10th Scripps National Spelling Bee

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10th National Spelling Bee
Date May 29, 1934
Location National Museum in Washington, D.C.
Winner Sarah Wilson
Age 12
Residence Maine
Sponsor Portland Evening Express
Sponsor location Portland, Maine
Winning word brethren
No. of contestants 19[1]
Pronouncer Charles E. Hill and H.E. Warner[2]
Preceded by 9th Scripps National Spelling Bee
Followed by 11th Scripps National Spelling Bee

The 10th National Spelling Bee was held at the National Museum in Washington, D.C. on May 29, 1934. Scripps-Howard would not sponsor the Bee until 1941.

The winner was 12-year-old Sarah Wilson of Gray, Maine,[3] sponsored by the Portland Evening Express, correctly spelling the word brethren. She had also competed in the finals the prior year. James Wilson, age 13, of Canton, Illinois placed second after misspelling deteriorating, followed by Helen Sullivan, age 13, of Connecticut.[4][5]

The prizes for the top three were $500, $300, and $100. The bee was broadcast on the radio, and when Sarah was asked if she had a message for her father, she responded on air "You remember Daddy, you promised me another $500 if I won first place!" But she did say she wanted to use the money for college.[5][6]

Wilson (later married surname Garrett), graduated from Pennell Institute in her Maine hometown in 1938, the University of Vermont in 1941, and Yale Law School in 1944. She worked in Washington, D.C. as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service for 41 years, retiring in 1986. She died in Maine in 1998.[7][8][9] As of 2017, she has been the only National Spelling Bee winner from Maine.[10]


  1. ^ Maine Girl Wins as Nation's Best Speller, Southeast Missourian (Associated Press)
  2. ^ (28 May 1934). Spelling, Courier-News ("Officers of the bee include: Chairman, Dean George B. Woods, American University; secretary, T. D. Martin of the National Education Association; director, Donald McWain of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.; pronouncers. Dean C. E. Hill of George Washington University and Dr. H. E. Warner, principal of Hine Junior High School. Judges will be Senator David I. Walsh of Massachusetts, Belmont Farley of the National Education Association and the Rev. James S. Montgomery, chaplain of the House of Representatives. The national champion speller will receive $500. Other prizes are second, $300; third, $100; fourth to seventh, $75 each, and eighth to nineteenth, $50 each.")
  3. ^ Garrett, Sarah A. [Wilson (1921-1998)], Town of Gray Maine website, Retrieved 2 July 2015
  4. ^ (3 July 1999). Maine speller advances in national competition, Bangor Daily News
  5. ^ a b (8 June 1934). 12-Year-Old Girl Wins $1,000, Nunda News (Nunda, New York)
  6. ^ Maguire, James. American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds, p. 71 (2006)
  7. ^ Town of Gray, Maine - History, graymaine.org, Retrieved 26 January 2018
  8. ^ Sarah Wilson Garett (obituary), Maine Obituaries, Retrieved 26 January 2018
  9. ^ (6 June 1998). Obituaries, Washington Post
  10. ^ (31 May 2001). Speller, Bangor Daily News ("The last Mainer to win the national spelling bee was in 1934 when Sarah Wilson represented the Portland Evening Express.")