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Latter-day Saint Images, 1926

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 29, 2008


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From the deserts of Nevada to the deserts of Syria, from the seacoast of Norway to the palms of Anaheim and Miami, our brothers and sisters posed for their group portraits in 1926. Would you let your wiggly 5-year-old dangle her feet from the heights of the Brooklyn wall? Would you want to wrangle a Sunday School the size of the North Ogden group?
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Bergen, Norway
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.Bakersfield, California
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.Rapid City, South Dakota
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.West Australian Conference
.Relief Society
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.Anaheim, California
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.Brooklyn, New York
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.Deaf Branch,
.Ogden, Utah
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.Compton, California
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.Miami, Florida
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.Aleppo, Syria
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.Elko, Nevada
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.Jacksonville, Florida
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.North Ogden, Utah
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.Omaha, Nebraska
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.Torrance, California
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.Pueblo, Colorado
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12 Comments »

  1. Another great set of photographs, Ardis.

    The meetinghouse in Brooklyn where that picture was taken was completed in 1918, and dedicated in early 1919 by Elder Reed Smoot, who I presume made the trip up from Washington for the occasion.

    Sadly, the building was sold in the early 1960s. The neighborhood, right on the edge of Bedford-Stuyvesant, had become overwhelmingly African American and there were then almost no African Americans in the church here.

    But, the building still stands. And the wall on which those children sat is still there too–probably between four and five feet tall. Not much of a chance taken by those mothers–besides which, they were nearly all Germans, and maybe their children sat still when their mothers told them to.

    If I get a chance I’ll go by and take some photographs this weekend so you all can see for yourselves.

    The other thing: it’s hard to tell from the photograph, but the building shares interesting design characteristics with the building in the Ogden Deaf Branch photograph. Even then, it appears, there was some consistency in church architecture–although back then it was more interesting.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 29, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  2. Glad to know the wall wasn’t as high as it looks, compared to the length of those little Sunday School legs, Mark.

    I have a good picture of the Brooklyn building from its early days. It could be interesting to see then-and-now if there has been any remodeling, or just wear-and-tear, if you do find the time to take a current picture.

    In fact, I have lots of pictures of LDS chapels around the world, where the buildings are the stars rather than just backdrops for a ward photo. Would there be any interest in a few posts showing the varieties and similarities of architecture from around the world in the late 19th/early 20th centuries?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 29, 2008 @ 8:13 am

  3. I’m seeing some similarities to the Alberta and Hawaii temples, and to a lesser extent, the Mesa Temple. What would you call the style? Prairie? Arts and Crafts?

    Comment by Researcher — July 29, 2008 @ 8:25 am

  4. It’s been a while since I went past the building, Ardis, but I think it’s about the same, except for the neon cross up on the facade. I’ve heard rumors that much of the Mormon “iconongraphy” has been removed from the interior, but I haven’t been inside.

    A persistent dream of mine is to have a 100th anniversary celebration in the building, with a program to match the dedication in 1919. We’ve got 11 years to plan the event, and need to get permission to use the building from the current owner. (Better still if we could buy the place!)

    I’d like to see some posts on church architecture–maybe we could get Lamonte and some other architects to contribute some learned commentary.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 29, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  5. Researcher

    I’ve seen those same similarities. I’d call it Prairie, and point back to Frank Lloyd Wright–his Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, seems to have been at least partial inspiration for all those buildings you mention. But I’d be happy to have some more data (pictures, Ardis!) and some architectural historians show up to help me out.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 29, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  6. Would there be any interest in a few posts showing the varieties and similarities of architecture from around the world in the late 19th/early 20th centuries?

    Yes please.

    Comment by Christopher — July 29, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  7. Okay, I’ll start putting together some images of chapels. Don’t know that I’m up to much architectural commentary worth anything myself, but if any reader (Mark B., would you be willing to contact Lamonte, or send me his address?) is willing to do a guest post related to this, please write to me at AEParshall [at]AOL[dotcom] and we’ll coordinate.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 29, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  8. Pure black-and-white gold. Thank you, AEP.

    Comment by Chad Too — July 29, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  9. The picture of the saints in Syria struck me – both because of the disproportionate number of children but also because I didn’t expect it. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it’s easy to forget that things weren’t always as they are now.

    This picture shows one man, four women and lots of children – many of whom obviously were born after both Manifestos. Was polygamy still practiced in that area where it was not outlawed by the government?

    Comment by Ray — July 29, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  10. Ray, this looks to me like a Sunday School rather than being representative of the whole branch. All the kids may not even have been LDS — Sunday School was a way of introducing the church in new places, because a lot of parents welcomed instruction for their children. That probably accounts for the large number of children. (I think — am not absolutely sure — the man in the back, and the woman on the right with the white collar, are Bro. and Sis. Booth, the mission president and his wife, of Utah county.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 29, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  11. Thanks, Ardis. That makes sense.

    Comment by Ray — July 29, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  12. From what I’ve read, the same architects, Pope and Burton, who were very much influenced by Wright, designed the Brooklyn meetinghouse and the Hawaii and Alberta temples.

    Comment by Justin — July 30, 2008 @ 11:00 am

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