Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Latter-day Saint Images, 1918

Latter-day Saint Images, 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 23, 2009

1918 — the last year of the Great War, the first year of the flu pandemic. The Saints carried on, adapting to new conditions while maintaining as normal a life as possible. Here are a few of their snap-shots:

Student Army Training Corps, at BYU

Relief Society surgical dressing unit, Granite Stake, Salt Lake City

Relief Society surgical dressing unit, Weber Stake, Utah

Union Ward, Salt Lake Valley
(Charles Denney, kneeling, is the groundskeeper)

Utrecht, Holland

Wairau, New Zealand
Elders and Home Missionaries

Manchester, England
Home Missionaries

Flint, Michigan

Los Cerritos, Colorado (Mexican Mission)

Relief Society surgical dressing unit (unidentified stake)

Boy Scouts of Salt Lake City, masked and delivering literature about the flu epidemic

Scouts of Salt Lake City encamped in American Fork Canyon

LaGrande, Oregon



  1. Move over Nurse Diesel. The ladies from the Weber Stake are here to make you get better.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 23, 2009 @ 9:47 am

  2. What were ‘Relief Society surgical dressing units’?

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — October 23, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  3. Relief Society sisters joined the Red Cross en masse, with many RS units doubling as RC units. I don’t know what all they did, but evidently part of it was that they dressed up in the RC uniforms (probably an effort to maintain cleanliness if not sterility) while they rolled bandages. These pictures are of LDS sisters on their Red Cross duty days folding and rolling bandages to be shipped to army field hospitals and similar institutions.

    The RS Magazine and Young Woman’s Journal from the war years carry regular reports of donations and services rendered to the Red Cross, and patterns for knitting various items for soldiers. Our servicemen today may have to depend on their parents and neighbors to supply them with the body armor that the government can’t seem to deliver, but at least they don’t have to rely on Grandma and her sisters cutting and folding their first aid supplies anymore.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 23, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

  4. How fun to see a photo of Charles Denney!

    These were great, thanks.

    Comment by Hunter — October 23, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  5. Good memory, Hunter. Charles Denney was the missionary who recorded the experiences of a very hungry day when, dependent for his meals on the kindness of others, his need was finally met in an extraordinary way.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 23, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  6. Great photos. That chapel looks so cozy with all that ivy covering the walls. It has such a sense of place.

    Comment by Researcher — October 23, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  7. What a very interesting time. World War I ending and the Spanish Influenza showing up. We really don’t appreciate how lethal the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 was. Conservative estimates put the number of deaths at 20 million or twice the number of all World War I deaths combined. Other estimates put the number of deaths worldwide at 40-50 million. It really was a sad time.

    Comment by Steve C. — October 23, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  8. Thanks for the explanation, Ardis. I think the uniforms threw me a little!

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — October 24, 2009 @ 6:48 am

  9. Interesting about the Red Cross units.

    I LOOOOOOVE old pics like this.

    Comment by m&m — October 24, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

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