Mendocino Man Weds Former Miss America

Five ladies in a flower-decorated car at a local parade, possibly in Fort Bragg, c. 1925. The women are identified as Elva Erickson, Fort Bragg; Dorothy Dutton; Delas Wilson, Greenwood; Grace Mattos, Mendocino; and Fay Lanphier. Fay was the first Miss California to become Miss America, winning both titles in 1925. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

June 30, 1931 – Winfield Daniels and former Miss America, Fay Lanphier, were married in Reno, Nevada. The marriage was kept secret from all but a few close friends and family until the end of July.

They had met when they were children attending the Mendocino Grammar School together. He was born and raised in Mendocino, and she spent her early childhood there.

Winfield graduated from Mendocino High School in 1924 and had just recently received his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California.

Fay was chosen Miss California in 1925 and became the first Miss California to be crowned Miss America later that year. She was the first Miss America winner to star in a feature film, The American Venus (1926). In 1928, she married Sidney Spiegel, the son of Joseph Spiegel who founded the Spiegel catalog. That marriage ended in divorce after only 6 months.

After their marriage, Winfield and Fay lived in Orinda and had two daughters. Fay passed away at the age of 53 in 1959.

If you’d like to learn more about Mendocino history for a small fee to support the Kelley House, contact the Research Office at curator@kelleyhousemuseum.org