Monday, May 9, 2022

A Wonderful Find

 How thrilling for me to find this little card in Norma Niblock's archive. (see below) Her identification card which allowed her to board a train for the final pageant in New York, with "dining car" privileges! I knew George Ullman devised this method and I cite from his memoir, page 30:

The railroad executives were most cooperative. I did not want to send the winning beauty contestants either the money or the tickets for their railroad fare, simply because I thought that some of the girls might use the money (or convert the tickets) and fail to appear in New York City at the required date. So I arranged with the various railroad executives to allow the conductors on the trains to accept the girl’s signatures in lieu of cash or tickets. All of the girls got to New York in time.”

* Norma would not take the train to New York and drove herself, with her mother from Toronto. A wonderful find in her papers and photos and which I share in the book. (front and back)


12 comments:

  1. This little memento Norma kept is an important piece of Mineralava Tour history. Thanks for the research!

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  2. I have seen a few trophies from the dance contests and beauty pageants pop up occasionally on social media, but never one of these cards. Interesting!

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    1. It is tangible proof of George Ullman's clever management. He was such an innovator and when I saw the card I knew what it was, her pass to board the train for the Madison Square Garden event. An early evidence of Ullman's presence.

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  3. It's amazing Norma held on to this keepsake for such a long time. It proves the pageant meant a lot to her.

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    1. The pageant and the honor of winning meant a great deal to Norma. This is very apparent in the accounts she passed down and the documents, like the card, which she kept. And she was preparing to appear in the documentary on 88 Beauties when she died. She was very excited about that.

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    2. There is something so touching about the nuance of Dining-car Service. I imagine that it was the first train journey for many of the contestants, and it must have been a particular thrill to dine en route. One hopes they were able to gain admittance to the first class dining car (the pass doesn’t indicate anything one way or the other).

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    3. I also found that so sweet. What a journey for most of them and I think the thought of Norma driving herself so entertaining. Even though her family had their own luxury Pullman cars, she preferred to drive... and at 15.

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    4. Norma was a plucky young lady, no doubt about it.

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    5. Whose signature is on the card authorizing the use of the Dining Service? The president of the railway line or someone connected with Scott Preparations, Inc.?

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    6. I would think because it is addressed to "Employees" about the dining-car, it would be someone from the railroad.

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  4. The fact that 15 year old Norma drove from Canada to NYC says a lot about her personality!

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