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Mormon History Coloring Book 1923: November, “Agricultural Growth”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 12, 2009

No doubt Primary leaders saw “Agricultural Growth” as an appropriate theme for the classes of November 1923, because agriculture brought to mind thoughts of abundance and thanksgiving — indeed, the motto for November’s lessons was “A Thankful and a Cheerful Heart Offers the Worship Most Acceptable to God.” Agriculture also fell under the umbrella theme for the last four months of 1923, “The Latter-day Saints, a Progressive People.”

Below are the six line drawings published in the Children’s Friend that month for use by teachers as visual aids. With lives so far removed from direct contact with agriculture, and technical progress over the past 85 years, I wonder whether today’s children would recognize the activities and objects that teachers in 1923 took for granted, much less the pioneer agricultural activities pictured here.

I’m thankful for the things I eat,
And for the things I see,
For nice fresh eggs the chickens give,
And for the honey bee.

We have so many blessings
I’m sure that you and I
Should do our best to thank the Lord
As day by day goes by.

The farmer is the one they call
“The honest man of toil,”
He shall receive great blessings for
‘Tis he who tills the soil.

Harvesting in early days
Could not at all compare
With modern times, for now we find
Machinery everywhere.

When harvest time comes ’round each year
The children do their part,
By serving, they can show they have
A thankful, cheerful heart.

Machinery has replaced the churn,
Great factories now we see,
For such advancement you and I
Should very thankful be.



10 Comments »

  1. That’s lovely. I’ll print that off for one of the younger children to color during church.

    And I must say, I do agree with the last couple of lines “For such advancement you and I/ Should very thankful be.” It is nice that I didn’t have to milk the cows this morning and gather the eggs and cut the bacon from a slab hanging in the cellar (which we would have had to slaughter ourselves in previous generations) and pick the blueberries and squeeze the oranges for orange juice (if there were even oranges to be had) and harvest and grind the flour for the breakfast cake.

    Thanks for posting this beautiful series of poems and illustrations.

    Comment by Researcher — July 12, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  2. Thanks, Researcher. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it, and I’m sad that we’re almost through the series.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 12, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  3. Ha! I’m printing these off for the kids to take to Sacrament Meeting today.

    Comment by Hunter — July 12, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  4. I too am glad that we don’t have to do all that labor by hand–but I am glad to have fresh blueberries picked from the bushes in our garden yesterday.

    For all the machinery used in agriculture by 1923, there was still a lot of work to do by hand. For 20 years after that, my dad’s family had a cow, and she was milked twice a day, by hand, by the man and boys in the family. My grandmother made butter–I’ll have to ask whether that was all done with a hand churn.

    And, I wish I had seen this before church. I would have printed it to keep me occupied during the slow moments.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 12, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  5. The word “Progressive” in the primary theme caught my eye. I wonder what the connotations of the word were in that day.

    Comment by REW — July 12, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

  6. These are lovely. I’m indeed thankful that I can have such wonderful fresh tasty food all year round as I find at my local market. We had a story book when I was a child called Gateway to Story Land, by Watty Piper, illustrated by Eulalie. Inside was sort of a cornucopia of children’s tales. One was about Mr. Pig going to market, in which he bought the most luscious vegetables of all varieties, and some lamb, for lamb stew. On the way he invited all his friends of different species to dinner, even, oddly enough, some sheep. These pictures remind me a bit of that story, which it seemed to me was about enjoyment of plenty. It’s good to stop and remember and be grateful and glad for all we have sometimes.

    Comment by Tatiana — July 13, 2009 @ 12:43 am

  7. If I can do simple arithmatic, we’re farther removed from the 1923 technology than they were from the first pioneers. No wonder the steam-powered tractors and flapping drive belts (without guards)look quaint.

    I appreciate my morning orange juice as much as Researcher, but I also believe there’s a level of appreciation that comes from producing some of one’s own food. The Law of the Harvest and other Gospel principles become much more concrete …Not to mention that I have yet to taste a store-bought peach or tomato that tastes as good as the ones I pick from my own yard.

    Comment by Clark — July 13, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  8. I halfway expected Tatiana to mention those drive belts, Clark; I’m glad you did.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 13, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  9. these are beautiful to teach children to be thankful. I am using these for my grandchildren.

    Comment by Suzanne Alva — November 1, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  10. Glad to hear it, Suzanne. Thanks for mentioning that.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 1, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

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