Friday, February 8, 2013

Queen of the Snows

1929 Winter Carnival Queen
and Court
"Beauty and Charm to Be the Basis In Picking 1923 Carnival Queen" reads the front page headline in The D on February 8, 1923. Three judges would pick the "lucky" girl out of the grand march at the costume ball on the stroke of midnight. This was the beginning of a fifty year tradition in which the dates of Dartmouth men who were invited up for Carnival would be picked by judges, and later by fraternity members, to enter into a beauty contest.

The contest, unlike modern pageants, required no display of talent. Skills at dancing, piano playing, singing or spelling mattered not. A beautiful face and a good costume were the only necessary qualifications for consideration. In earlier years a real costume for the accompanying Grand Costume Ball was required. Eleanor Gray won for her colonial dame costume in 1925, though a stylish ski outfit was deemed a more important accessory in later years. Early winners had their name added to a silver trophy cup, but beginning in 1947 the newly recognized monarch was allowed to wear the Queen's tiara.

The "Queen of the Snows" crown.
1939 Winter Carnival Queen
and Court.
The tradition finally came to an end in 1973 when women were admitted to the College. A January 15, 1973, article in The D explains that the "43-year-old 'Queen of the Snows' Winter Carnival beauty contest is dead" citing "changes in attitudes toward women both on campus and throughout the country" as a reason for the contest's decline in popularity, and that it had "outlived its usefulness."

Ask for the photo files and vertical files on "Winter Carnival" and all of the associated events.

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