1935 Miss America Pageant
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 1935
Miss America 1935: Henrietta Leaver, Miss Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1st runner-up: Edna Smith, Miss Missouri
2nd runner-up: Jeane M. Megerle, Miss Kentucky
Henrietta Leaver, Miss Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, won the 1935 Miss America title midway through the Great Depression. The 19-year-old sales clerk from Pittsburgh, was named Miss America 1935. She was crowned by outgoing Miss America 1933, Marian Bergeron of Connecticut. She began her journey to that title when she won the “Miss McKeesport” beauty contest, which, in turn, entered her into the “Miss Pittsburgh” contest.
Very representative of the era of The Great Depression in which she grew up, she had been forced to drop out of high school in 1934 in order to help her family make ends meet.
The beauty contest was experimenting with adding an optional talent competition in 1935. Henrietta had no idea there would be a talent category, but went along with the new segment by singing and tap-dancing to “Living In A Great Big Way”. >> Complete List of Miss America Talents
Scandal sadly marred her reign after she posed for the renowned sculptor, Frank Vittor. When he unrelieved his sculpture of Miss America, had had presented her in the nude. In reality, the pageant winner had posed for the sculpture while attired in a modest bathing-suit with her grandmother present as a chaperone, but the image immediately created a furor and tarnished her reputation.
During her lifetime, she married three times and raised two daughters before dying of cancer in in September 1993 at age 77.*
*Sources: www.tubecityonline.com, The Pittsburgh Press, www.findagrave.com