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“Queen of the Crop” York County Potato Queens

1946 contestants, left to right, were: Carol M. Lowe, Stewartstown; Mildred Louis Strawbridge, Bridgeton Margaret Marstellar, Stewartstown RD1; Miss Hershner; Sarah Ann Thompson, New Freedom RD1, and Virginia M. Cramer, Glen Rock RD 1.
1946 contestants, left to right, were: Carol M. Lowe, Stewartstown; Mildred Louis Strawbridge, Bridgeton; Margaret Marstellar, Stewartstown RD1; Nina Hershner, Cross Roads; Sarah Ann Thompson, New Freedom RD1, and Virginia M. Cramer, Glen Rock RD 1.

I have been getting a lot of comments on my recent blog posts and York Sunday News column on the serious business of growing potatoes in York County. There was some glamour involved too, as shown in these two original press photos from the Gazette and Daily, now part of the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives collections.

The short article accompaning the photo above, published in the Gazette on August 17, 1946 reads:

Miss Nina Hershner, Cross Roads, shown fourth from left, was chosen “Potato Queen” of York County at a banquet last evening at the Hotel Yorktowne.

Judging was conducted on these standards: Physical beauty, personality, poise and voice. The contest was open to any county girl who is single and between 16 and 21 years of age and whose parent or parents are growing at least one acre of potatoes.

Judges were: James Duffy, representing the Manufacturers’ Association; W. C. Beitzel, Chamber of Commerce; W. H. Beckner, York Rotary Club; Walter R. Burkley, York Kiwanis Club; Harlow Prindle, York Lions Club and Mrs. I. A. Raubenhold, York Women’s Club.

The honor of selecting the queen to represent the eight other counties of this district was awarded to York County this year and consequently Miss Hershner will compete with winners from nine other districts at the state potato blossom festival Thursday Coudersport, Pa. Miss Hershner’s trip to the festival will be financed by the York County Potato Growers’ Association. Last evening’s banquet was sponsored by the A.B. Farquhar Company.

Miss Hershner is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. I. H. Hershner. She is 19 years old, five feet, five and one half inches in height and weighs 133 pounds. She was graduated from Red Lion High School in the class of 1944 and is a student at York Junior College.

The contest was much the same next year, although the young women came from a larger region, with Jean Shoemaker of Lancaster County being crowned queen. (See caption of photo below for identifications.)

 1947 entrants, left to right: Norma Patterson, Glen Rock RD2; Sarah Ann Thompson, New Freedom; Nancy Forney, Lancaster RD8; Jean Shoemaker, Kirkwood RD1, Lancaster Co.; Ruby Zegor, Greencastle, Franklin Co. and Josephine Gable, Felton.
1947 entrants, left to right: Norma Patterson, Glen Rock RD2; Sarah Ann Thompson, New Freedom; Nancy Forney, Lancaster RD8; Jean Shoemaker, Kirkwood RD1, Lancaster Co.; Ruby Zegor, Greencastle, Franklin Co. and Josephine Gable, Felton.