Former Miss Overview
The history of Miss San Antonio was lost and is being reconstructed using newspaper articles and contributions from former Miss San Antonio pageant producers, directors, and state historians. We are always looking for more complete information from the public. Your help to find, correct, or enhance any information is welcomed. Use the form on this page to send any information or photos you may have on former Miss America Organization titleholders from the San Antonio area. We will incorporate your information once it has been verified.
In 1920, Galveston, Texas held a Bathing Girl Revue to encourage and stimulate interest in the wearing of more artistic, elaborate, and modest costumes than the one-piece bathing suits women were wearing at the time.
In 1921, Atlantic City businessmen staged a “Fall Frolic” in order to attract tourists to the seasonal resort beyond the traditional end of summer, Labor Day. This was the inaugural Inter-City Beauty Contest that became the Miss America Pageant.
In 1923, San Antonio was invited to send a contestant to the Inter-City Beauty Contest, and Katherine Hensley was crowned the city’s first Miss San Antonio. With financial help from the city of San Antonio, Ms. Hensley took a train to Atlantic City for the competition. The cost was substantial and San Antonio searched for an alternate way of getting a future Miss San Antonio to the national competition.
In 1924, the Galveston Bathing Girl Revue was in its 5th year and rode the coattails of the Inter-City Beauty Contest by added an all-expense-paid trip to Atlantic City for the top three winners of their competition. For the next few years, San Antonio held local competitions to select women for the Galveston Revue in hopes of them winning the grand prize to compete in the Inter-City Beauty Contest (Miss America Pageant).
In 1926, the Galveston Bathing Girl Revue changed its name to the International Pageant of Pulchritude in an attempt to compete with the Inter-City Beauty Contest (Miss America Pageant). San Antonio continued sending representatives to Galveston because many non-winners of the Galveston pageant competed in the Atlantic City Pageant paying their own way.
From 1928 to 1932, the Inter-City Beauty Pageant (Miss America Pageant) was discontinued but San Antonio continued sending representatives to Galveston except in 1931 because of the Great Depression.
In 1932, the International Pageant of Pulchritude in Galveston, Texas was discontinued because of financial issues caused by the Great Depression. It was replaced with Galveston’s Personality Contest where Miss San Antonio 1932 won the title of Miss Personality.
In 1933, the Inter-City Beauty Pageant (Miss America Pageant) attempted a comeback. Finding contestants in a short time resulted in promotional directors bestowing titles on many representatives who did not compete in a local competition including Billie Elwood who was Miss San Antonio 1932. She was given the title of Miss Texas 1933 but on her way to Atlantic City she opted not to continue because of the questionable process. Because of her integrity, we consider Ms. Elwood our Miss San Antonio 1933.
In 1934, the Inter-City Beauty Pageant was canceled due to financial difficulties during the Great Depression. There was no Miss San Antonio 1934.
In 1935, the Inter-City Beauty Pageant (Miss America Pageant) returned. From 1935 to 1937, San Antonio continued crowning titleholders to send directly to the national pageant. Unfortunately, most of San Antonio’s titleholders would not have the financial means to make the trip to Atlantic City.
In 1937, the Miss Texas Organization was established to consolidate Texas titleholders and provide the finances to consistently send a state titleholder to Atlantic City. An interesting fact is Miss San Antonio 1937, Olive Henderson, competed alongside Miss Texas 1937, Alice Lucille Emerick, at the national pageant. Ms. Henderson would be the last contestant to compete in the Inter-City Beauty Pageant (Miss America Pageant) with the title “Miss San Antonio.”
In 1940, the Inter-City Beauty Pageant officially became the Miss America Pageant.
From 1942 to 1945, San Antonio did not hold competitions for Miss San Antonio because of World War II but has continuously crowned a Miss San Antonio titleholder every year since 1946.