1939 Miss America Pageant
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 1939
Patricia Donnelly, Miss Michigan, won the 1939 Miss America pageant. She was crowned by outgoing Miss America 1940, Frances Burke, of Pennsylvania.
During the talent competition, she charmed the audience with a unique performance – singing while playing “Ol’ Man Mose” on the bass fiddle. In the swimsuit competition, she wore a borrowed a one-piece satin bathingsuit which she wore with high-heeled sandals.
Before winning, the 5’7″ brunette beauty had worked as a fashion and photographic model. At the conclusion of her reign, she returned to Atlantic City to crown her successor, Miss America 1940, Frances Burke, Miss Philadelphia. Patricia performed on Broadway and in the movie Cover Girl before marrying.
In 1948, she married her husband, Robin Harris, a reporter who worked for the New York Daily News, New York Times and New York Journal-American. The couple had two children. Patricia and her husband worked a travel columnists for Hearst newspapers.*
She lost her battle with throat cancer and died in 2009. According to the Miss America Pageant, ” Reflecting on the Miss America title, Pat would fondly say, ‘We were the first. We set the pattern for the others to come, and we’ve all retained a quality that sets us apart.’”