Posts Tagged ‘growing up in Brooklyn’

Who was crowned Miss Brooklyn in 1939?

March 2, 2015

All spring, the contest was heavily advertised in the Brooklyn Eagle. Any single woman born in New York City and currently living in the borough between the ages of 16 and 23 could enter.


Interestingly for a beauty contest, beauty was not necessary, according to the Eagle. “Judging will be on the basis of poise, personality, and appearance,” the guidelines stated.

MissbrooklynrulesThe judges, a group of business leaders, were tasked with looking for someone who exemplified the “typical local girl.”

Hundreds of women entered the competition that year, with several deemed finalists (and getting their photos in the Eagle) before the winner was revealed during Brooklyn Week at the World’s Fair in May.

So who won? The crown went to Miss Elinore Bertrand, 16, of West 2nd Street, who attended Bay Ridge High School.

Missbrooklyn1939She was awarded $25 and the chance to compete for Miss New York later that summer.

Bertrand (at right) seemed to be a bit of a sore loser. After she failed to grab the Miss New York title, she was so upset, she ran away to Philadelphia!

Miss Brooklyn wasn’t the only beauty contest of the era. Miss Rheingold, running until 1964, may have been even more popular.

And Miss Subways, which existed from the 1940s to the 1970s, was huge citywide.

A Brooklyn high school’s brainy class of 1927

February 16, 2011

Whatever became of the graduates of James Madison High School that year?

Born around 1909, they were little kids when the U.S. entered World War I and in their early 30s when World War II broke out.

Based on a copy of their class book, most were Jewish and headed to good schools: New York University, City College, Cornell, and Columbia. That includes many of the girls too. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in the class of ’51.)

They came to from a wide swatch of Brooklyn, from as far away as Park Slope and Sea Gate. James Madison, near Kings Highway, was only a few years old in 1927; nearby high schools like Midwood and Lincoln hadn’t been built yet.

None of the four students in this yearbook photo could be tracked via a Google search. If still alive, they’d be about 101 years old.

East New York kids, 1923

July 21, 2008

Looks like the boy squinting at the camera got stuck babysitting…and he isn’t too happy about it.