In 1945 Bess Myerson became the first Jewish Miss America and the first winner from New York. That year the pageant awarded a $5,000 grant to the winner. Pageant officials had urged Myerson to change her name to Beth Merrick, a suggestion the contestant refused to consider.

  The swim suit provided to Myerson proved too tight. Rather than wear the ugly suit pageant officials provided as a backup, Myerson had her sister Sylvia sleep in the original suit to stretch it out. When that wasn't enough, Sylvia altered the suit to improve the fit. The tailoring worked, but Sylvia had to sew Myerson into the bathing suit. That meant Myerson had to wear the suit under her evening gown and talent costume during the final night of competition. While undoubtedly uncomfortable, the plan did the trick. She wowed the judges with her renditions of "Summertime" on the flute and Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor during the talent competition. Myerson was crowned Miss America.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.