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Moments of Glory - Part 2

Portrait of Debbie  Bryant, Miss America, 1966.

Everybody Loves a Winner

Our society places great emphasis on competition.

Sports stars' names become household words. Phrases that we use everyday refer to winning and losing. Contests exist for nearly every conceivable skill, from baking to face-making.

Prizes are predictable types, awarded in very public ways, accompanied by audiences, media, formal presentation ceremonies, and celebrations. Memories of competitive events are made permanent by special types of objects that often are prominently displayed by their recipients.

A wide variety of other keepsakes are indicative of competitive success, including special clothing, media images, press coverage, and portraits.

Wes  Santee's patch from the Helsinki Olympics.Achievers are often documented in portraits. This portrait (top, right) depicts Debbie Bryant of Overland Park, who won the Miss America title in 1966.

Wes Santee of Ashland was a sophomore at the University of Kansas and one of the world's premiere milers when he ran the 5,000 meter race in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Although he did not win the medal, he garnered a significant amount of publicity.

Here's an image of Santee's Olympic patch (center, left).

Jess Willard, 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 235 pounds, was the largest man in professional boxing at the time of his debut in 1911. He was World Heavyweight Champion from April 1915 to July 1919, taking the title away from Jack Johnson in a 26-round fight in Havana, Cuba. Willard was born in Pottawatomie County in 1884. He was known as "The Kansas Giant." View Willard's boxing gloves and shorts.

Nora Fee's  Pow Wow Princess sash.

Special clothing immediately indicate certain types of achievement. Crowns and sashes convey images of royalty and pageantry.

Debbie Bryant's Miss America crown.

The regalia of pageantry exists in many forms across various cultures. A crown (bottom right) and sash (bottom, left) have become keepsakes of Miss America Debbie Bryant and Shawnee County Allied Tribes Pow Wow Princess Nora Fee, respectively.


Moments of Glory is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. Introduction
  2. Competition: Everybody Loves a Winner
  3. People Outstanding in Their Fields
  4. Social Approval: The Good, the Bad, and the Role Models
  5. Personal Milestones
  6. Brushes With Greatness
  7. Creativity: Following the Muse
  8. Collections

Contact us at kshs.kansasmuseum@ks.gov