How Sundays Were Spent in Rural Iowa in the 1940s

For many families in rural Iowa in the 1940s, families were close-knit and social activities revolved around the local church. Iowans recount their Sunday traditions in this segment of Iowa PBS’s "Picture Perfect: Iowa in the 1940s" documentary.


Narrator: Faith is a recurring theme that echoes from Everett’s photographs. Families were close-knit and many of their social activities revolved around the local church.

Clara (Gilbertson) Perry, Ridgeway High School Alumna: I felt that [church] had quite a stable influence on the young people, and I think the activities centered around that, whether it was the Sunday school or the programs that they had, but it was such an important part of our lives.

Norma (Quill) Fisher, Ridgeway High School Alumna: There wasn’t much money but everybody, almost everybody belonged to a church, and they all dressed up in their finest garb to go to church on Sunday. In the Lutheran Church, it was customary for ladies after they were confirmed to wear hats to church. So you see that in the picture of Sunday afternoon on the porch. The ladies are all dressed up.

David Kuntz, Everett Kuntz’s Son: Sunday afternoon, it was a big deal. I mean it was the Sabbath day and it was - - nobody was working and everybody was there. It’s not something you would miss. You’d be a little dressed up and you’d come to grandma’s and you’d have a great dinner and she’d make a fantastic dinner and then people would eat for a couple hours and sit around after dinner.

Helen Kuntz, Everett Kuntz’s Widow, She’d always have the mashed potatoes in the bowl the same, and she’d slice our homemade bread the same and have the bowl of peas. Then she had these sherbet glasses, and she’d make her own sherbet. So there were a lot of things that bring back a lot of memories.


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