And the Bride Wore…Pearl Harbor Day

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Mary Lou Otto and John H. Kime, December 7, 1941

In remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor, 73 years ago yesterday, we have chosen to feature a wedding story that occurred on that fateful day.


Mary Lou Otto wore this dress on the occasion of her marriage to Lieutenant John H. Kime on December 7, 1941.

Mary Lou was born March 10, 1918 in Nebraska to Elizabeth Butler and Roy Otto. Her father, Roy, worked as a laborer and a salesman in a hardware store. At the time of her marriage, Mary Lou was teaching home economics at Connellsville High School in Pennsylvania. She had graduated from that High School, and from the School of Home Economics at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

John H. Kime was born June 11, 1916 in Moundsville, West Virginia. He graduated from the College of Mining Engineering of West Virginia University and had attended Greenbrier Military Academy. At the time of their marriage, John was stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia – The WWII 300th Combat Engineers for training. The wedding was postponed four times. Mary Lou met John at the Baltimore and Ohio station and they went to her mother and father’s house on Crawford Avenue. The wedding was performed the next day. The wedding was held at Elizabeth Maude Bute Otto and Roy Basting Otto’s home. Mary Lou and John were together for 20 days before he shipped off to the Aleutian Islands until 1945.

Their afternoon wedding took place at 2:00pm that infamous Sunday. It was only a half hour later that the major radio news networks interrupted regular programming, at 2:30pm Eastern Standard Time, to bring news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the United States’ involvement in WWII. John learned of the attacks from his father-in-law who called him into another room with a radio when he heard the news.

Mary Lou’s dress is no longer the blue it once was due to the properties of the acetate fiber and the dyes used at the time of its manufacture. We can still see the original color of the blue dress in the rayon hem tape, cotton stitching thread and side zipper tape, and the lining covering her shoulder pads. Mary Lou chose a blue dress because it was her favorite color. Additional color images of the dress, as well as newspaper articles detailing the nuptials can be seen here .

Marlise Schoeny

3 thoughts on “And the Bride Wore…Pearl Harbor Day

  1. I can say that the fashion before and modern fashion now are just the same but the difference was the design and on how teenagers or models handle those cloths. I like that dress very formal.

  2. This is really neat. John Kime is my grandfather’s brother – so he is my mother’s uncle, (does that make him my great uncle?). Being into history, this is fascinating. Curious as to how this ended up in this collection.

    • Yes, that would make him your great uncle. Mary Lou’s dress was donated to OSU Historic Costume & Textile Collection by her daughter, Carole. The family moved to Columbus in the 1950s.

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