Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blondes To Replace Brunettes as Most Beautiful Southern Women? 1906

“The President Called Her the Most Beautiful Woman He Saw in the South,” from The Semi-Weekly Messenger, Wilmington, published January 9, 1906

When President Roosevelt was in Atlanta on his recent Southern tour he shattered the traditional standard upon which the most beautiful women of the south have been gauged. The tall, slender, vivacious, pink rose girl with big hazel eyes and an abundance of soft brown hair, who was undisputed queen, has been dethroned. The petite blonde of the lily of the valley type with eyes of finest blue and a crown of buff gold hair has taken her place.

At the reception given to Mr. Roosevelt in Atlanta, Miss Selma Adelaide Allen was one of the hundreds of lady guests who in line awaited their opportunity to be presented to the President. After shaking hands with a large number he was interrupted by Secretary Loeb, who told him he was exceeding his time limit.

“Oh, very well,” said the President, “but I can’t go until I have been presented to that young lady over there,” pointing to the graceful shrinking figure of Miss Allen. She was told of the President’s wish and was led blushing and smiling to where he stood and was presented to him.

“I am honored,” said Mr. Roosevelt, while holding her hand, as is a custom with those who particularly attract him,” to meet the most beautiful woman I have seen in the south.”

It was a moment of supreme happiness, as well as embarrassment, to the young lady, who managed to say, quite modestly, “Oh, I thank you, Mr. President, but I am afraid our southern hospitality has blinded you somewhat to our defects.”

The band struck up “The Prettiest Girl in Georgia.” Men and women gathered congratulating the recipient of the President’s favor, and quicker than it can be told a new standard had been set for the most beautiful southern woman. Miss Allen is a remarkable woman, one of the fairest flowers of Atlanta’s rose-bud garden of girls. Her blue eyes, under dark lashes, complexion of blended roses and gardenia, well poised head, crowned in vivid gold, presents what De Vela would term “a glorious color scheme. We have the Gibson girl, with variations; now the south has the Roosevelt girl.

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