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Catalog Number WF 1409
Caption Mass Wedding - first anniversary 1939
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 photo was taken at the 1939 Marineers' Pageant when five couples who had been married at the 1938 Mass Wedding returned to celebrate their one-year anniversary. Note the cake with one large candle. Couples were, L-R: Theo and Frances Sell Richey, Harry and Wilma Armstrong Hunter, Don and Bette Mangelson Sellers, Howard and Enga Nelson Klaes, Soren and Violet Griffiths Dahl. See also WF 1410.
Date 1939
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 DAHL, Soren
KLAES, Howard
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms Marineers' Pageant
Mass Wedding
Causland Park
Ministerial association
Lopez Island
Marineers' Pageant Scrapbook
Object Name Negative