Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Latter-day Saint Images, 1924
 


Latter-day Saint Images, 1924

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 16, 2008

Another page in our family photo album: These Saints from around the world gaze at us through the years since 1924.

In the year the Sunday Schools posed for these pictures, Heber J. Grant was president of the Church; General Conference was broadcast for the first time overly newly-purchased KSL Radio; and the Church first asked members to contribute four-generation pedigree charts to the Genealogical Society. The 1924 world of those Saints may seem impossibly far away … but on September 10 that year, Pres. Boyd K. Packer was born.

Cincinnati, Ohio


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Lehi, Utah
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Hermon Creek, Oregon
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Chemnitz, Germany
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Honolulu, Hawaii
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Carlin, Nevada
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Landsberger, Germany
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New York, New York
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McGrath, Alberta, Canada
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Charleston, West Virginia
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Gallen, Switzerland
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Indianapolis, Indiana
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.Papeete, Tahiti
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. Tacoma, Washington



42 Comments »

  1. I was intrigued by the size of the crowd in the German photo’s. We have 2 80 plus year old women in my ward who as children were born into the church in pre-war Germany in the 1920’s. Where can I get more info on Pre-war german saints?

    Comment by bbell — July 16, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  2. Ardis,

    Your blog is clearly one of my favorites. Thanks for all your postings

    Comment by bbell — July 16, 2008 @ 8:05 am

  3. I served my mission in West Germany and knew a number of members whose families had been in the church since the late 1800s. I believe that Chemnitz (Karl-Marz-Stadt for awhile) was one of the strong centers of the church in Germany. I served in a ward that had a number of families who had moved from Chemnitz. They had the most beautiful accents (although many Germans tended to make fun of it, I always thought that JS Bach probably talked a lot like they did) and, if I remember correctly, members of those fourth or fifth generation families were serving as bishop of Hagen ward and stake president of the Dortmund Stake at the time. During the Cold War, a number of them, male and female, served as stake missionaries within East Germany. I wish that part of my mission duties had been to collect personal histories of those families. Hopefully they will take care of that themselves within their families and wards.

    Comment by Researcher — July 16, 2008 @ 8:15 am

  4. bbell, thanks for that!

    Germany was one of the most fruitful mission fields in the 1920s and ’30s, but I’ll be darned if I can find much to refer you to. I’ve just been through the catalog at the LDS history library and through a search of lds.org without finding a really good source. There are parts of chapters on Germany in general histories of the spread of the church. Most of the writing, though, appears to concern the war years and the faith of a few branches to hang on behind the Iron Curtain.

    The only volume I could find listed that has a more direct focus is Gilbert W. Scharffs, Mormonism in Germany: A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany between 1840 and 1970, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1970 — a reworking of his BYU dissertation — which is probably not going to be easy to find.

    I’ll keep the question on my radar. Maybe I can find a nice summary somewhere, or maybe I’ll have to read around and write one up myself.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  5. Researcher, you remind me that the church archivists HAVE traveled to collect a lot of oral interviews of the Saints in that part of Europe. They are mostly unavailable to the public at the moment because they concern people who are still living. One of the sister missionaries, a native of Berlin, spends much of her time transcribing those oral interviews, and transcribing documents that are written in that peculiar German handwriting. So there will be a reserve of materials for someone to use someday. Never enough, though.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 8:30 am

  6. I live in the Cincinnati area, and there are a couple of people in my ward who joined as converts in the 40’s. That barely misses this picture, but it is interesting to see a picture like this – when there now are 3 stakes in greater Cincinnati alone and perhaps 6 stakes in the area represented by “Cincinnati members” of 1924.

    Comment by Ray — July 16, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  7. You’ve probably noticed that I try to include pictures from farflung regions rather than taking the more easily found many of the Salt Lake City 27,315th Ward. When I find one that is near a favorite blogger, I’m especially tickled and hope that blogger will notice. Ray, that photo was chosen with *you* in mind. Really.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  8. […] of groups of LDS people from various places which I find fascinating.  I urge you to go look here and here. The photos of saints in Germany brought back a memory worth […]

    Pingback by By Common Consent » A Telegram from the Colonies — July 16, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  9. thanks for this fascinating post. My wife grew up in Charleston, WV. What has always fascinated me about her home ward is the number of very old, life long members, born and raised in Charleston. I’m sure she knows more than a few of the little tots in that picture.

    Comment by cj douglass — July 16, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  10. Ardis,

    While looking at these pictures, I felt a strange and urgent concern and curiosity and love for the people in them. Thanks for that.

    Two scriptures came to my mind. The first from Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life in 1 Nep 8:

    “21 And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.
    22 And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.”

    The second from Moses’ direct experience with the Lord in Moses 1:

    “And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth … And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof … and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore … And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying … behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. … ”

    :)

    ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — July 16, 2008 @ 9:44 am

  11. Also… Is it just me or does the photo of the Hawaiian saints look like most of them are in baptismal attire?

    Comment by cj douglass — July 16, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  12. Another great contribution, Ardis.

    When I’m feeling a little more ambitious, I’ll copy and send some photographs I have from a Brooklyn Chapel 21st anniversary book I have (published in 1940–I think they were aiming for 20 years and just didn’t get it done in time). There are some great group photographs, and also individual photographs of leaders of the stake and ward (including some old Norwegian named Haglund).

    One minor quibble (and maybe I should check the AP stylebook): I live in the City of New York (Brooklyn has been part of the City since that black day in 1898 when the five counties/now boroughs were consolidated into the Great Satan across the East River), and this place is often referred to as New York City. But, when I address mail to people in Manhattan, I send it to “New York, New York”–not to “New York City, New York”. And, when Frank Sinatra sang about the city that never sleeps, he sang of “New York, New York.” Maybe he was just repeating himself, or, just maybe, he was giving us both city and state. So, keep your “Salt Lake City, Utah” but call us “New York, New York.” And tell your friends at the Church News to do the same! :-)

    Comment by Mark B. — July 16, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  13. Ardis,

    That must be true IE the size of the church in pre-war Germany. These sisters talk about youth dances, large conferences etc. One of them married an LDS Elder who was a pilot in the German Air Force who was shot down behind the Soviet lines and lived to tell about it.

    More posts please

    Comment by bbell — July 16, 2008 @ 10:07 am

  14. Echo #2 (bbell) and Amen #10 (Thomas Parkin). The children seated in the Papeete Tahiti picture would have been about 60 years old when I served a mission there.

    Comment by David Richey — July 16, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  15. Thanks for these comments — they’re great!

    cj, I’ve thought, too, that there’s a chance at least a few of the smallest children might still be here, and I wonder what lives all of these saints lived in the weeks and months after pausing to have their pictures taken. (I think the Hawaiians were wearing white clothing more because that’s cooler in the tropics, and for women at least that was what nearly everybody wore in the summer during the 19-oughts and -teens.)

    Thomas, those are perfect scriptures to capture the sensations I’ve been trying to pin down, especially the connection to them as extended family.

    Mark, I’ll take the correction, although when I started to read your comment I thought it was going to be about the distinction between Manhattan and Brooklyn. I guess you-all don’t need to be reminded that you live in a CITY, huh? Also, that picture, although it was published in 1924, had to have been taken in 1923 or earlier, because I recognize John W. Young sitting front and center, with the young boy lounging between his knees — JWY died in 1923. Recognizing one person in all these pictures was cool, and reminded me that *some*body would recognize nearly everybody, could we show these pictures to the right people.

    “More posts please” — bbell, them words is music to my blogging ears.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  16. Oh, these pictures are so wonderful! Thank you Ardis- from the woman who buys old photos at garage sales because I feel sorry no one loves them anymore.

    Comment by tracy m — July 16, 2008 @ 10:44 am

  17. David, score another one (this time accidentally) for finding a picture in a place that connects to another blogger. I’m glad about that.

    Tracy, that’s weird and wonderful! I’m lucky to have so many (hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds) of family photos from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and knowing what they mean to me, it hurts to think about some other family parting with theirs.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 10:44 am

  18. RE: New York City, or “New York, New York!” (#12) We here in the backwood hinterlands often just call it “The City,” as in “They went down to the city for the weekend” (even though it is four or five hours’ travel from here). I usually say “New York City.” Incredibly, we sometimes just say “New York,” and understand one another, as in “I haven’t been to New York in years.”

    From Lafayette, New York, this has been a . . .

    Comment by Rick Grunder — July 16, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  19. There were some elderly sisters in the Brooklyn Ward when we moved here 28 years ago who used to talk about going over to “New York” or “the City.”

    I think it’s becoming the fashionable thing to do, again. So, here we are stuck between “the City” on the West and “the island” on the East (“the island” confuses outsiders too, since they look at the map and see that Long Island includes Brooklyn and Queens–but “the island,” as in, “They moved out to the island” means the non-City counties).

    Don’t ask about Queens, though. It doesn’t count. It’s the Orem of New York.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 16, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  20. FWIW, there are BYU theses on the history of the LDS Church in Germany from 1914 to 1933 and from 1870 to 1914.

    Comment by Justin — July 16, 2008 @ 11:44 am

  21. My Rochester-born father curled his lip when “the City” was mentioned, and told me once that it should be its own state.

    Trust Justin to come up with not only the history but the links! Thanks, Justin.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 11:50 am

  22. Actually, Ardis, Brooklyn could be its own universe!

    And, regarding the German church–the Brooklyn Ward between the World Wars must have sounded pretty German, with names like Reske, Gloeckner, Rathke, Poetschlag, Wiemer and Goss and Schroeder, and Speidel, Zander and Neumann, Wurzbach and Hoemke, Duersch and Kempe, Hallmann and Zoellner and Paetz.

    To say nothing of the “extra” auxiliary within the ward, the “German Organization.”

    Comment by Mark B. — July 16, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  23. A young sister from my last ward (Baltimore) was moving to New York. I was telling a co-worker from New York about the plan and she got all excited. She interrupted my story and spoke about how exciting it would be to be young and single in New York. Then she asked in what part of New York she was going to live. “Rochester”, I replied. After a long blank stare she said “That’s a long way from downtown.” and changed the subject. Some people from the City of New York share your father’s distain, just in the opposit direction.

    If you have any pictures from Tennesse, I’d love to see them. BTW are there links similar to Justin’s for the history of the church in Tennessee? I have found a few, but most center aroung Cane Creek and stop there. I’m giving a talk for pioneer day and wanted to use some local examples.

    Comment by BruceC — July 16, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

  24. Wonderful post Ardis. I too am familiar with both the legacy of Chemnitz and its native LDS sons and daughters, having met and spoken with a few during my time in Germany and Salt Lake City.

    bbell — here’s another one, if you can understand German: Albert Riedel, Die Geschichte der deutschsprachigen Missionen der Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage: von der Gründung bis 1900 (The History of the German-speaking Missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: From the Founding to 1900) (Salt Lake: Service Press, 1971).

    Comment by john f. — July 16, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  25. Great photos, Ardis.

    I found a brief reference to Chemnitz in a talk given by Fred Tadje, former president of the Swiss-German mission, at the April 1927 General Conference. He said: “Our local members in the mission are very diligent in spreading the gospel. I have in mind a widow in the city of Chemnitz, who used to bring over twenty children to Sunday school each Sunday morning. These were children of her neighbors. Several rows of chairs were reserved for her each Sunday morning by the superintendency, and a similar work was done by these brethren and sisters throughout the whole mission.”

    Comment by Justin — July 16, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  26. Bruce, I’ll watch for Tennessee pictures. Really, beyond relatively recent stake histories, the only written history I’m familiar with for ANYwhere in the South focuses on missionaries, and especially on missionaries as victims of violence. Nate Oman is looking for church history in Virginia, and Edje has referred several times to his work on church history in Southeast Texas, and I’m aware of at least two other grad student bloggers who have southern history projects in mind (I don’t know if they’ve announced their plans anywhere so haven’t named them). Maybe that much interest in our fairly small blog community indicates a widespread interest in church history in the South that will finally result in the kinds of work we want to read.

    Thank you, johnf and Justin. I think Justin has just accounted for a significant part of that crowd of little children — and I wish I knew the name of the widow Pres. Tadje refers to. She sounds like the kind of woman I like to research and write about.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  27. I love taking these to 400% and looking at all of the children and sondering how it all worked out for them.

    Comment by Jami — July 16, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  28. Has anyone else noticed that the w-key is very close to the s-key?

    Comment by Jami — July 16, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  29. Iw that wo, Jami?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 2:30 pm

  30. bbell and Ardis, I might have a book at home that might have some more information about pre-War LDS in Germany. My wife is from Zwickau, right next door to Chemnitz — I’ll ask her tonight.

    That area of Germany had, at one point, more members of the Church than anywhere else in the world, outside of Utah. Then the Wars happened and a lot of people took off.

    Jon

    Comment by Jonovitch — July 16, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  31. P.S. Ardis, I have a separate history question for you, but the AOL address in the About section bounces back at me. How can I contact you?

    Jon

    Comment by Jonovitch — July 16, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

  32. Thanks, Jonovitch — there seems to be plenty of interest in LDS German history of that period, so anything you can report would be very welcome here.

    I don’t know of a problem with the address. I opened that screen name just to sort Keepa mail from my regular stuff, but you can reach me at my regular account at AEParshall atAOLdotcom.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 16, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  33. That’s cool to see Chemnitz there. You know, many saints here have told me that one of the prophets said Chemnitz (and Sachsen in general, where I am) had the highest concentration of members of the Church outside of Utah. Unfortunately (well, for us, I guess), most of them moved to America during or after the war. There are still a lot of strong saints though.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — September 30, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  34. Michelle:

    Yes, Saxony (Sachsen) had one of the highest, if not the highest concentration (perhaps better stated, highest number) of LDS outside of the intermountain west. That said, one should remember that the total number of LDS in Germany at that time was still quite low. In all of Germany going into the 1930s there was on the order of about 13,000 members living in two missions–the German-Austrian Mission and the Swiss-German Mission. During the 1930s, Germany had the distinction of having more LDS than any other country except for the USA. Canada came in a close third. There were many convert baptisms in Germany during the 1920s and a some out-migration to the USA as well. However, in the 1930s, as political and internation tensions increased, the number of convert baptisms decreased. On the other hand, during the 1930s, due to economic conditions, German laws that hindered emigration, and the Church telling (sometimes only half-heartedly) members to remain in their own countries, LDS migration to the USA virtually ceased. Of course, during World War II, there was no migration of German Saints to the USA. However, after the war there was a great upheaval as many German Saints fled from the Soviet zone (Saxony was part of the Soviet zone) to the west, ending up either remaining in western Germany or continuing on to Utah. Nevertheless, between 4-6,000 LDS remained in eastern Germany.

    Comment by Steve C. — September 30, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  35. Steve C.–

    Thanks! Where did you get all that info? I love Saxony and all the people I meet here. I wonder why the work doesn’t move as quickly as it did then. I guess the long-term political status had big effects on people. Religion seems to be very dead and if people do belong to a church, it’s more cultural than anything.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — September 30, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

  36. Although I am not a member of the LDS (good Lutheran )I am very interested in the wealth of information about The LDS in Chemnitz. My father is from Chemnitz and I never would have guessed at the high number of saints in Germany. Was the LDS persecuted by the Nazi party? Note of interest: The huge bust of Karl Marx in the center of the city, sits exactly on top of what was The Heinzig jewelery store. My great grandfathers store took a direct bomb hit in March of 1945. My father remembers that night very well.

    Comment by Mark Claussner — January 25, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  37. Mark Claussner, thanks for stopping by — we like good Lutherans around here. :)

    Latter-day Saints were not the direct targets of Nazi persecution in anything like the same way that Jews or Jehovah’s Witnesses or other groups were, although there were individual exceptions. Some Jewish converts to Mormonism were treated the same as others of Jewish heritage. Many of us are rather proud of Hellmuth Hubener, an LDS teenager who was executed for printing and distributing anti-Nazi handbills. But generally we were able to function as a church in a low-key way during the war.

    Keepa has a couple of readers with special knowledge of the church in Germany, and particularly during the war. I’ll make sure they are aware of your comment in case there is anything else they want to add.

    I’m glad your father lived to remember that night, and that you take an interest in your family history. Family history is a very important aspect of LDS life.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 26, 2009 @ 5:10 am

  38. I was visiting family in the Creston,BC area and entered my favorite antique store. I found and bought a beautiful photo album with about a hundred photos of a young man and his mission with the Church. In the album he writes ” In fond remembrance of the happy days spent in the Swiss- German Mission” the dates and places are August 1923- March 1925. He has the cities of Berlin, Stettin, Kiel, Potsdam,..etc. He has photos of himself with numorous people in many different places. I bought the album not knowing all the contents of it.I had only looked at the first couple of pages and there were very old pictures of New York, a city which our family loves to go to, and which we had just gotten back from a week prior to being in Creston. There was a ship that he has a photo of that was of great interest to me because my maternal grandfather had come to Canada from Ireland on the same ship that this young man had taken to cross the ocean going in the opposite direction to start his new life as a missionary.When i got it home And read the notations he had at the botttom of the photos i realised this young man was mormon.There is a photo of him that reads”Joseph Smith Farm, Jackson County” also a photo “Temple Site, Missouri” . He traveled to Niagra Falls ,went to the Statue of Liberty in New York.A photo of him with 10 or so others reads”The gang that conquered Europe,Mission House Liverpool July 1923″ He tours around England Then goes off to Germany. He has photos of San Soucci and The Kaisers Palace and various German landmarks. He has commemts on people photographed ” released missionaries from England” Freinds at the Landsberger Conference”, ” Berlin Conference March 1924″, “Radichels Boarding House” . There is a very large group of men of various ages with the caption” The first gang of Mormon missionaries to have their picture taken on the steps of the Reichtag Building March 1924″,also ” Boys from Hannover, Hamburg, and Berlin Conferences March 1924 Berlin. He refers to a picture of about 20 men as the “Hamburg Hams” another photo reads “The Bishops Grandsons”

    Comment by Marni Lemon — August 24, 2009 @ 4:00 am

  39. Lovely, Marni! You have to wonder how material like this leaves a family … I suppose through clearing out personal belongings at the time of death, but how nobody in the family recognizes the value of such family history I do not understand.

    Should you ever decide it no longer fits your personal collection, I hope you’ll remember that the church archives at Salt Lake City would welcome the donation and would carefully preserve the album and the history it records.

    Also, if you’d be willing to scan and send some of the photos to me, I’d love to put up a guest post from you showing them.

    [P.S. – I tried to contact you via email, but there may be a typo in the address left.]

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 24, 2009 @ 4:09 am

  40. I was visiting family in the Creston,BC area and entered my favorite antique store. I found and bought a beautiful photo album with about a hundred photos of a young man and his mission with the Church. In the album he writes ” In fond remembrance of the happy days spent in the Swiss- German Mission” the dates and places are August 1923- March 1925. He has the cities of Berlin, Stettin, Kiel, Potsdam,..etc. He has photos of himself with numorous people in many different places. I bought the album not knowing all the contents of it.I had only looked at the first couple of pages and there were very old pictures of New York, a city which our family loves to go to, and which we had just gotten back from a week prior to being in Creston. There was a ship that he has a photo of that was of great interest to me because my maternal grandfather had come to Canada from Ireland on the same ship that this young man had taken to cross the ocean going in the opposite direction to start his new life as a missionary.When I got the album home And read the notations he had at the botttom of the photos I realised this young man was Mormon. There is a photo of him that reads”Joseph Smith Farm, Jackson County” also a photo “Temple Site, Missouri” . He traveled to Niagra Falls ,went to the Statue of Liberty in New York.A photo of him with 10 or so others reads”The gang that conquered Europe,Mission House Liverpool July 1923″ He tours around England Then goes off to Germany. He has photos of San Soucci and The Kaisers Palace and various German landmarks. He has commemts on people photographed ” released missionaries from England” Freinds at the Landsberger Conference”, ” Berlin Conference March 1924″, “Radichels Boarding House” . There is a very large group of men of various ages with the caption” The first gang of Mormon missionaries to have their picture taken on the steps of the Reichtag Building March 1924″,also ” Boys from Hannover, Hamburg, and Berlin Conferences March 1924 Berlin. He refers to a picture of about 20 men as the “Hamburg Hams” another photo reads “The Bishops Grandsons” also photos of a building reads” Veiws of the jail in Stettin where former Mormon Missionaries used to get free meals” There are alot of peoples names listed but I dont think it would be appropriate to mention names. The photos are a beautiful reflection of a joyous time in post WW1 Germany in this young mans life.I feel blessed to have shared in his journey 85 years after the fact. I am a happy Catholic and my Brother is A Later Day Saint and words cant describe what a wonderful time we had speculating on the life this man lead after he returned home from his mission. I still remember when my brother came home from his mission to Kentucky and Ohio, he was so grown up but still my beloved brother. I would love to post some of these photos of this album some day. There is a photo of the young man and a freind out front of a building and he is holding flowers the photo caption reads “prize winner” There is a sign in behind his head that reads KIRCH JESU CHRISTI dur HEILIGENDER LETZTEN TAGE >versammlung< , Eingang zum Saal, Einlritt frei." There are two stamps in the first page that read similar to the sign in the photo but the stamps have more info about the location. If anyone could translate the bit of German in the quotation marks I would greatly appreciate it. God Bless Marni

    Comment by Marni Lemon — August 24, 2009 @ 4:39 am

  41. The German says:
    “Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage” “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

    “Versammlung” “Meeting”

    “Eingang zum Saal” “Entrance (or Access) to Hall”

    “Eintritt frei” “Admission free”

    And, if it is the same family, the Radichels have been mentioned before on this blog as being part of the branches in Brooklyn or Manhattan in the early 1900s.

    What an interesting find. I’ll echo Ardis’ comment. And any indication of the name of the missionary?

    Comment by Researcher — August 24, 2009 @ 8:10 am

  42. Marni: What an incredible find! I would love to flip though the pages of the album.

    The 1920s was the golden age for Mormonism in Germany. The LDS Church was growing at a rapid pace. The second generation of German Mormons was coming into its own. The missions were split which, in the eyes of the Mormons, was indicative of the Church’s growth. Church leaders in Utah were very optimistic about the prospects for the Mormons in Germany.

    Marni, your find really would epitimize this golden era. Thank you for letting us know. I hope that you will scan some images and post them on this site. Thank you very much for making the effort to preserve this historical treasure.

    Comment by Steve C. — August 24, 2009 @ 9:28 am

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