50 Years Ago in Sandusky

Jackie Mayer with the gown she wore for the talent competition in the 1962 Miss America pageant. She donated the gown to the Ohio Historical Society in 2002 with other clothing, personal papers, photographs and audiovisual materials.


In November 1962 there was a great celebration in Sandusky, Ohio when local resident Jackie Mayer came home after being crowned Miss America. Press and corporate sponsors descended on this small town that previously was known as a vacation destination on Lake Erie. “Welcome Home” signs decorated the streets and a magnificent parade was held. Jackie Mayer recalled that the Miss America pageant staff wanted her to stay at a hotel, rather than her parent’s house, so that they could control press access. Oldsmobile, one of her corporate sponsors as Miss America, came to town for her to shoot a commercial. The commercial shoot caused Jackie to miss most of her own parade. As soon as the shoot was over, she rushed to get into her gown and onto her float.

The whole town was proud of Jackie’s success, and they still are. On November 14th staff of the Sandusky Library and Follett House Museum organized a program to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Jackie Mayer’s homecoming and revisit their fond memories of that time. Jackie Mayer, who still lives in the area, was on hand to narrate a slide show of photographs documenting her life. She also brought her Miss America crown, photographs, and two gowns from her personal collection to share with the audience. Ohio Historical Society staff were also invited to bring items that Jackie donated to the Historical Society to display.

OHS staff, Lesley Poling and Lisa Wood, with Miss America 1963, Jackie Mayer, at the Sandusky Library.


To see a selection of photographs from Jackie’s collection at the Historical Society go to our digital library, Ohio Memory, and search for “Miss America.” You will also find photographs of the other Ohioans who have worn the Miss America crown.

L. Wood, Curator for Visual Resources

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