In March 1933, Miss Evangeline Burton Glidewell from the Old West End (OWE) was chosen the most beautiful of Danville girls at a beauty contest sponsored by the Junior Wednesday Club. The contest was held at the old Capitol Theater. Miss Glidewell was presented with a silver loving cup and the opportunity to enter the state beauty contest.
“Van” Glidewell was the daughter of Edmund T. and Arlin Burton Glidewell of 912 Green Street, just turned 18 and a senior at George Washington High School, then on Holbrook Avenue. In addition to her beauty, she was also known as a talented songstress, singing regularly on Danville’s WBTM radio when it began operation.
Evangeline did enter the state-wide contest and was crowned Miss Virginia by Lieutenant Governor James H. Price on August 31, 1933 at the Byrd Theater in Richmond. On September 2, “The Bee” reported she was awaiting instructions to travel to Atlantic City to vie for the title of Miss America. With her mother in attendance, our OWE Miss Virginia was declared third runner-up.
While her success in Atlantic City brought many offers including a screen test at RKO Studios, Evangeline Glidewell turned them all down. She returned to the OWE with her mother and finished her senior year in high school. She continued to compete in local beauty contests, and retained her title of Miss Danville in 1934.
In May 1936, Evangeline married James Hurdle Newman at her parents’ home. By 1938, she was working for the local department store, L. Herman (later Thalhimers) as a beauty consultant. The Newmans took up residence at 432 Chestnut Street in the OWE where their only child, Evangeline “Little Van” Newman, was born.
In a 1954 interview, Evangeline recalled her days in Atlantic City packed with dinners, the theater, photography, and balls. But she also expressed her happiness in returning to the OWE and being a mother and career woman saying, “I might have made more money but I couldn’t have been any happier.”
Evangeline passed in 1997 and rests with her husband and his family in the city’s Mountain View Cemetery.