Museum logo
Museum logo

Photo Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number WF 1401
Caption Mass Wedding participants - Courthouse
Description The 1938 Marineers' Pageant included a Mass Wedding at Causland Park which united seven couples. It was spearheaded by Paul Luvera and generated a great deal of publicity for the Marineers' Pageant. According to Wallie Funk, it "made the front page of many Washington newspapers because of the controversy it aroused." Luvera's inspiration for the mass wedding may have come from the 1912 wedding of Howell Morrison and Naidene Lanterman, held as a publicity stunt for Anacortes' July 4th celebration on the waterfront before a huge crowd. See WF 0280. But ;the event proposed for the 1938 Marineers' Pageant proved a different story. It upset the town's "Ministerial association" who felt the event was "undignified." In their view, any minister who participated would be "prostituting the profession." Anacortes ministers refused to perform the ceremonies and the name of the minister who finally performed the event, Rev. William Goodrow of Lopez Island, was kept secret until the last minute. It is interesting to note that of the fourteen people united in marriage that day, only three were from Anacortes.

Anacortes merchants contributed goods from wedding rings, to household items, to the cost of the wedding license at the Skagit Country Courthouse. Although Brady's photos only feature six couples, seven were actually wed that day; Ruth Fleming and Ervin W. Spencer were "added as a surprise as they requested at the last minute." Phyllis Luvera Ennes recalled that many years later one of the couples came back to Anacortes and visited the Luveras, to show them they were still together. The identification of these photos is based on Paul Luvera's Marineers' Pageant Scrapbook, as no copies of the ANACORTES AMERICAN exist for 1938 in the museum. The average age of the wedding participants was 22, and they were married in the following order:

Nelson, Enga and Klaes, Howard Both from Anacortes
Sell, Frances and Richie, Theo Anacortes, Port Stanley
Griffiths, Violet and Dahl, Soren Both from Seattle
Kitchens, Arlene and Sanford, Les Boise, Idaho and Bremerton, WA
Flemming, Ruth and Spencer, Ervin Cincinnati, OH and Port Angeles, WA
Mangelson, Bette and Sellers, Don Both from Ellensburg, WA
Armstrong, Wilma and Hunter, Harry Both from Blaine, WA

This image was taken at the Skagit County Courthouse in Mt. Vernon of the couples holding their wedding licenses. The man on far left is Edgar Schwartz, Secretary of the Marineers' Pageant. At far right is Paul Luvera, President of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce. Couples, L-R: Soren Dahl, Violet Griffiths, Theo Richey, Frances Sell, Don Sellers, Bette Mangelson, Les Sanford, Arlene Kitchens, Harry Hunter, Wilma Armstrong, Howard Klaes, Enga Nelson.
Date 1938
Photographer from the BRADY, Ferd collection
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Event - Marineer Pageant
Event - Mass Wedding
Place - Anacortes, WA
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
People ARMSTRONG, Wilma
DAHL, Soren
KLAES, Howard
SANFORD, Leslie Jr.
SCHWARTZ, Edgar M. "Ed"
SELL, Frances
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms Marineers' Pageant
Mass Wedding
Causland Park
Ministerial association
Lopez Island
Marineers' Pageant Scrapbook
Skagit County Courthouse
marriage license
Object Name Negative