Miss America 1969

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Miss America 1969
Judith Ford, Miss America 1969.jpg
Miss America 1969, Judith Ford
DateSeptember 7, 1968
PresentersBert Parks
VenueBoardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey
WinnerJudith Ford
Illinois Illinois
← 1968
1970 →

Miss America 1969, the 42nd Miss America pageant, was held at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 7, 1968[1] on NBC Network. Miss Illinois was the winner, Judith Ford performing on a trampoline during the talent competition of the pageant. She later became a physical education teacher at an elementary school.

The event was the site of a protest held on the boardwalk sponsored by feminists. They threw feminine products, like bras, pots, false eyelashes, mops, and other items into a "Freedom trash can". The event was reported under the headline "Bra Burners and Miss America," which conflated the idea of the protest with men who burned their draft cards.



Final results Contestant
Miss America 1969
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up
  • Iowa Iowa – Susan Thompson
3rd runner-up
  • Oregon Oregon – Marjean Kay Langley
4th runner-up
  • Indiana Indiana – Katherine Virginia Field
Top 10

Order of announcements[edit]


Preliminary awards[edit]

Awards Contestant
Lifestyle and Fitness

Other awards[edit]

Awards Contestant
Miss Congeniality
Non-finalist Talent


A protest held outside Boardwalk Hall was attended by about 200 feminists. The protest, nicknamed No More Miss America!, was organized by New York Radical Women, included tossing feminine products, bras, pots, false eyelashes, mops, and other items into a "Freedom trash can" on the Atlantic City boardwalk.[2] [3]

A story by Lindsy Van Gelder in the New York Post carried the headline "Bra Burners and Miss America." Her story drew an analogy between the feminist protest and Vietnam War protesters who burned their draft cards.[4] The bra-burning trope was erroneously and permanently attached to the event and became a catch-phrase of the feminist era.

A lesser known protest was also organized on the same day by civil rights activist J. Morriss Anderson. It was held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel a few blocks from the Miss America pageant. They crowned the first Miss Black America.


State Name Hometown Age Talent Placement Awards Notes
Alabama Alabama Dellynne Catching Birmingham 19 Piano Medley, "Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum", "America the Beautiful", & "This is My Country" Top 10 Preliminary Lifestyle & Fitness Award
Alaska Alaska Jane Haycraft Fairbanks 18 Popular Vocal, "Walking Happy"
Arizona Arizona Linda Johnson Warren 20 Authentic Tahitian Dance Previously Arizona's Junior Miss 1966
Arkansas Arkansas Helen Gennings Batesville 20 Popular Vocal, "What the World Needs Now is Love" & "Love Makes the World Go Round"
California California Sharon Terrill Torrance 21 Dramatic Reading, "Little Word, Little White Bird" by Carl Sandburg Non-finalist Talent Award
Colorado Colorado Pamela Kerker Sterling 21 Ballet/Jazz Dance, "By Myself" & "Babalu"
Connecticut Connecticut Gunnell Ragone West Hartford 21 Popular Vocal & Monologue, "Guantanamera" Non-finalist Talent Award
Delaware Delaware Gayle Freeman Wilmington 19 Vocal & Guitar, "Times They Are a-Changin'"
Florida Florida Linda Fitts Panama City 20 Charleston Dance, "Twelfth Street Rag" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia Burma Davis Warner Robbins 20 Vocal, "This is My Country"
Hawaii Hawaii Deborah Ynez Gima Kailua 18 Hawaiian Song, "Wonderful World of Aloha" & "Kaneha"
Idaho Idaho Karen Ryder Weiser 20 Magic Act, "The Shadow of Your Smile" & "Born Free" Non-finalist Talent Award
Illinois Illinois Judith Ford Belvidere 18 Acrobatic Dance & Trampoline, "The Blue Danube" Winner Preliminary Lifestyle & Fitness Award

Preliminary Talent Award

Indiana Indiana Kit Field Indianapolis 21 Vocal, "Why was I Born?" 4th runner-up Featured performer at Miss America 1970
Iowa Iowa Susan Thompson Des Moines 21 Piano, Warsaw Concerto 2nd runner-up Preliminary Lifestyle & Fitness Award
Kansas Kansas Jane Kathryn Bair Parsons 18 Ballet Interpretation, "My Friend the Sea"
Kentucky Kentucky Janet Hatfield Jeffersontown 18 Vocal, "I'm Glad There is You"
Louisiana Louisiana Susanne Saunders Shreveport 18 Popular Vocal, "I Can See It"
Maine Maine Brenda Renee Verceles Bangor 19 Tap Dance, "Step to the Rear" from How Now, Dow Jones
Maryland Maryland Karen Anne Hansen College Park 20 Vocal, "Just You Wait" from My Fair Lady
Massachusetts Massachusetts Catherine Monroe Lynnfield 20 Sign Language & Dance, "What the World Needs Now is Love" 1st runner-up
Michigan Michigan Darlene Kurant Muskegon 19 Vocal, "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face"
Minnesota Minnesota Mary Williams Minneapolis 20 Tap Dance, "Wall Street Rag" by Scott Joplin
Mississippi Mississippi Mary Mills McComb 19 Piano Comedy Presentation, "Habanera" & "Le Poupée Valsante" by Fritz Kreisler
Missouri Missouri Kathleen Goff De Soto 21 Vocal, "I'm Gonna Live 'til I Die"
Montana Montana Karen Frank Park City 21 Western Vocal & Guitar, "I Want to be a Cowboy's Sweetheart"
Nebraska Nebraska Diane Boldt Omaha 19 Character Dance
Nevada Nevada Sharon Davis Reno 19 Classical Vocal, "Quando m'en vò" from La bohème
New Hampshire New Hampshire Michelle Godfrey Portsmouth 18 Modern Interpretive Dance, "Tabu"
New Jersey New Jersey Jeannette Phillipuk Laurel Springs 20 Vocal Medley, "The Sweetest Sounds" & "Nobody Told Me" from No Strings
New Mexico New Mexico Karen Jan Maciolek Albuquerque 19 Waltz Ballet, "Wunderbar" Miss Congeniality
New York (state) New York Patricia Burmeister Portville 24 Classical Vocal, "L'Air des clochettes" from Lakmé Top 10
North Carolina North Carolina Elisa Annette Johnson New Bern 19 Vocal, "As Long as He Needs Me" from Oliver! Non-finalist Talent Award
North Dakota North Dakota Virginia Hanson Bismarck 21 Semi-classical Vocal, "This is My Country"
Ohio Ohio Leslyn Hiple Louisville 19 Vocal Medley, "If My Friends Could See Me Now" & "I'm a Brass Band" from Sweet Charity
Oklahoma Oklahoma Beverly Drew Harrah 22 Vocal, "Step to the Rear"
Oregon Oregon Marjean Kay Langley Milton-Freewater 19 Classical Ballet, "The Dying Swan" 3rd runner-up
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Susan Robinson Pittsburgh 22 Comedy Monologue, "Sis Hopkins"
Rhode Island Rhode Island Arlene Pinto Warwick 21 Vocal/Dance, "Thoroughly Modern Millie"
South Carolina South Carolina Rebecca Smith Clover 19 Semi-classical Vocal, "America the Beautiful"
South Dakota South Dakota Ann McKay Vermillion 21 Dramatic Monologue from This Property is Condemned Non-finalist Talent Award
Tennessee Tennessee Brenda Seal Kingsport 19 Popular Vocal, "What Now My Love" Top 10 Contestant at National Sweetheart 1967
Texas Texas Diane Hugghins Tyler 20 Jazz Dance, "Put on a Happy Face" from Bye Bye Birdie
Utah Utah Kathleen Frances Wood Salt Lake City 19 Monologue, "The Promise of One Person on This Planet"
Vermont Vermont Elizabeth Sackler Putney 20 Modern Dance Interpretation to Self Recorded Reading of "The Last Flower" Non-finalist Talent Award
Virginia Virginia Cherie Davis Clifton Forge 20 Classical Vocal, "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award
Washington (state) Washington Joyce Stepanek Issaquah 20 Comedy Routine, "The Adventures of Huck Finn"
West Virginia West Virginia Charlotte Warwick Charleston 22 Semi-classical Vocal, "The Impossible Dream"
Wisconsin Wisconsin Marilyn Brahmsteadt Wisconsin Rapids 21 Vocal, "What a Difference a Day Made"
Wyoming Wyoming Carol Rose Burns 20 Clarinet Medley, "Clarinet Concerto" by Mozart, "Strangers on the Shore", & "Ji-da" Non-finalist Talent Award


  1. ^ Associated Press (1968-09-08). "Miss America Says – It Was All a Dream". Tuscaloosa News. p. 1.
  2. ^ Dow, Bonnie J. (Spring 2003). "Feminism, Miss America, and Media Mythology". Rhetoric & Public Affairs. 6 (1): 127–149. doi:10.1353/rap.2003.0028. S2CID 143094250.
  3. ^ "Press release and open letter inviting women to attend the Miss America protest". Duke Digital Collections. August 22, 1968. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  4. ^ Van Gelder, Lindsy (September–October 1992). "The truth about bra-burners". Ms. pp. 80–81.