“I think they deserved to be seen in colour as they were. A lot of these photographs were taken in Washington D.C in the early 1920s. It was a time of huge social upheaval as well as an economic shift that saw America morph into a major consumer society.” – said Matt
From the winners of seaside beauty pageants to the winner of Miss Universe the pictures give a real insight into the popularity of these contests - and the women who won them.
Portrait of a group of young women as they pose in risque bathing suits that bare the legs and knees, Washington DC, May 29, 1920.
Miss Washington, Evelyn Lewis, standing proud in her modest bathing suit and knee-high stockings at the Wardman Park Hotel.
Miss Chicago of 1925, Margarita Gonzales. Gonzales was a candidate for the national title at the Atlantic City beauty contest in 1925, but was eliminated in the first round.
Beauty queen Evelyn Cushing, 24, won Miss Illinois in 1932 and went on to compete for Miss America.
Ella Van Hueson exercising on a static bike in June 1928 after being named Miss Universe.
Iola Swinnerton and Anna Neibel, winners of a beauty contest at Washington's Tidal Bathing Beach, 1922.
Splash of color Eva Fridell receives the winners cup on August 5th 1922 at the Washington Tidal Basin beauty contest.
Miss Universe Ella Van Hueson sitting in her car in 1922.
Mrs. Wallace Ford models a dress that she will wear to the Miss America ball in 1927.
Eva Fridell takes the prize at the Washington Tidal Basin Beauty contest, August 1920.
Miss Anna Neibel with her winners cup at the Washington Tidal Basin in 1922.
Mae Greene, 18, was chosen as Miss Chicago 1926 out of 4,000 rivals at the Trianon Ballroom.
(Images: My Colorful Past / mediadrumworld)