Universe 1920s
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International Pageant of Pulchritude
/ Miss Universe

Between 1920 and 1925, the city of Galveston, Texas, organized the Annual Bathing Girl Revue.  In 1926, international contestants began to compete, so the pageant became known as the International Pageant of Pulchritude, with the winner named Miss Universe.  It became so popular that every year 150,000 people gathered to view the bathing suit parade on Galveston Boulevard.

In 1927 began the contest to select Miss United States who would compete against the foreign participants in the next night's finals, though the rest of the American contestants were eligible to vie for the final prizes.

The pageant was discontinued in 1932 for three reasons:

1)  The Great Depression;

2)  Bishop C. E. Byrne had long waged a fight against the "leg show on the sea wall"; and

3)  Chewing gum magnate Colonel W. E. Easterwood complained that the home girls of Texas were discriminated against, and that the foreign contestants wore enough makeup "to paint the Washington Monument."

These 4 photographs are of the 44 contestants who competed in the 1929 pageant.


Special thanks to Margaret of Poland and Stefan of Holland for their contributions!