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The prettiest girl in Phoenix Union High School in 1927


One of my PhDs (Phoenix History Detectives) lent me some interesting old books a few days ago, and one of my favorites to look through is the 1927 yearbook for Phoenix Union High School.

I scanned in a few things, including 1927 Beauty Queen Millie Bruce, pictured at the top of this post. I shared the photo on my Phoenix Historical Images page, and she got plenty of likes. She was also described as a "beauty" (of course!) and a "hottie".

And now I'm thinking about slang terms for pretty girls. Speaking for myself, in High School in the 1970s, the greatest compliment that we could give a pretty girl would have been to call her a "fox". In the 1920s she would have been "the bee's knees" or the "cat's meow". You might have said that she had "it", which meant that she had sex appeal.

If you called her a "Home Girl" or a "chick" she would have had no idea what you were talking about. You could have called her a babe, of course, but you might have gotten your face slapped.

Her hair, by the way, was short in a manner that was called "bobbed". Short hair for women became popular in the 1920s, and the term "bob" came from how horse's tails were shortened, and it was initially meant as derogatory, but soon the term caught on, and bobbed hair became all the rage.

The 1920s were a very important era for women, and it became acceptable for the first time for them to smoke, to show their legs (not just their ankles) in public. Women got the vote in 1920, with an amendment to the United States constitution. This was the era of thoroughly modern women, and the 1927 Phoenix Union High School beauty queen was a thoroughly modern Millie!

She's the bee's knees, wouldn't you say?

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