Miss America 1945
DateSeptember 8, 1945
PresentersBob Russell
VenueBoardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey
WinnerBess Myerson
New York City New York City
← 1944
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Miss America 1945, the 19th Miss America pageant, was held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 8, 1945.[1] Two days prior to the actual selection and coronation, the night of the talent competition, the Army Air Force Veterans voted the eventual winner, Miss New York City (Bess Myerson) as their favorite beauty queen.[2]


Miss New York City, Bess Myerson: Miss America 1945 (Image taken in 1957)
Miss New York City, Bess Myerson: Miss America 1945 (Image taken in 1957)

Bess Myerson was the first Jewish-American and the first Miss New York[3] (competing as Miss New York City, a competition organized by a local radio station[4]) to win the Miss America Pageant as Miss America 1945.[5][6][7][4][8] As the only Jewish contestant, Myerson was encouraged by the pageant directors to change her name to "Bess Meredith"[6] or "Beth Merrick"[5] but she refused.[6][5] After winning the title (and as a Jewish Miss America), Myerson received few endorsements[6][5][7][8][4] and later recalled that "I couldn't even stay in certain hotels [...] there would be signs that read no coloreds, no Jews, no dogs. I felt so rejected. Here I was chosen to represent American womanhood and then America treated me like this."[6] She thus cut short her Miss America tour and instead traveled with the Anti-Defamation League. In this capacity, she spoke against discrimination in a talk entitled, "You Can't Be Beautiful and Hate."[6][5][7][8][4]



Final results Contestant
Miss America 1945
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up
3rd runner-up
4th runner-up
Top 13


Preliminary awards

Awards Contestant
Lifestyle and Fitness

Other awards

Awards Contestant
Miss Congeniality


The Miss America 1945 delegates were:[9]

City or State Name Hometown Age Talent Placement Awards Notes
Arkansas Leslie Hampton Lake Village 18
Atlanta Pauline Walker Atlanta 18
Birmingham Frances Lanell Dorn Birmingham 18 2nd runner-up Preliminary Talent Award (tie)[10]
Boston Claire Thibadeau Cambridge 19
California Polly Ellis Tarzana 19 Top 13 Preliminary Talent Award
Chicago Louise Wieland Chicago 19 Top 13 Preliminary Swimsuit Award
Cincinnati Virginia Lee Pleasant Portsmouth 20
Connecticut Sylvia K. Shaw Hartford 20
Detroit Barbara Lee Smith Detroit 20
District of Columbia Dorothy Louise Powell District of Columbia 21 Top 13
Florida Virginia Freeland Miami 19 3rd runner-up
Georgia Doris Joyce Coker Columbus 18
Illinois Beverly Ann Long Joliet 18
Indiana Betty Anna Lackyear Evansville 20
Iowa Jeanne Gordon Des Moines 19
Maine Virginia Trask Portland 18
Maryland Virginia Lee Van Sant Cumberland 20 Top 13
Massachusetts Ruth Claire Thomas Belmont 18
Miami Beach Rae Evelyn Crist Miami Beach 19
Michigan Theresa Mary Sullivan Detroit 19
Minnesota Arlene Anderson Minneapolis 19 4th runner-up Preliminary Talent Award
Mississippi Harriet Jane Carr Marks 21
Missouri Betty Ruth Ream Hughesville 19
New Hampshire Margorie Lundfelt Spofford Lake 19
New Jersey Matilda Agin New Brunswick 20
New Orleans Helen Shively New Orleans 21
New York City Bess Myerson New York City 21 Piano & Flute, "Grieg's Piano Concerto In A Minor" & "Summertime" Winner Preliminary Talent Award (tie)[10]

Preliminary Swimsuit Award[11]
New York[12] June Jenkins Elmont 18
North Carolina Dorothy Louise Johnson Winston-Salem 21 Top 13
Northern British Columbia Georgina E. Patterson British Columbia, Canada 19 Miss Congeniality
Ohio Julia Ann Donahue Oxford 19
Pennsylvania Timmy Weston McKeesport 18
Philadelphia Gloria Bair Philadelphia 19 Top 13
Rhode Island Mary Stevens Cranston 24
San Diego Phyllis Mathis San Diego 19 1st runner-up
South Carolina Margaret Neeley Columbia 19
Tennessee Lee Harriet Henson Chattanooga 18 Top 13 Preliminary Swimsuit Award
Texas Polly Below Galveston 18 Top 13
Utah Dorothy F. Holohan Salt Lake City 21
Vermont Mary Staikos Burlington 21
Wisconsin Eileen Christy Menomonie 20


  1. ^ "Will Use Prize To Study Music". Ogden Standard-Examiner. 1945-09-10. p. 1.
  2. ^ "Beauty Queen of AAF Veterans". Lowell Sun. Associated Press Wire Photo. 1944-09-06. p. 1.
  3. ^ "Bess Myerson Biography (Miss America 1945)". Miss America Organization. Archived from the original on 2015-02-13.
  4. ^ a b c d Woo, Elaine (January 5, 2015). "Bess Myerson, Miss America who rose in politics and fell in scandal, dies at 90". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ a b c d e "PBS American Experience: Miss America Transcript". PBS American Experience. 2002.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Morrisroe, Patricia (March 30, 1987). "Bess and the Mess: Myerson's Slide Into Scandal (pp. 34-35)". New York.
  7. ^ a b c Nemy, Enid (January 5, 2015). "Bess Myerson, New Yorker of Beauty, Wit, Service and Scandal, Dies at 90". New York Times.
  8. ^ a b c Hollander, Sophia (January 5, 2015). "Bess Myerson, Miss America who rose in politics and fell in scandal, dies at 90". Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ Official Yearbook of the Miss America Pageant, 1945. Miss America Organization. 1945. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  10. ^ a b International News Service (1944-09-06). "Takent Awards". Lowell Sun. p. 1.
  11. ^ "New York City Girl Is Beauty Queen". Salamanca Republican-Press. Associated Press. 1944-09-10. p. 5.
  12. ^ Miss New York History Archived 2016-01-30 at the Wayback Machine