June/july 1981 | Volume 32, Issue 4
Golf wasn’t the only thing to suffer miniaturization during the fadhaunted twenties: for a little while “Tom Thumb Weddings” flourished. Spectacles of relentless cuteness, they involved dressing small children in formal attire and running them through mock nuptials.
These affairs tended to give more pleasure to the spectators than to the participants; the members of the lavish 1928 affair below are responding to the fun with expressions ranging from confusion to horror. The picture was sent us by Mrs. Stephen M. Chalmers of Phoenix, Arizona, who is the woebegone member of the wedding, second from left.
The quartet at right includes Robert B. Walls, who writes that the wedding “was engineered by a lady representative of some entrepreneur who came to our small town, Washburn, North Dakota, with all the necessary paraphernalia. I’m sure this must have been some type of promotional scheme to make a profit for someone, so there was probably a public presentation involved, but this I don’t recall.
“The little doll who stood as bridesmaid was, if memory serves, Dorothy Mangan. The winsome bride was Opal Whitlock. The round-faced, stolid groom, Lloyd Williams, was, at the time of his demise a few years ago, a professor at Concordia College of Moorhead, Minnesota. His best man, with the apprehensive expression, is the writer of this note, now emeritus professor of music, Oregon State University. (I am unaware of the eventual destiny of the little girls.)
“When this photo was made, we two boys were five years old and our charming consorts were three-to-fourish. My recollections of the event are very hazy, but I do recall feeling terribly put upon that Lloyd and I were not also given a bouquet of flowers to hold!”