When 18-year-old Mavoureen Crawford of Castle Dale won the Miss Utah beauty pageant in 1915, she wore a handsewn gown of flour sacks and a cardboard crown with a star on the top. And she sang for her talent presentation.
In the 1998 Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant, scheduled for the week of June 15-20 in Orem, Crawford's great-granddaughter is a contestant. Eighteen-year-old Jennifer Anne Jones, who is Miss Murray, will also sing.But the similarities pretty well end there:
- Miss Murray's gown isn't made of flour sacks and the crown she could win qualifies to be locked up in a safe when it isn't being worn.
- When Jones arrives in Orem for the weeklong event, she'll bring a good deal more wardrobe and pairs of shoes than her great-grandmother owned.
- The 1915 Miss Utah didn't compete in a swimsuit contest.
- The prize money, nonexistent 83 years ago, is enough to pay for a college education at today's prices.
- There will be more than 60 contestants vying for the crown and a chance to go on to compete in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant in Atlantic City in August. Those involved will be part of a glitzy, professional show playing to a sellout crowd in a packed hall.
- When Crawford won, there were only a handful of girls competing and a few family members in the audience. And the Miss America franchise, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, didn't exist. (The first official Miss Utah connected with the Miss America franchise is Muriel LaVon Goodspeed, crowned in 1938.)
"It wasn't part of the Miss America franchise," said Calvin Jones, grandson of the 1915 Miss Utah. "No one really knows how it got organized or even where it was held for sure.
"We think it was in Salt Lake City, but we don't know the number of contestants or even who the attendants (in the photograph) are."
Jones says it's interesting to tie the bits of information together, and he hopes some exposure will bring out people who have facts to share. "My mother remembers a few things, but we never really got all of the details."
The royalty photo was sent to Jones' aunt by a friend. He doesn't know a lot more than that.
The 1998 Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant officially opened in Orem this week. On Monday, contestants modeled gowns from past eras and were officially introduced to the public. Preliminary competitions began Wednesday and will continue through Friday (7:30 p.m. in Mountain View High School).
Saturday evening, 10 contestants selected on the basis of their performances in the preliminary rounds will vie for the crown, following a reception honoring Miss Utah winners from the past 40 years.