The New York Times “The Girl Of To-Day” Beauty Contest. 1913

Dec 18, 2019 | Curiosities, Photography

The 1913 New York Times Girl of-Today Beauty Contest. Miss Betty Skalnik

1913’s American beauties revealed.


In late 1913 The New York Times organized a peculiar beauty contest, asking readers to send photographs of typical American beauties. As the NYT wrote, “hundreds of photographs came in, assuming the proportions of an avalanche.”
Ninety photographs were selected. They depict an extraordinary snapshot of the concept of beauty, elegance, and aesthetic in photography at the time. All the pictures have captions with name, address, and sometimes a phone number.

The jury was composed of famed artists: James Montgomery Flagg, C. Allan Gilbert, Clarence F. Underwood, Philip Boileau, Penrhyn Stanlaws, W. L. Jacobs and Ham­ilton King.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Front Cover with the Girl of T-Day contest best voted.

Featured image above.
A splendid profile portrait of Miss Betty Skalnik, 118 West 57th Street, New York City. Photo by Mishkin.


The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue.
This issue showcases the 29 most voted pictures. Apparently there was not an official winner, but Miss Helen McMahon, 507 West 171st, New York was placed in the cover.

It’s interesting to note the soft-focus look of the image that was popular in those years.
The photograph is signed in the bottom left by Arnold Genthe.

Page Copy

The Girl of To-day Picture Section Part 2.
Christmas Number. Sunday December 7, 1913.

THE GIRL OF-TO-DAY. Miss Helen McMahon, 507 171st Street, New York.

The New York. Times asked its readers to submit photographs of the young women whom they con­sidered most typical of the American girl. Entries by hundreds had been received when the contest closed on the evening of November 1st.

Judges in the Contest were seven artists famous for their pictures of American girls: James Montgomery Flagg, C. Allan Gilbert, Clarence F. Underwood, Philip Boileau, Penrhyn Stanlaws, W. L. Jacobs and Ham­ilton King.

So many attractive photographs were received that the task of limiting the selections to twenty-nine was found too difficult. An additional rotogravure section next Sunday, Dec. 14th, will contain the remaining sixty-one selected by the Judges.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue., page 2

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Page 2

Miss Eleanor Josephine Fales Coward, Bronxville. N.Y. Photo by Ambruster, Mt Vernon, N.Y.

Miss Betty Skalnik, 118 West 57th Street, New York City. Photo by Mishkin.

Miss Helen Henderson, 306 West 80th Street, New York City. Photo by Ira l. Hill.

Miss Enig Gregg, Regis Hotel, San Francisco, Cal. Photo by Arnold Genthe.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue, page 3

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Page 3

Miss Helen Holden, 519 West Onondaga Street, Syracuse, N.Y. Photo by Dinturff Co.

Miss Blanche Geneva, 59 West 46th Street, New York City. Photo by Davis & Sanford Co.

Mrs. Henty Raleigh, 35 West 98th Street, New York City.  Photo by Davis & Sanford Co.

Mrs. Clarence Robbins, Douglaston, L.I. Photo by Ira Hill.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue, page 4

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Page 4

Miss Vivian Rushmore. 9 West 46th Street, New York City. Photo by Ira Hill

Miss Jean Foster, 29 East 29th Street, New York City. Photo by Davis & Sanford Co.

Miss Leslie McCarten, 246 Sidney Ave., Mount Vernon, N.Y. Photo by A.D: Brittingham, Mt.Vernon.

Miss Maude Olive Minahan, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass. Photo by Champlain & Farrar, Boston.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue, page 5

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Page 5

Miss J.H. McCluney, 4,421 McPherson Avenue, St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Mishkin.

Miss Evelyn Provost, 333 State Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by Polychromide Studios.

Miss Lottie Briscoe, 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, Penn. Photo by Gilbert & Bacon, Philadelphia.

Miss Ruth Hobson, 3 Audubon Place, New Orleans, La. Photo by Mishkin.

A snapshot of the concept of beauty and aesthetic in photography.


These pictures are a unique catalog of the trends of the time in photography, ranging from a classic approach (soft focus, painted backgrounds, gaze not towards the camera) to a fresher modern look as, for instance, Miss Evelyn Provost on page 5.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue, page 6

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Page 6

Miss Grace Brown, 1500 1,510 Broadway, New York City. Photo by A.F.Bradley, Jr.

Mrs. R.W. Otte, Elmer and Negley Avenues, Pittsburg, Penn.

Miss Eva Francis, 645 West End Avenue, New York, City, Photo by Pach Bros.

Mrs. Arthur Barnwell, Jr., 146 East 49th Street, New York City. Photo by the Misses Selby.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue, page 7

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Page 7

Miss Gertrude Warren, 1,253 Washington Street, San Francisco, Cal. Photo by Arnold Genthe.

Miss Ray Gilmore, 317 East 197th Street, New York City. Photo by G.Dobkin.

Miss Ethel Pissis, 1,834 Gough Street, San Francisco, Cal. Photo by Arnold Genthe.

Miss Kathleen R. Lipscomb, 264 Riverside Drive, New York City. Photo by Hall.

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue, page 8

The New York Times, December 7, 1913, Christmas issue. Page 8

Mrs. Charles Dillingham, 8 West 40th Street, New York City, Photo by Mishkin Studio.

Miss Helen Chance, 3615 Hamilton Street, Philadelphia, Penn. Photo by Phillips Studio, Philadelphia.

Miss Louise Russel, 563 Palisade Avenue, Yonkers, N.Y. Photo by Brandeburg.

Miss Viola Fitzpatrick, 8422 10th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by J. Kennedy, Toronto.


The splendid Portrait of Miss Louise Russel, completes the selection of the best 29 images published on the New Times Christmas Issue of Sunday December 7, 1913. The remaining 61 were published in the next Sunday Number. Stay in touch as we are going to publish them in the next post.