Lilliputian wedding - Community House - 1940

The Hopedale Community Women’s Club Lilliputian wedding, February 13, 1940.  The “bride” was Helene Draper, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B.H. Bristow Draper, Jr. The “groom” was Robert LaFountain, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert LaFountain. Photos copied from the Hopedale history files at the Bancroft Memorial Library, Hopedale.


                                                      Lilliputian Weddings

I first began wondering what a Lilliputian wedding was when Paul Curran gave us some envelopes of negatives from the Milford News.  One said “Lilliputian wedding, 1949.”  The pictures were of a wedding on the Community House steps.  About a week later, I came across a guest book for a 1940 Lilliputian wedding in a file cabinet at the Bancroft Library.  Below is what I found in it.
                         Hopedale Woman’s Club Entertains
                                   With Lilliputian Wedding

The bridal group of the Lilliputian wedding sponsored by Hopedale Woman’s Club in the Community House in which nearly 50 youngsters, representing personages in Hopedale, took part.  Helene Draper, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. H. Bristow Draper, Jr., was bride, and the groom was portrayed by Robert LaFountain, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert LaFountain. Picture caption, Milford Daily News 

From a guest book, dated February 13, 1940:

Wedding party: Bride – Helene Draper
Groom – Robert LaFountain
Best Man – Daniel Steincipher
Maid of Honor – Priscilla West
Flower Girl – Lynda Kate Sadler
Ring Bearer – Gerald Hazard
Bridesmaids – Barbara Clark, Janet Moon, Rosalind Thayer, 
Ellen Brown, Cynthia Clark, Frances Ammen

Signatures in the guest book:  

Sylvia Stare                          Gladys D. Grant
Doris Bell                              Grace M. Steincipher
Isobel Callahan                     Helen MacLeod
Helen Creamer                     Helen E. Peavey
Betty Mathewson                  Robert Bruce Smethurst
Robert LaFountain               Cynthia L. Clark
Frances Webster                 Dorothy Young
Rosamond Thayer               William T. Coy
Joan Thatcher                      James Peavey
Priscilla Sadler                     Frances Ammen
Danny Steincipher               Janet Lapworth
Beverly Markham                 Garfield Moon
Donald Webster                   Edith Barrows
Robert Noyes                       Jane Bridgham
Harland Scribner                  Nancy Gibson
Richard Draper                    Susan Dewar
Colton Bridges                     Barbara
Harriet Thayer                      Claude Snider
Mary Louise Stare                Gladys Grant
Jean Newhall                        Dorothy Murray
Olive Day Bramhall              Priscilla Scribner
Gladys Sanborn                   Jeanette Andrews
Shirley Webster                   Nancy Calhoun
Barbara Bell                        Judith Ripley
Jane Newell                         Elinor FitzGerald
Carolyn Henderson             Virginia Steeves
Joanne Kearsley                 Beverly Sparhawk
Yvonne Scanlon                  Pauline Shanahan
Richard Callahan                Mrs. Eugene S. Newhall
Shirley Mathewson              Hilda Chegwidden


Below are the signatures from the 1940 guest book.

 The picture below is of Phil Roberts and his cousin, Cynthia. See below the picture to read what he said about it.

Shortly sending out the story of the 1940 Lilliputian wedding by email, I received the following: from my classmate, Phil Roberts:

Dan,    Okay, I confess.  I was illegally married to my cousin, Cynthia, as a  child.  The wedding was endorsed by my parents.  The entire expense was borne by the “Hopedale Woman’s Club.” I think my mother might have been club president at the time. I remember being dressed in a tuxedo and carrying a  cigar (that my dad made by wrapping masking tape around a pencil, and  painting it brown). The question I can’t answer is, “Why?”  I dunno’ if it  was a fundraising venture, or was done just for fun.  My memory ain’t that  good!!!

A few days later, I heard from Phil again. He had looked through old family photos and found one of the “wedding.” Here’s a bit of what he had to say about it.

“I’m wearing a bow tie that’s bigger than my head, a tuxedo with striped lapels, and I’m carrying a top-hat.  I look like a circus barker. The picture’s dated March 12, 1949–it was taken by James S. Peavey!”

In addition to the 1940 wedding, there was another in 1949. That’s the one that Phil was in. It turned out that the guest book contains not only names and pictures from one in 1940, but also names and pictures from the one held in 1949.) They were put on by the Community House Women’s Club.  The names for the 1949 wedding party are:

Bride – Patricia Perry
Groom – Billy Ohlson
Bride’s father – William H. Thayer
Soloist – Donald Seastrom
Bridesmaids – Sally Lawrence, Lorna Smethurst, Patty Draper, Judy Nelson, Glenis Bishop, and Joanne Lemon
Ushers – Russell Goff, Tommy Draper, David Miles, Robert Iacovelli,
Albert Carl Gray and Roger Robbins

Phil said that the picture is dated 1949. For the wedding that year, Phil’s name is on the list of those in attendance, as is his cousin, Cynthia. However, they’re given as follows: “Phillip Roberts, Jiggs, and Cynthia Roberts, Maggie.”  Jiggs and Maggie were cartoon characters at that time, and many of the guests were dressed as cartoon and movie characters. Photos of Jiggs and Maggie can be found online, with Jiggs wearing a top hat, as Phil was in his costume. It may be that after all those years, Phil remembered being in the wedding, but was off a bit on the part that he played.

Below – 1949 Wedding

Front row: Judy Nelson, Patty Draper, Betty Jane Clark, Bernard Fitzgerald, Joan Kinsley and Joanne Lemon. Second row: Allbert Gray, Henry Stenberg, Glennis Bishop, Lorna Smethurst, Judy Scribner, Patty Perry (bride), William Ohlson (groom), Ben Kinsley, Betty Lou Earle, Sally Lawrence, Robert Iacovelli and Robert Knox. Third row: Tommy Draper, David Beard, David Miles, William Thayer, Roger Robbins and Russell Goff.

                                                   Children Present Colorful
                                                  Entertainment In Hopedale  

HOPEDALE – A program, both entertaining and colorful, which showed the natural talent of those taking part to wonderful advantage, was given yesterday afternoon by a cast of children in the Community House before a capacity audience of adults and children. It was the annual children’s day and the actors proved that if permitted to act naturally very little guidance was needed.  

  Mrs. Hamilton W. Thayer was narrator and in her inimitable style gave interesting descriptions of the participants in the Lilliputian wedding and the comic strip characters, as they arrived as guests at the wedding. Using a microphone, Mrs. Thayer introduced the various characters, relating amusing highlights of each. The dignified manner of each participant and the pretty costumes of the wedding party delighted the audience. Miss Hope Lilley played Mendelsshon’s wedding march, before the wedding and also played softly during the “ceremony.” “Vows” were exchanged before a background of tall candelabra, with lighted candles and potted ferns on the platform. Donald Seastrom sang, “Because,” with Miss Lilley as accompanist.  

  The bride, Patricia Perry, wore traditional white satin with long train and veil and her attendants, Judith Scribner, Ann Huff, Sally Lawrence, Joan Kinsley, Glennis Bishop, Lorna Smethurst, Joanne Lemon, Judith Nelson, Patricia Draper and Betty Lou Earl, were attired in pastel colors, creating a lovely picture. William Ohlson was the groom and William Thayer the bride’s father. Bernard Fitzgerald was ring bearer, David Beard, minister, Roger Robbins, Robert Iacovelli, Russell Goff, David Miles, Henry Stenburg, Tommy Draper and Albert Gray were ushers.  

  The dignity of the occasion was shaken somewhat happily by the comic strip characters who appeared in costumes of their own choosing. They did a fine job and enjoyed every minute of it, along with the audience. They were Jimmy Lovejoy, as Kayo; Helga Rothman as Aggie Mack; Judy Draper, Grandma; Joan Harvey, ballet dancer; Patty Skerry, Raggedy Ann; John Hutchinson and David Harvey, Mr. O’Malley and clown; Carol Rose, Priscilla; Anne Sadler, Imogene; June Peel, Aggie Mack; Jack Drisko, Roy Rogers; Janet Cox, Grandma; Frances Fogan, Gravel Gertie; Jackie Hayes, Sluggo; Anita Drisko, Orphan Annie; David Harris and William Beard, Red Rider and Little Beaver; Russell Wade, Joe Palooka; Anne Miller, Pug; Sandra Hattersley, Ella Cinders; Marcia Dee, Aunt Jemema; Barbara Donald, Little Iodine; Priscilla Knight, Clown; Phillip Roberts, Jiggs, and Cynthia Roberts, Maggie.  

  After the wedding the bride and groom cut the large wedding cake, giving a portion to each member of the wedding party. Downstairs, after the program, all the children were treated to Hoodsies and cookies. Tea, nuts and cookies were served to the adults, by Mrs. Julian F. Clark and Mrs. Edward M. Horton, hostesses and committee, which included Mrs. Clifford Moon, Mrs. Albert Condon, Mrs. Freeman Hammond, Mrs. Russell Wade, Mrs. Angelo Ragonese, Mrs. William Ohlson, Mrs. Lawrence Peavey, Mrs. Robert Potter, Mrs. Byron Brown, Mrs. Charles Rockwood, Mrs. Edward Repass, Mrs. Harold Soderberg, Mrs. Merton Tinkham, Mrs. Linwood Workman, Mrs. George Young, Mrs. Edward Damon and Mrs. Frank Tinney. Pourers were Mrs. Paul Grant and Mrs. William Walker. Club hostesses were Mrs. Harold Taft and Mrs. Warren Williams.  

The gymnasium, [The Draper Gym hadn’t been built then; this would have been the Community House room next to the bowling alley.] where the refreshments were served was decorated in keeping with Washington’s birthday, with appropriate centerpieces and small tables set with attractive floral bouquets.  The committee in charge was President Mrs. Howard Smith, Mrs. George Nichols, Mrs. Millard Lovejoy, Mrs. Leonard Lawrence, Mrs. Frank Perry, Mrs. E.F. Lillie, Mrs. William Ohlson, Mrs. Luther Bradbury, Mrs. Napier Scribner, Mrs. Ellsworth Sears and Mrs. Arthur Allen. Milford Daily News, February 23, 1949

Twelve years after her Lilliputian wedding, Helene Draper married again. The big event was held at her parents’ home on Adin Street, with over 2,000 guests in attendance.

Click here to see much more about Helene.

The article above is from Wikipedia. Evidently the term, Lilliputian wedding” originated with the marriage of “Tom Thumb” and Lavinia Warren.