Margaret Gorman, the first Miss AmericaBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/margaret-gorman-the-first-miss-america1.html
The Miss America beauty pageant may seem like an absolute anachronism, but once it really mattered a lot. In 1921, Margaret Gorman was a budding junior student at Western High School (now the Duke Ellington School of Arts) when her photo was sent to the Washington Herald city popularity contest. She was chosen as one of the six finalists, and then Margaret won, receiving the title of the first "Miss Washington". The prize for the victory was a trip to Atlantic City and participation in the second annual city beauty contest as a guest of honor.
From there, Margaret returned as a popular favorite, receiving the title of "Intercity beauty" and "The most beautiful bathing girl in America." Agree, both titles sound so-so.
Her success caused a furor in Washington, and all the newspapers wrote about it. One of the notes tells how Margaret received a telegram from one of her friends from high school. It read: "Congratulations. Don't turn up your nose." To top it all off, it turned out that he had sent a telegram at the recipient's expense, and the girl also had to pay 35 cents.
In the fall, Margaret returned to school, and the next year she went back to Atlantic City to defend her titles.
Unfortunately, the Washington Herald in 1922 awarded the title of "Miss Washington" to another girl. But the organizers of the contest in Atlantic City decided to combine Margaret's two strange titles into one and call it "Miss America". That's how this title was born — a year after its first owner won it.