Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Whole Year Through: The Instructor, 1949

The Whole Year Through: The Instructor, 1949

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 11, 2010

The Instructor (successor to The Juvenile Instructor) and its parent auxiliary the Sunday School were the first to champion the collecting and organization of library materials for classroom use — in the 1940s and ’50s when the first big push was on, such libraries were not “meetinghouse” libraries or even “ward” libraries, but “Sunday School libraries.” The magazine very often published articles on how to mount pictures on cardboard, how to make maps and charts, and how to store unwieldy items that didn’t fit neatly into the cardboard file boxes. Eventually the magazine included color centerfolds of artworks and flannelboard story pieces, and many of the magazine’s stories were marked with suggested keywords for filing the articles in the library system.

You can tell from these 1949 covers that the editors are thinking “libraries!” Even though the covers are black and white, and even though some of the leaders pictured are men that you wouldn’t necessarily think would ever come up in a church class, these covers are ready-made to be mounted and put in the library. Even the magazine’s name and date are as small and unobtrusive as possible.

So … let’s see who was being preserved in our libraries in 1949:

Richard Ballantyne (founder of LDS Sunday School movement, at least in Utah)


George Q. Cannon (apostle, counselor in First Presidency)


Lorenzo Snow (prophet)


Joseph F. Smith (prophet)


David O. McKay (apostle, future prophet)


George D. Pyper (Sunday School superintendent, manager of Tabernacle Choir)


Milton Bennion (Sunday School superintendent, university-level educator)


Stephen L Richards (apostle)


George Goddard (long-time assistant to George Q. Cannon in his general Sunday School work)


Karl G. Maeser (second president of BYU, spiritual founder of LDS education)


George Richard Hill (Sunday School superintendent — you’ve met him here)


Richard Ballantyne (twice in one year!)




  1. Can I be the first to say – – Where are the women!?!

    Comment by Researcher — June 11, 2010 @ 7:00 am

  2. Ha! Mea culpa. I should have posted 1948 first, and will try to have those images loaded to post this afternoon.

    In 1948, 9 of the 12 covers, prepared in the same style as these 1949 covers, were the portraits of women. A 10th cover was a Mother’s Day photo of a mother and son.

    This one time, the missing women are my fault and nobody’s else’s.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 11, 2010 @ 7:18 am

  3. Whew! It’s much too beautiful a day to spend worrying about whether the editors of the Instructor in the late 1940s were reflective of the patriarchal establishment, blah blah blah.

    I was surprised to see that I knew who most of these men were, including George Goddard, whose story has been told from time to time as the “rag missionary.” I didn’t recognize George Hill, but your post mentioning him and some of the comments on that post were memorable.

    Comment by Researcher — June 11, 2010 @ 10:46 am

  4. I was called as a ward librarian in the 60s when I was in high school. The calling mostly consisted of sorting out the catch-all junk closet. We made those “cardboard file boxes” out of cereal boxes. I had no idea that there were people years before who had already pioneered this task.
    Thanks, Ardis, for sharing your research.

    Comment by charlene — June 11, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  5. Ardis, thanks for publishing this. I clicked on the link to the George R. Hill post and realized that I had missed the original post. After reading it, also I realized that “little Margaret” was my mother’s cousin. Her father was my grandmother’s brother, who had died young and left a family of small children. I remember visiting Margaret’s mother, my mother’s aunt and a very old woman, in Logan. I don’t remember meeting any of her children. They, including Margaret, were the same generation as my parents. I guess I may have met Margaret at her mother’s funeral, which I attended with my mother. As a child, I did not pay attention. I have learned again that we live in a small world. It also makes me want to find out more about my grandmother’s brothers and sisters and their families

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — June 11, 2010 @ 1:49 pm

  6. Another unforeseen Keepa connection! Thanks for writing this out, Jeff — I never could have guessed.

    charlene, with our chapels having entire rooms dedicated to ward libraries, and with the standard Gospel Art Kit, I’ll bet nearly all of us have forgotten (or never knew) what a struggle it was for librarians to provide classroom material to teachers. Sooo much work.

    I’m not going to get the 1948 covers up, as anybody who might have been watching must have guessed. I decided to type up the rather extensive biographical notes that accompanied each 1948 cover picture. Will put that one up the next time I feel like a “whole year through” post.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 11, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

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