Bette Cooper: Miss America 1937

1937 Bette Cooper: Best known for abdicating her throne, declining to make appearances and returning to school. She lives in Connecticut.

(Original Publication Date: 1937)

Betty Cooper Is Acclaimed Miss America

Miss Texas and Miss No. Carolina Runners Up In Contest

Betty Cooper, 17-year-old blue-eyed blonde, was crowned "Miss America, 1937," before an audience of 7000 in the Marine Ballroom of the Steel Pier last night.

Alice Emerick, 17, a striking brunette, with an olive complexion, carrying the banner of the Lone Star State as "Miss Texas," was runner-up.

Ruth McLean Covington, 17, as "Miss North Carolina," was third.

Miss Cooper, who represented a North Jersey resort near Lake Hopatcong, comes from Hackettstown. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. LeBrun Cooper.

The measurements of America's new beauty queen are: Five feet, six and and one-half inches tall; weight, 120 pounds. As one would expect with blue eyes and blonde hair, Miss Cooper's complexion is fair.

In the talent test, the new queen of American beauties displayed a soprano voice, while not full, was of a sweet character. Her hobbies include athletics and all types of sports, with basketball her favorite.

In her ambitions, the new Miss America has aspirations for a theatrical career. Her first choice is the screen, the stage second, and in a pinch would accept a radio future.

Choice Narrows to Three

The choice was made from among three contestants. Miss Bertrand Island, Miss North Carolina, and Miss Texas. They were all that remained from the original 48 beauties gathered here. Miss California, a pre-pageant favorite fell by the wayside as did Miss Miami, another favorite with the crowd.

The judging started with the announcement of the girls eligible for the crown. They were: Miss Bertrand Island, N.J., Miss Bronx, Miss Buckeye Lake, Miss California, Miss Charlotte, N.C., Miss Kansas, Miss Massachusetts, Miss Miami, Miss New York City, Miss New Orleans, Miss North Carolina, Miss Ohio, Miss St. Louis, Miss Texas, Miss Westchester County, N.Y., and Miss Virginia.

After the first elimination Miss Bertrand Island, Miss California, Miss Miami, Miss North Carolina and Miss Texas were all who remained for the final judging.

It appeared as though the judges were deliberately playing on the crowd's impatience and eagerness to know who the queen of American beauties would be. They called out repeatedly for additional judging, weighing their fine points and possibilities as stage, screen or radio stars.

Pageant Deemed Success

The Pageant of 1937 is over. Every number on the program has been successfully completed. Perfect weather prevailed throughout the week and there was nothing to mar the various events. The only thing left for the beauties to do is to have a few more photographs and newsreels taken and then make their departure. The pictures will be taken today, at 10:30 and the girls will start for home during the afternoon.

Taking it from all viewpoints, it was probably the most successful of the Pageants held here, and there is good authority for the statement that it attracted about the best group of contestants that have graced any of the Pageants since the first was held, although their numbers were not as great as were entered in the days of city sponsored contests.

There were in all six contests during the week. The sweepstakes prize was the crown of Miss America 1937, awarded last night. The other to main events were the choosing of the girl with the most charming personality, won by Miss Westchester County, N.Y., Miss Evelyn Raye, 18; and the most beautiful girl in evening gown, won by Miss Bertrand Island, N.J., Miss Bette Cooper, 17.

Winners of Preliminaries

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, the preliminary talent contests resulted in awards to Miss Massachusetts, Miss Claire Nevullis, 17, singer and tap dancer; Miss California, Miss Phyllis Rangdall, 21, singer and dancer; and Miss New York, Miss Grave Travis, 19, singer.

There were 48 girls competing in the various contests and a total of 51 included in the Pageant, the other three not entering into any of the competitions. These were Miss Atlantic City, Miss Columbia, D.C., who was disqualified by being under the age limit; and Miss Puerto Rico, ineligible because of her residence outside of the continental United States.

Those chiefly responsible for the conduct and success of the Pageant were: John R. Hollinger, director-general; George D. Tyson, executive director; L.S. Slaughter, associate director; Paul J. O'Neill, chairman of the Executive Committee, and Charles Harp, chairman of the Finance Committee. Ruth C. Miller was the stage producer, and Alex Bartha and his Steel Pier Orchestra took the leading part in the musical program.


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