Other captions for Sultner-Welles images are intriguing when they omit significant information, such as with the photograph below.
|Photograph by Donald H. Sultner-Welles. "George Buzby, Atlantic City" With Bert Parks, ca. 1964. Chromogenic color transparency, 2-1/4" x 2-1/4". Donald H. Sultner-Welles Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.|
Furthermore, the fact that Sultner-Welles identified the location of the image as Atlantic City strongly suggests that it was made at some iteration of the Miss America Pageant from 1955 to 1979. From that I postulate that the young woman whose waist his arm encircles might be a Miss America contestant. Admittedly, other possibilities abound.
Other Archives Center resources are Miss America-specific, including the personal papers of Lenora Slaughter, who revived the pageant in 1935 and served as its director. Two other collections were donated by winners of the Miss America crown, the Miss America 1943 [Jean Bartel] Photographs and the Miss America 1951 [Yolande Betbeze] Papers. A number of smaller beauty pageants, including high school, college, and other local contests, are represented in Archives Center collections.
|American Legion Pageant at Lincoln Colonnade [paper photoprint,] 1947. Photograph by Addison N. Scurlock. Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, NMAH. Note the "Miss Americanism" sash worn by the figure at right.|
Given this personal history and my chronic inability to delete that goofy song from my brain, it was an odd feeling to encounter this Sultner-Welles candid photograph of Parks so unexpectedly in the collection; and odder still that the photographer, who was something of a celebrity-hunter, identified only his friend and the location, not the famous host or the event.
Curator of Photography, Archives Center
National Museum of American History