Over a hundred years of history is going to be converted to digital and stored for future generations. Students at Rowan University are preserving the archives of the Miss America Organization so that scholars and enthusiasts can review the history of the pageant.

Shantel Krebs, chair of the board and interim president and CEO of the Miss America Organization, says, “This is New Jersey history. The digitization project will help others learn more about the quintessential competition and its evolution from a 'bather's revue' into a nationally recognized non-profit that offers scholarship assistance and helps thousands of young women from America to improve their communities through service."

Atlantic City’s crown jewel, the Miss America Pageant, was first held in 1921 as an attempt by city business leaders to extend the summer season. It grew over the years, becoming a worldwide institution, and along the way, accumulated thousands of artifacts. While programs, photos and other items are being scanned, other artifacts, such as crowns, trophies, and a Waterford scepter carried by winners, will be photographed. Scores of oil paintings and sketches of winners will be digitized under the guidance of Rowan art historians.

Currently, the massive Miss America collection is in storage in South Jersey. The storage contains a treasure trove of floor-to-ceiling artifacts from the competition. The Miss America Organization will continue to retain the physical artifacts. But the digitization, which began with program books and some oil paintings of former winners, will ensure the artifacts are categorized and documented--and available widely to future scholars. The collection will be the cornerstone of the Rowan Digital Collections hosted by the Rowan Libraries.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

Remembering Caesar the White Tiger at Popcorn Park Zoo

The staff at the Popcorn Park Zoo is mourning the loss of Caesar, it's 20-year-old white tiger who dies at the end of March 2021. He came to the animal refuge in the Forked River section of Lacey Township in 2002 from a Texas sanctuary called Noah's Land with a bad case of ringworm and hardly any hair. He quickly became a strong presence at the zoo until he died in his sleep late in March.