The talent competition was added to the pageant in 1935 and was initially an optional event. - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Miss America Atlantic City

The talent competition was added to the pageant in 1935 and was initially an optional event. - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Miss America Atlantic City

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The talent competition was added to the pageant in 1935 and was initially an optional event.

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Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 9:45 am | Updated: 2:57 pm, Fri May 10, 2013.

Lenora Slaughter Frapart joined the pageant in 1935 and was named its national executive director in 1941. She retired in 1967. During her tenure, Slaughter (she was widely known by her maiden name) turned the pageant from a beach spectacle into the event we know today.

In his book "There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America," Frank Deford says it was Slaughter who "salvaged an expensive gimmick that was altogether frivolous and usually discredited and turned it into a responsible institution."

It was Slaughter who transformed the pageant into a scholarship competition. Slaughter, who by all accounts possessed a formidable personality, is also credited with adding the talent competition to the pageant, building up the volunteer base, and establishing the hostess committee - basically creating many of the institutions that today still make the Miss America Pageant "THE PAGEANT."

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