Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Whole Year Through: Relief Society Magazine, 1939

The Whole Year Through: Relief Society Magazine, 1939

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 25, 2010


The theme for Relief Society Magazine cover art in 1939 seems to be a mix of seasonal images, and art works depicting church history.

I think my favorite may be little Miss September and her unhappiness at having to go back to school. How about you?




























  1. I love that December is about shopping, and not about service or worship. :)

    Comment by kew — March 25, 2010 @ 7:20 am

  2. Thanks you, Ardis, for these wonderful covers. I could threadjack all day with these. But I will restrict myself (for now) with comments on the July cover. That great sculpture on Temple Square was by Torleif Knaphus, a Norwegian convert of the 1880’s. He also did the Hill Cumorah monument and the oxen for baptismal font of the Idaho Falls Temple, among other beautiful works. His artistic legacy is generally overshadowed by Avard Fairbanks, or we would all know more of him. The July cover selection was so appropriate for the month of Pioneer Days. When the cover was selected, the sculpture was only 13 years old.

    Comment by CurtA — March 25, 2010 @ 9:38 am

  3. Yeah, kew, that one was unexpected! :)

    Curt, it’s no threadjack — if you want to do us the favor of identifying the other monuments, which aren’t necessarily as familiar to everybody as they might be to Salt Lakers, please do.

    And I’m still giggling at the sullen look on the face of Miss September.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 25, 2010 @ 10:00 am

  4. Ha! Yes, that back-to-school cover is a fun one.

    I liked August the best. Which Little Rascals character is that walking his dog?

    Comment by Hunter — March 25, 2010 @ 10:44 am

  5. Thanks, Ardis. December is a classic.

    June reminds me of that great old line: “I think Brigham Young is a funny old crank – with his rump to the temple and his hand to the bank.” (can’t remember the original source)

    Comment by reed russell — March 25, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  6. I’ve heard the idea before, reed, but never seen it put poetically before! Whatever the original source, it is now part of my own repertoire.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 25, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

  7. About Torleif’s other works, a complete catalog may be impossible. I just mentioned the ones I had seen and noted. He worked on many temples. The bas-relief friezes on the Cardston and Mesa temples are his work. He helped Avard Fairbanks with the oxen on the Hawaii temple’s font. He did a “Children’s Monument” at the West Gate of the SLC City and County building. I haven’t seen that one but will look on my next trip downtown. The handcart monument was first done in a small table-top scale (1926) and made life-size for Temple Square in 1947.

    As a bit of a sidling postscript, we can read today’s Deseret News or Tribune for the obituary of Avard Fox Fairbanks, Avard’s 90-year-old son, not an artist but inventor.

    Comment by CurtA — March 25, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

  8. And what of the hand-written address on the Sept. cover? Surely the magazine didn’t address every subscription by hand… Is there another explanation?

    Comment by Clark — March 25, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

  9. You can see that others this year have machine-printed addresses, so I’m guessing that particular copy was addressed by hand because the addressee had just subscribed, or her copy was lost in the mail and she requested another one, or something else equally idiosyncratic.

    Can you imagine addressing a subscription list by hand? Yet it seems to have been done that way on. I can’t give you even an approximation of a date when it changed, but some of the 19th century newspapers that are in the church archives (microfilmed) have handwritten (heavily abbreviated) addresses. Ouch!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 25, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  10. Equally interesting is the 2 cent postage for a magazine delivery. Also look at the addresses that just say ‘City”. I recall some of those. One of the adressees is Elder Albert [E.] Bowen. He was called as an apostle two years earlier, 1937, an Idaho native; hoorah!

    Comment by CurtA — March 25, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  11. Help me with the Nov one — is that a gun on the back of the chair? I feel like I’m missing something on that one.

    Comment by m&m — March 26, 2010 @ 1:19 am

  12. That’s the blunderbuss – the Pilgrims’ riot gun of choice.

    Comment by reed russell — March 26, 2010 @ 1:34 am

  13. Used, of course, against the fowlest of rioters.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 26, 2010 @ 9:26 am


    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 26, 2010 @ 9:50 am

  15. Torleif was my Grandfather. Curt, I appreciate your interest in his work. Our Family organization has a web page that identifies more of his work.

    Comment by Chris K. — March 31, 2010 @ 11:36 am

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