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Contestants at the first Miss America Pageant in 1921 from Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC

History lesson: The Miss America Pageant crowned its first Miss America – 16-year-old Margaret Gorman – on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1921. What started as a way to bring more tourists to the AC boardwalk turned into a cultural phenomenon that’s now a century in the making.

To preserve that history, Rowan University students partnered with the Miss America Organization to digitize their artifacts and archives. The archives, which have been kept safe in a storage unit in South Jersey for years, will now be available for scholars around the world to access resources like program books, oil paintings of former winners, photos of trophies and footage gathered by South Jersey residents throughout the years.

August 2021
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