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Home > Blog > Photo of the Week, 56: Here She Is … ‘Miss Heart of the Corn Belt’ 1955

On Saturday, May 21, 1955, some 500 area residents gathered at the Bloomington High School gymnasium on East Washington Street to attend the “Miss Heart of the Corn Belt" beauty pageant competition.

Seen here is the winner, Marian Elizabeth Cox (center), age 20, an Illinois Wesleyan University junior from Oak Park. Joining the lovely Miss Cox are the four runner-ups: Second-place finisher Shirley Romano (top left), 20, an Illinois State Normal University junior from LaSalle, IL; Joann Hitchcock (top right), 19, an ISNU sophomore from Bloomington, who came in third; Mary Alice Ray (lower left), 19, IWU freshman from Monmouth, IL, who finished fourth; and Ruth Ann O'Neil (lower right), 18, a University of Illinois sophomore from Bloomington who ended up in fifth place.

For the talent phase of the contest, Miss Cox sang “If I Loved You" from the musical “Carousel." She advanced to the “Miss Illinois" contest in Quincy, held the following weekend. Unfortunately for local pageant watchers, Cox did not capture the state crown and a trip to the “Miss America" finals in Atlantic City, NJ. That honor went to Betty Daniggelis of Chicago.


Written By

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

Posted in Historic Photos

February 27th, 2014

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