I am deeply grateful to Rose for what she did next! With lightning speed, she rounded up nearly forty photos of her beautiful grandmother, scanned them and emailed them to me. She also provided biographical information, documents and news clippings that allow us a fascinating glimpse into the world of calendar and advertising art in the 1920's. (See accompanying slideshow.)
Beulah Clark Dunn (1903-1996) won the Chicago Herald and Examiner's Sweetheart of Chicago contest in 1920. This led to a string of public appearances, including the glamorous opening of the Chicago Theatre and a cover portrait on sheet music for “A Body Just Can't Help But Loving You,” composed by Will Reider. News clippings from both the Herald and Examiner and The Chicago Tribune during the 1920-1922 time frame reveal she competed successfully in several of the city's major beauty contests, which were all the rage at the time. In the meantime, her modeling career had taken off and she was seen in everything from millinery and cold cream ads to the art prints and photographs produced by Tonnesen and others for the booming calendar market.
In 1922, Beulah married Phillip J. Dunn, owner of Chicago's Dunn Coal Company. They had two daughters, Marie (Rose's mother) and Beulah Mae. Beulah Clark Dunn continued to model after her marriage, sometimes with her daughters. Marie, born in 1924, also modeled for fashion ads in the 1940's.
Images of Beulah Clark Dunn are (L to R): Photo by Tonnesen, circa 1922, from which R. A. Fox painted “The Glory of Youth” (To view Fox’s painting, see image #3 in the slideshow below this one); an early calendar photo by an unidentified photographer; back of photo inscribed to Beulah by Beatrice Tonnesen and dated 1920; art print titled “Love’s Dawning” copyright Osborne Co. by an unidentified photographer; a photo illustration of Beulah and an unidentified child, signed MaiDai George, Lux Studio; photo for a hat ad (photographer unknown); front of 1920 photo inscribed by Tonnesen.
(C) 2010 Lois Emerson