1938 pictorial map of the Garden State.

New Jersey – The Garden State Circa 1938 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.