A Baby Contest/ Precious Memories of Yesteryear (1931)


Baby Contest- 1931[All students listed not shown in photo above nor listed in order]

Louise Graver (Catherine De Windt)… Gloria Spriggins (Vivian Lawrence) Jacqueline Verrett (Margaret Verrett)… Geddes Jones (Isabelle Carter)…Irvin Carter (Sarah Jarvis)… Laura Frey (Alzena Frey)… Dorothy De Lavallade (Josephine De Lavallade)… Estelle Costello (Estelle Julien)… Clydie Marchand (Estelle Julien)… George Lee Rieras (Mrs. G. Rieras)…Athanase Conrad (Louis Verrett)… Joseph Boyer (Edwina Boyer)… Howard Waxwood (Mrs. Susie Waxwood)… Roy Cooper (Esther Cooper)… Jacqueline Matthews (Mrs. C. Matthews)…Evelyn Chase (Ethel Boyd)…Lois Brown (Josenia Frank)… Josephine Leon (Lena Leon)…Rhealise Radcliffe (Aurelia LeBlanc)… Almena Williams (Mabel Florent)… Muriel Johnson (Reginald Green)… Crawford Forte (Elizabeth Moody)… Alvin Fernandez (Genevieve Fernandez)… Geneva Bowles (Mrs. M. H. Bowles)… Gloria Larvinette (Evelyn Edgerson)…Alva Barjon (Henry Barjon)…Cornelius Brown (Lenora Thomas)…Felicie Charbonnet (Mr. George H. Carpenter)

Pictured above are fifteen of the twenty-eight contestants named above who entered the Roneagle Baby Contest of 1931. Next to each contestant’s name (in parenthesis) is the name of his or her sponsor. The event began April 22, 1931 and closed on May 4th of that same year.  When the closing day came, the contestants and their sponsors assembled in Miss Fobb’s room at McDonogh #35 High School where the votes were counted, after which the following results were announced:

1st Place:  Louise Graver, who was sponsored by Catherine De Windt, received the most votes and was given the title Our Baby.

Baby Contest-1931 (#2)

Miss Jacqueline Verrett  (3rd place winner)

2nd Place:  Gloria Spriggins gave Louise quite a fight and won second place and the title of A Future Leader at McDonogh Thirty- Five. She was sponsored by Vivian Lawrence.

3rd Place:  Jacqueline Verrett, sponsored by Margaret Verrett, won third place and the title A Popular Baby.  

Baby Contest- 1931 (#3)

Miss Gloria Spriggins (2nd place winner)

Baby contests became popular in the last decade of the 19th century. They were held in white communities all across America, especially following the Gerber Baby Contest of 1928. The NAACP through its journal, The Crisis, began printing hundreds of photographs of babies of color throughout the 1920s in order to show the world how beautiful these babies were as well. They put babies on their covers, babies in cute outfits, babies undressed tastefully and positioned on rugs, etc. By 1924, NAACP branches in 15 states raised over $19,000 from such events and by the next year a National Baby Contest took place which pitted city against city. Soon these contests were held in schools and various other organizations to serve as fundraising activities.

 Sources: The Roneagle Yearbook, 1931 (McDonogh #35 High School), personal copy; Stylin’: African-American Expressive Culture from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit by: Shane White & Graham J. White p. 195

Lolita V. Cherrie

5 thoughts on “A Baby Contest/ Precious Memories of Yesteryear (1931)

  1. My mother, Catherine DeWindt, was the sponsor of the winner of the 1931 McDonogh 35 Roneagle Baby Contest.

  2. The little boy sitting on the floor to the left with what looks like his finger in his mouth is my brother Geddes Alvin Jones. What is really amazing is that my grandson Sterling, my youngest daughter Nina’s son, looks exactly like Geddes when he was a year old. He’s 4 now but still looks like my brother did at that age.

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