Little Miss Sunbeam

December 3, 2007

Little Miss SunbeamHere’s one of America’s favorite brand images, Little Miss Sunbeam. Sunbeam White Bread was first marketed in Philadelphia, PA in 1942, and began to be baked all over the U.S. after the end of World War II. The billboard (LARGE VERSION) just went up this week in Urbana, IL in anticipation of Christmas. The art looks amazingly reminiscent of the 40s, and may be an exact replica of an actual billboard from those days. Ellen Segner originated the image of Little Miss Sunbeam, and according to the Web site of home company Quality Bakers of America, the artist produced more than 30 paintings of her for corporate advertising. Although not explicitly denominational, the theme is definitely Christian, with its large, bright star in the sky connoting the birth of Jesus. The text couldn’t be any more appropriate for a bread company.



  1. I kind of like their message. You know they are saying…get your bread from us. Our bread is good but it’s not all you need.

    • No they are quoting Matthew 4:4 Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”

  2. Could you email me this photo? I have been looking for a photo of this particular billboard for many years. They use to put this particular billboard up in my area every Christmas season until they stopped selling Sunbeam Bread in my area. If you could email me this photo, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  3. Quality Bakers did some great advertising,with the help of artist Ellen Segner.
    Sarchet Country Store Museum is a old country store museum in Buford,GA.
    There is a whole section of advertising devoted to Sunbeam Bread.
    Definitely worth a visit,especially if you are near Atlanta,GA.
    Joe Sarchet

  4. Dear Sunbeam Bread,

    I was told by my Youth Pastor Jerry Elder that his sister was “Little Miss Sunbeam”. We thought he was joking. When he showed us the pictures, we were amazed! She looked exactly like “Little Miss Sunbeam”. She was on a float in Alberquerque, New Mexico. I always thought he meant that she was the original model. But now, I’m not sure! I wonder if she looked so much like her that she won the contest to represent “Little Miss Sunbeam”! I don’t know!
    Stan Leverett

    • I believe there were contests in various areas. I just came across the picture of me that my Mom submitted when I was 7 years old; I am now 65! Unfortunately, I don’t believe all the contests were on the up & up, as the winner in our area was the niece of one of the bigwigs; she didn’t even remotely resemble Little Miss Sunbeam; I was told she had straight red hair and freckles!

  5. Hi Stan,

    I think that various parts of the country had their own “Little Miss Sunbeam” contests. I remember one in the Champaign-Urbana, IL area. The girl, who became “our” Little Miss Sunbeam is a nurse in a nursing home these days…still with the blonde hair and radiant personality.

    Susie (Godvertising)

    • They must have had that contest multiple times in Champaign-Urbana because i won that when i was little. Now i am 17.

  6. Here’s more that might interest you:

    Patty Michaels is Little Miss Sunbeam in the New York area: http://www.spectropop.com/PattyMichaels/index.htm

    Ellen Segner, artist/designer of Little Miss Sunbeam:

    Blog called “Not By Bread Alone”

    The Flowers Baking Co., which was a part of the Quality Bakers Cooperative of bakeries, conducted “Miss Batterwhip” contests across its entire marketing territory to promote batter-whipped Sunbeam bread.

  7. Is this the company that had the commercial “Look ma-no holes”?

  8. Does anyone else have a little miss sunbeam ring?

    • I was little miss sunbeam from bainbridge , ga. I didn’t get a ring?! Can I get one now!?lol

  9. Can you take another photo of this billboard if it appears in your area again this Christmas season? If you could get a close-up of this billboard, it would be great for a screensaver on the computer. This is one of my favorite billboards of all time. Thanks.

  10. Hello!
    I was looking up old time candy bars for a project that I am working on, when I suddenly thought, “I wonder if they have a website for Sunbeam bread?” I was “Little Miss Sunbeam” in San Francisco, California, back in the early 1950’s. At that time I didn’t know that there were other Little Miss Sunbeams in other parts of the United States. I have numerous proofs in black and white and have often wondered what ever happened to Sunbeam bread. I recall going to a studio to be photographed many many times, biting into a slice of bread, and also posing saying my prayers. This was perhaps around 1951, to 1954. I wish I knew better the dates and all. My mother died very suddenly in 1959, and in 1966 I entered a convent to become a Catholic Sister. I left the order in 1986, and have been busy teaching school ever since. I really didn’t know until now that there were many other Little Miss Sunbeams, other than myself. Thank you for posting information on this toic. I would very much like to know where I might find out more about this as well as where I might be able to purchase some old time advertisement.
    Kathleen Shanahan

    • Kathleen, would you be able to provide me with scans of your proofs? I would love to add them to the site.

  11. I think it is great that Sunbeam has not let society stop it from publishing something that represents God. They are a great company!!!!

  12. I was reading your blogs, and Susie you were right. They did have their own little miss Sunbeam girls in each area. I remember when I was very young going down on Elm street in Manchester, NH., and smelling the fresh baked bread coming from the bakery, and I remember the huge sign above the building, showing the lil miss Sunbeam bread girl. Not until my mother JEANNE JOHNSON- MASSON , passed away, did my Grandmother send me the photograph of my mother which looked so familiar to me. I called my Grandmother and she told me that my mom had won the contest they had had, and was lil miss sunbeam in NH so many years ago. I have that photo, and I cherish it.
    Cindy Masson-Long.


    • I am responding for my girlfriend who now lives in CA. She cannot reach this site at work (due to a firewall) but was interested in contacting others who participated in the contest. Alltho she was a little girl, she remembers her mother sent in her photo. She did not win but would like to get in touch with others that also entered.
      Thanks for your time.

  14. OK!!! I was Lil’ Miss Sunbeam in NOLA in the early 1950’s. i have pictures i will share. My Pop was in advertising & i was also in other ads. I have very vivid memories of eating bread on the floor of the bakery and giving away bread slices with jelly at the A&P’s. I remember the dress too. I got to wear it to parties!
    I am very happy to see the Christmas billboard. I’ve been given a couple reproductions of this ad on a 10×14 tin. Little Rock had a billboard with Lil Miss on a swing. Fun!

    HI! to all the other Miss Sunbeam’s
    I can email pics if you let me know how.

    • I think we need a little miss sunbeam reunion! Wouldn’t that be great to get us all together – I think that would be a good advertisement also!

  15. Hi. I was very supprised to hear that there were many “Miss Sunbeam” girls. I was a “Miss Sunbeam” also. I lived in Lansing, Mi. about 1949-50 and they did a picture of me also. All these years I thought I was the only one.
    It has been a blessing to see “Miss Sunbeam” smiling from the store shelves all these years and to know she was me! Now I find out I had many twins!!!

    My Name was Rose Hoffmeyer. I now live in South Bend, In.

    God bless all of the “Miss Sunbeam” out there.
    Is anyont thinking about a gathering to meet each other? A central place like Chicago maybe?

    Keep in touch,
    Rose Hirsch

    • I wish we could – it would be so interesting!

    • That would be a fun reunion…Little Miss Sunbeam, the first generation! All the Beamers from the early ’50s. We’d have to include the runners-ups as well.

      I love it!
      Anyone have pictures from East Aurora, NY competition?

  16. Hey!
    My mom was a Sunbeam girl in PA. She doesn’t have a picture of it and I was hoping that one of you may still have a picture from PA. Thanks!

  17. How can I get information about Little Miss Sunbeam contest Held in Jacksonville, Florida in Late 1950’s or early 1960’s. My cousin Jan Sliegh was a contestant. Does anyone know who won contest. If anyone knows how to get a list of contestants and/or photos I would appreciate this information. Thanks

    • I’d like the same information about one in the bay area of California. It had to be in the 50’s, as I was born in 1949. I was a contestant in that one and still have a picture from it. I would also like information about the girl in the picture. Where is she now?

  18. I actually was the winner of the Miss Sunbean contest in San Francisco. I am guessing in 1954.. The contest was held at the Curran Theater. It was like it was yesterday.

  19. I was in a contest in Lead, South Dakota in the Late 1950’s for the Miss Sunbeam Contest. I did not win. However, the phonotgraher has long since passed and My mother and I have moved over 50 times and my only picture of me as Miss sunbeam was lost. Is there anyway I could get a copy of that picture? My name was Gail Bixby.

  20. My daughter was driving and saw the “Not By Bread Alone” sent picture in text to everyone….We want to see more of the good…Thank you Sunbeam Bakers – keep your light shinning- E.Dietrich – Michigan

  21. […] messages be sponsored by national companies? Here I found a pic of it on the internet From this blog titled 'godvertising' __________________ To view links or images in signatures your post […]

  22. If you’re ever in Nashville, our Sunbeam plant is now the Lane Motor Museum. I has a very nice area with Sunbeam memorabilia & information. http://www.lanemotormuseum.org/visit-lane-motor-museum

  23. MATTHEW 4
    1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness
    to be tempted of the devil.

    2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights,
    he was afterward an hungred.

    3 And when the tempter came to him, he said,
    If thou be the Son of God,
    command that these stones be made bread.

    4 But he answered and said, It is written,
    but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

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