Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Flocks of Seagulls, 1923

Flocks of Seagulls, 1923

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 03, 2009

 The Seagull Girls came into being in the early 1920s as the Primary class for the oldest girls, ones we expect to be Beehive Girls today at ages 12 and 13. A few years earlier, the boys of comparable age were transferred out of Primary and into the Mutual Improvement Association when Scouting became such a significant part of their program. The girls were dissatisfied at being left behind with the small children in Primary, but the Church resisted their joining MIA because leaders believed it was unsuitable for young girls to be away from home in the evenings.  In an effort to retain these girls, who tended to drop out of church activity, the Primary developed the Seagull program. Seagulls usually met on a day or in a place separate from the Primary, kept scrapbooks (called “Segolias”), and engaged in crafts, recreation, and outdoor activities very similar to those of the MIA, but during afternoon hours. They were given greater autonomy than other classes in choosing their own activities, and were encouraged to render service to family and community, including teaching younger classes in the regular Primary.  Eventually the 12- and 13-year-old girls were transferred into the Beehive program of the MIA. The Seagull designation was retained for many years, however, as the class for 11-year-old Primary girls.

Because it was a new program in 1923, documenting Seagull gatherings was encouraged, and many pictures were published in the Children’s Friend to inspire other girls to join. Below is a sampling of Seagull groups that year — those spunky young girls who refused to be treated as children.

(The hikers above are from Highland Park, Utah.)


Dublan, Mexico 

 Fountain Green, Utah (with girl-built replica of Seagull Monument)

Lehi 2nd Ward, Utah

Rock Springs, Wyoming

Tropic, Utah (wearing Seagull Girl headbands)

Highland Park, Utah

Cove Ward, Utah

Spanish Fork 2nd Ward, Utah
(Martha Washington Party)

Driggs, Idaho

American Fork 4th Ward, Utah

Mt. Pleasant, Utah (Martha Washington Party)

Tooele South Ward, Utah

Naples, Utah

Inkom, Idaho

Clifton, Idaho (with Seagull Girl headbands)

Marion, Idaho

Lewiston 1st Ward, Idaho

Lewiston, Idaho

Cedar West Ward, Utah

Portage, Utah (visiting local pioneer)

Price, Utah

Rock Springs, Wyoming

St. Anthony, Idaho

Milford, Utah

Gridley, California (Martha Washington Party)


Boneta, Utah

McGrath, Alberta

Montpelier 2nd Ward, Idaho

Victor, Idaho

Kanosh, Utah


Milford, Utah

Weber 1st Ward, Utah

Morgan North Ward, Utah

Ephraim South Ward, Utah



  1. Seagull headband = brilliant.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 3, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  2. There’s a sketch of a somewhat later version of the headband in my Bandlo article which may be clearer than these photos, which show much larger seagull ornaments than the later sketch. These seem large enough to protect the girls from real seagulls overhead — is that what you meant by “brilliant,” J.? :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 3, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  3. The magnitude of the seagulls in the photos is incomparable with those sketches, Ardis. It is like when they were making them they thought, “You know, this could use a life size seagull.” And voila!

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 3, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  4. Looking at these photos with my daughters earlier today, I wanted to convey to them a sense of their heritage in the Church. I was so grateful for the long history of faithful Saints who have preceded us. And all that came out was, “See, girls? You belong to a very old church!”


    Comment by Hunter — May 3, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  5. eh, you tried! {g}

    Thanks for commenting on this, which of course was intended to be the real post today

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 3, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

  6. I’m always amazed when I look at old yearbooks at how “old” the students are. I get the same feeling when I look at these pictures. In about half of the pictures the girls look a lot older than 12-13. But then, surprisingly, in the other half the girls remind me of the fresh-faced, giggly Beehive girls of today.

    Comment by Maurine — May 3, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

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