Mrs. America owes much of its present day popularity to its rich history and tradition. The pageant dates its origin to the year 1938, when the first Mrs. America competition was held at Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey. For the next thirty years, Mrs. America devoted itself to a national search for the ideal homemaker, and became an American institution. The original contest was not considered a beauty pageant but a competition of homemaking skills, including table setting, arrangements, laundry, bed making and cooking, as well as managing the family budget, personality, hairstyle, make-up and formal dress. The pageant was discontinued after 1968, during a period when the theme of wife and homemaker was subject to changing social mores. But in 1977, after an absence of nearly a decade, the pageant was revived under a new and more modern format. The man responsible for the renaissance of Mrs. America was David Marmel, an independent television producer.
What does the Mrs. America Pageant represent?
Now celebrating its 30th year in its modern format, the Mrs. America Pageant is the only nationally televised pageant for married women. It focuses the attention of the nation and the world on the versatility of the contemporary American married woman. Each of the 51 Mrs. America candidates earns the right to participate in the national event by winning her statewide competition. These state pageants are under the direction of Mrs. America State Directors, a network of respected and talented community and business leaders reflecting one of the finest pageant systems in the world.
What does the Mrs. America title stand for?
The winner of the Mrs. America crown receives cash, prizes and endless opportunities. During her exciting and memorable reign, she will make personal appearances throughout the country. For the entire year she acts as the ambassador and spokesperson for America’s married women. She speaks to civic groups and business organizations, appears in print and television commercials, and conducts countless interviews with members of the press. She becomes, in effect, the public symbol of all wives and mothers.
Kayley Sparling, Mrs. World