Mrs. International

Mrs. International 1989 contestants visit the DMA.

Mrs. International 1989 contestants visit the DMA.

I was searching the archives for a fun photo to share and decided on the above. Unfortunately, like many photos in the archives, it was essentially unidentified, because in this case, I discovered that the photo was misidentified.

The caption on the back of the photo reads “Mrs. America #18 1980.” I tried to find some additional context by using the The Dallas Morning News archives, something along the lines of ‘Mrs. America contestants visit museum,’ or even ‘Mrs. America pageant held in Dallas,’ but there was nothing. A search for the history of the Mrs. America pageant showed that it was held in Las Vegas, so a visit to the DMA seemed highly unlikely. Then, with both the pageant and date now in question, I took a closer look at the titles on the sashes, and searched for “Mrs. Texas International.”

I was now fairly certain that the women in the photo were contestants in the Mrs. International pageant, which was also licensed as Mrs. USA, but I still didn’t have a date. I started to search the states visible on the sashes of the  Mrs. International pageant participants in hopes of identifying one of them to determine the date. Luckily for me, the Mrs. Ohio website came through and included past winners with photos. I was able to identify Mrs. Ohio as 1989 winner Ruth Coffman, thus providing the date for the photo.

In addition to an amusing image, this became a fun way to demonstrate just one of the many types of things I do in the DMA Archives.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist for the Dallas Museum of Art.

2 Responses to “Mrs. International”


  1. 1 pharris7211 July 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    You are a trouper, Hillary. I hope you had a good 4th.

    With my book, its two steps forward and one step backward. I wiped out a section on art in Fort Worth.​ Fortunately, I still had the material.

  2. 2 altroup July 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Well It is one of many Images that Tom Jenkins took, seeing it is his style of B/W and the event is your usual girls night out ,in that time and dress, again we have to see Dallas for what it is..a city on the move and many folks just don’t stay in that grove..and then again people care and people don’t….

    I am concerned since the quality of life is about being there…and so your ideals on these kinds of concepts have to be realized and in public as we do have fun…..Ok have a great 4th and lets see more of…… Who Were They…


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