With all due respect to dispatcher Joseph Manago and his tribute to the late Bess Myerson, I must set the record straight regarding the title she held when competing for Miss America, as I have been associated with the program since 1965.
Bess Myerson never held the title of Miss New York, as far as state affiliation. In 1945, she won the title of Miss New York City, and proceeded directly to the Miss America Competition in Atlantic City.
In those days not all contestants represented states. There were also city and regional titleholders. It was not until the late 1950s that every state competed, and not until 1964 that contestants represented solely states and the District of Columbia.
Bess Myerson was the first of six from New York, and the first to win a scholarship. Four states have the most winners at six each: New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and California.
The program awards over $46 million in scholarships to women annually. It is the largest such scholarship program in the world.