1938 Miss America Pageant
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 1938 Marilyn Meseke
Marilyn Meseke, Miss Ohio, was named Miss America 1938 on September 10, 1938, during the first year that the pageant required contestants to perform in a new phase of competition, one that would soon come to be a hallmark of the Miss America pageant, the Talent Competition.
Ohio's Marilyn Meseke was named Miss America 1938 after performing a tap dance in the talent competition. 1938 was the first year talent was a required phase of competition.
After nearly a decade of suffering through the Great Depression, cheerful Hollywood musicals were a nationwide craze, helping to life the spirits of troubled Americans from coast to coast -- and a "talent competition" flush with pretty singers and tap dancers was an ideal fit for the mood of the times. Marilyn, a talented dancer who tap-danced her way to victory performing "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise", was a perfectly-timed queen for a new era in pageantry.**
Marilyn's victory also marked the first time that Americans could watch the crowning of a Miss America via newsreel footage shown a week after the pageant.* Interest in pageant was still considerable, given the massive search for the previous year's winner, Bette Cooper, Miss America 1937, who had disappeared the night she won. In the wake of King Edward VIII's abdication for American divorcee Wallis Simpson, reporters had erroneously jumped to the conclusion that Cooper had abdicated her throne to elope with her bachelor chaperone.
At the conclusion of her reign, she returned to Atlantic City to crown her successor, Patricia Donnelly, Miss America 1939, Miss Michigan.
After her reign, Meseke opened a dance school, where she specialized in teaching tap dancing. Widowed twice, Marilyn married pilot Major Stanley Hume, with whom she had a son. After being widowed, she married pilot Benjamin Rogers.
Sources: *"Marion" by Stuart J. Koblentz, **"Miss America: In Pursuit of the Crown"
Note: Results prior to 1936 are incomplete. Placement Key: BR=Bather's Review | MP=Most Popular | F=Finalist | EG=Evening Gown Award | T=Talent Award | BM= Best Model | S=Swimsuit Award | MC=Miss Congeniality | QL=Quality of Life Award
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