Miss USA 1954
Miriam Stevenson, Miss USA 1954\
DateJuly 24, 1954
PresentersBob Russell
VenueLong Beach Municipal Auditorium, Long Beach, California
WinnerMiriam Stevenson
 South Carolina
← 1953
1955 →

Miss USA 1954 was the 3rd Miss USA pageant, held at Long Beach Municipal Auditorium, Long Beach, California on July 24, 1954.

At the end of the event, Myrna Hansen of Illinois crowned Miriam Stevenson of South Carolina as Miss USA 1954. It is the first victory of South Carolina in the pageant's history. Stevenson later competed at Miss Universe and won.

Contestants from 45 states and cities competed in this year's pageant. The competition was hosted by Bob Russel.


Selection of participants

Contestants from 45 states/cities were selected to compete in the pageant. One contestant was selected to replace the original dethroned winner.

Waydine Nesbitt, runner-up to the Arkansas Maid 1954 pageant, was appointed to replace Arkansas Maid 1954 Sonya Ann McClure after giving up her crown in order to compete for the Miss Arkansas crown for Miss America.[1]

Several contestants were disqualified due to being underaged. Barbara Ann Eschenburg of Maryland was discovered to be only 16 during the time of the contest, forcing her to withdraw as the minimum age limit of that time was 18.[2] Ellen Whitehead of Virginia was also underage, but was discovered only after the contest. Initially, Ellen Whitehead of Virginia stayed as the first runner-up despite being underage since the placement was only considered as "honorary" according to the pageant officials. However, Dr. Richard Eschenburg, the father of Miss Maryland USA, complained to the officials as to why his daughter was disqualified for being underage while Whitehead was not; despite being underage.[3] Whitehead was later disqualified by the pageant officials and was replaced by Karin Hultman of New York.

Elaine DuFeen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was expected to compete in this edition. However, DuFeen dropped out of the pageant because another girl was chosen to represent her state and thought she wouldn't get an equal chance at the competition.[4]



Placement Contestant
Miss USA 1954
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up
3rd runner-up
  • Texas Texas – Betty Lee (formerly fourth runner-up)[5]
4th runner-up
Top 21


45 contestants competed for the title.[8]

State/City Contestant Age[a] Hometown Notes
Arizona Arizona Bonnie Johnson 18 Phoenix[8]
Arkansas Arkansas Waydine Nesbitt[1] 21 Magnolia
California California Sandra Constance[9] 18 Los Angeles
Colorado Colorado Lorna Batterson[8] 19 Denver
Connecticut Connecticut Andrea Todd[10] 22 Milford
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia Laura Farley 21 Washington, D.C.
Florida Florida Rosemary Talucci 22 Miami Beach
 Front Royal, Virginia Carol Hammack Front Royal
Illinois Illinois Celeste Ravel[11] 23 Chicago
Indiana Indiana Cecilia Dennis 20 Milan
Iowa Iowa Ione Lucken Le Mars
Kansas Kansas Sue Ravenscroft[8] 18 Liberal
Kentucky Kentucky Nikki Horner[12] 28 Prospect
Louisiana Louisiana Sadie Vinson 18 New Orleans Finalist in the 1955 Miss Dixie Pageant
Maryland Maryland Barbara Ann Eschenburg[2] 16 Berlin Later disqualified for being underage[2]
Massachusetts Massachusetts Nan Cowan Sterling
Memphis, Tennessee Janice Beverly Bowles 18 Memphis
Michigan Michigan Gerri Hoffman 22 Detroit
Minnesota Minnesota Dawn Joyce[13] 20 Minneapolis
Missouri Missouri Alice Jean Porritt[14] 19 Cape Girardeau
Montana Montana Dawn Oney[15] 22 Billings
Nebraska Nebraska Margie Winkhoff Grand Island
Nevada Nevada Mary Jane Arnold 18 Las Vegas
New Hampshire New Hampshire Myrna Louise Smith 18
New Jersey Evelyn Orowitz[16] 20 Collingswood
New York (state) New York Karin Hultman[17] 22 New York City Became 1st runner-up after Miss Virginia USA was disqualified.
Later became Miss World United States 1954
1st runner-up at Miss World 1954
New York City New York City, New York Renee Roy 23 New York City
North Carolina North Carolina Ann Pickett 22 Charlotte
North Dakota North Dakota Jane Hewitt 19 Fargo
Ohio Ohio Barbara Randa[18] 19 Painesville
Oregon Oregon Charlotte Miller 18 Toledo
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Helen Vidovich[19] 18 Beaver Valley
 Pleasure Beach, Connecticut Violet Fuchs
Rhode Island Rhode Island Joyce Anne Sandberg 21 Warwick Previously Miss Rhode Island 1953; as wife of Philip Noel served as the First Lady of Rhode Island from 1973 to 1977.
South Carolina South Carolina Miriam Jacqueline Stevenson[20] 20 Winnsboro Miss Universe 1954
Previously Miss South Carolina 1953
Top 10 at Miss America 1954
South Dakota South Dakota Barbara Ann Brown
St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri Jo Ann Lynde
Tennessee Tennessee Barbara Holly 21 Nashville
Texas Texas Betty Lee[21] 20 Houston
Utah Utah Laverna Laub 22 Salt Lake City
Vermont Vermont Georgia Laurise 24 New Haven
Virginia Virginia Ellen Whitehead[22] 17 Chatham Later disqualified due to being underage[3]
Washington (state) Washington Darlene Shride
West Virginia West Virginia Sandra Waggy
Wisconsin Wisconsin Rita Delores Younger[23] 21 Baraboo
Wyoming Wyoming Faith Radenbaugh Heart Mountain


  1. ^ Ages at the time of the pageant


  1. ^ a b "'Arksansas Maid' gives up title, seeks new crown". Tulsa Daily World. Tulsa, Oklahoma. 24 June 1954. p. 11. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c "Maryland and Virginia raging over beauty contest mix-up". Buffalo Evening News. Buffalo, New York. 23 July 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b c "Miss Virginia is disqualified; she's nearly 17, should be 18". The Roanoke World-News. Roanoke, Virginia. 23 July 1954. p. 14. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Miss Philadelphia's papa takes over". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 13 August 1954. p. 37. Retrieved 20 July 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Coed named Miss U.S.A." Reading Eagle. 22 July 1954. p. 21. Retrieved 16 July 2023 – via Google News Archive.
  6. ^ "16 semifinalistas para el titulo de Miss Universo" [16 semifinalists for the title of Miss Universe]. La Nacion (in Spanish). 24 July 1954. p. 24. Retrieved 16 July 2023 – via Google News Archive.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Pick finalists for Miss USA". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 22 July 1954. p. 16. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b c d "Official Entry List Shows How Beauties Measure Up". Long Beach Press-Telegram. 18 July 1954. p. 22. Retrieved 26 July 2023.
  9. ^ "Model picked as 'Miss U.S.' contestant". Citizen-News. Hollywood, California. 30 June 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Candidate". The Evening Sun. Hanover, Pennsylvania. 7 July 1954. p. 9. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Miss Illinois tops as spectacle model". The Times-News. 20 May 1955. p. 3. Retrieved 16 July 2023 – via Google News Archive.
  12. ^ "'Spur-of-moment' entry named Miss Kentucky". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. 9 July 1954. p. 23. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "City girl named state's Miss Universe". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 2 July 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "First legs". The Ferdinand News. Ferdinand, Indiana. 2 April 1954. p. 7. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "Montana's Marilyn Monroe?". Great Falls Tribune. Great Falls, Montana. 20 July 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "No title". The Daily Reporter. Greenfield, Indiana. 10 July 1954. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Rochester blonde wins beauty test". Press and Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. 8 July 1954. p. 16. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "She's "Miss Ohio"". News-Journal. Mansfield, Ohio. 8 July 1954. p. 11. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "Miss Pennsylvania, Beaver Valley Girl, leaves for contest". Ellwood City Ledger. Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. 14 July 1954. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "Miss Universe crowned". The State. Columbia, South Carolina. 3 July 1954. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "U. of T. sophomore to be Miss Universe candidate". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas. 9 July 1954. p. 4. Retrieved 11 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ Wagner, Al (14 June 1954). "Chatham beauty, 17, wins Legion Contest at Mosque". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond, Virginia. p. 1. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "Miss Wisconsin in Hollywood". Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. 10 August 1954. p. 8. Retrieved 10 May 2023 – via Newspapers.com.