Confirmation Classes - Confirmation Fashions, Elk Horn Lutheran Church over 50 years

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Confirmation Classes - Confirmation Fashions, Elk Horn Lutheran Church over 50 years.

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Confirmation: Coming of Age in Denmark and the US


A century or so ago boys wore suits and ties while the girls’ clothing shows a mixture of serviceable, dark-colored “Sunday best” and the more modern fashion of white dresses, all high-necked with puff sleeves, with added corsages. Many of the young women are also wearing the fashionable pompadour hair-style popular at the turn of the century, while many of the young men sport center parts in their slicked-down hair.


Christian Carl Larsen, Andreas N. Christensen, Lars Larsen, Niels Viggo Andersen, Alfred Martinus Christensen, Mads Kristian Lange, Christian Frederik Moller, Arnold Peter Larsen, Peter Rottenborg, Anton Andersen, Christian Andersen Stub, Charley Francis Sorensen, Eskild Christensen Gregersen, Niels Peter Olsen, Niels Carl Hansen, Peter Andreas Petersen, Viggo Poulsen, Otto Petersen, Dorthea Christensen, Susie Katrine Andersen, Martha Olsen, Anna Larsen, Elle Andersen, Ebba Camile Johansen, Anna Krestine Jensen, Meta Marie Gregersen, Hanna Jensen, Klara Esbeck, Lilly Eleanora Krestine Jensen.


In this undated and unidentified photograph from the 1920s one sees that in the intervening decades men’s dress barely changed, although a few side ‘buzz cuts’ can be noticed among the more usual hair-styles and one brave young man is sporting a bow tie. Meanwhile, there have been vast changes in women’s fashions – shorter skirt and sleeve lengths, unfitted lines with rounded necklines and, of course, bobbed and curled hair can all be seen. All the confirmands now wear corsages. Note that the pastor is wearing the traditional ruff still worn by Danish ministers today.


Confirmands posing in front of the altar in the old church. Once again, men’s fashions have changed very little, while the young women are seen in current mid-30s fashions with longer, bias-cut, flowing skirts, draped sleeves and much bodice detail.


(front row) Norman Nelson, Selma Jensen Mathisen, Lavonne Soe Jepson, Elsie Rosenberg, Edna Hansen, Lucille Jensen, Naomi Petersen Roy, Glenda Jensen Andersen, Edna Nelson Ackerman, Helen Hansen Carlson, Margaret Sorensen, Gerald Skow; (back row) Glenn Carlson, Jethro Petersen, Emery Mikkelsen, Silas Petersen, Chris B. Petersen, Earl Weddum, Raymond Petersen, Glenn Juelsgaard, Roger Nelson, Clayton Paulsen, Jay Christensen, Herbert Hansen, Melvin Eskov, Harvey Hansen, Arnold K. Petersen, Pastor Anders Hansen, Arnold Petersen, Leland Hansen, Leroy Larsen, Leslie Pedersen.


The US had entered WWII and various kinds of rationing, including of textiles, were in effect to support the war effort. This can be seen in the girls’ dresses having shorter skirt lengths and sleeves to save on fabric. Hairstyles, on the other hand, were beginning to be longer.

Confirmands 1942

(front row) Norma Nelson, Joyce Nelson, Anna Mae Overgaard, LaVonne Juelsgaard, Darlene Hansen, Dorothy Jespersen, Katherine Nelson; (back row) Avery Boose, Donald Jespersen, Raymond Durgo, Glenn Hansen, Franklin Petersen; Rev. Anders Hansen.

Confirmands 1943

Lela Maye Andersen, Elaine Leistad, Gail Nelson, Ella Bertelsen, Verdelle Jensen, Wanda Lange, Lenore Lange, Kirk Hansen; Ruth Jessen, Janet Jacobsen, Doris Jacobsen, James Carlsen, Darrel Hansen, Rosemarie Hansen, Shirley Mathesen, Janice Juel, Robert James, Philip Petersen, Ted Lange, Burt Esbeck, Ivan Hansen, Doreen Petersen; Rev. Anders Hansen.


At war’s end rationing gradually ended and textiles became more readily available. The post-war ‘New Look’ is not yet visible in Elk Horn confirmation fashions, although a few young men are trying the more relaxed tie-less look popularized by Frank Sinatra and other cinema stars. Girls’ hairstyles are overwhelmingly curly.

Confirmands 1946

(front row) Evelyn Bertelsen, Joyce Mortensen; (2nd row) Clark Jensen, Donna Andersen, Priscilla Jacobsen, Ray Esbeck, Rev. Anders Hansen; (3rd row) Rodney Sornson, Anna Mae Jensen, Rosa Mae Jensen, Joan Jessen, Miriam May Farley, Esther Winther, Milton Petersen; (back row) Leon Mardesen, Cy Petersen.

Confirmands 1948

(front row) Leila Mae Mathisen, Elaine Petersen; (middle row) Nadine Nelson, Emmert Nelson, Joe Hansen, Mary Jacobsen, Rev. Anders Hansen; (back row) Howard Sorensen, John L. Jacobsen, Marvin Lange, Philip Andersen, Charles Andersen, Vernon Andersen, Russell Jespersen.


This year saw the arrival of a new minister and the adoption of the ‘choir’-style robe worn over confirmands’ clothing that is still traditional communion garb today. The reason behind this change is unknown, but it became the fashion in Lutheran churches throughout the US.

Confirmands 1949

(front row) Robert Torney, Lois Granteer, Charlene Mathiesen, Helen Dirgo, Robert Andersen; (back row) Raynor Hemmingsen, Lynn Andersen, Lydell Christensen, LuVerne Esbeck; Pastor Clarence Jensen.


Despite the robes, confirmation was still a ‘dress up’ occasion. In these two classes we can see the fashionable ballet flats of that era, and the predominance of short curly hairstyles with bangs on the young women. Over a half century, young men’s fashions changed very little.

And throughout a half century, while the given names of confirmands became American, the backgrounds of these confirmands remained almost exclusively Danish, as can been seen from their surnames.

Confirmands 1952

(front row) Charles Beck, Kay Andersen, Jeanine Andersen, Shirley Gregersen, Doris Hansen, Marilyn Andersen, Veretta Jensen, Connie Petersen, Lynn Alvin Johnson; (middle row) Shirley Mortensen, Verlee Andersen, Irene Andersen, LaVerne Siversen, Marvin Granteer, Carol Larsen, Verla Mardesen, Mardell Andersen; (back row) Marilyn Carstensen, Einer Petersen, Ross Mardesen, Otis Madsen, Rev. Clarence Jensen, Ronald Rasmussen, Galen Sornson, Larry Wright.

Confirmands 1954

(front row) Lyle Andersen, Jean Hansen, Myrna Bladt, Jackie Barker, David Johnson; (middle row) Janice Beck, Eileen Mathisen, Kathleen Andersen, Jean Andersen, Sonya Peitersen, Lois Jensen; (back row) Roger Andersen, Gary Madsen, Jerry Young, Pastor Clarence Jensen, Lynn Mortensen, Jim Olsen.

  • Elk Horn Lutheran Church, Confirmation Classes of 1906 (Top), 1920s (Middle), and 1934 (Bottom) (Photo courtesy of Elk Horn Lutheran Church).

  • Elk Horn Lutheran Church, Confirmation Classes of 1942 (Top), 1943 (Middle), and 1946 (Bottom) (Photo courtesy of Elk Horn Lutheran Church).

  • Elk Horn Lutheran Church, Confirmation Classes of 1948 (Top) and 1949 (Bottom) (Photo courtesy of Elk Horn Lutheran Church).

  • Elk Horn Lutheran Church, Confirmation Classes of 1952 (Top) and 1954 (Bottom) (Photo courtesy of Elk Horn Lutheran Church).