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Latter-day Saint Images, 1930

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 27, 2011

A new page from our Mormon family photo album: 1930

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Seagull Girls of Fillmore 1st Ward

Choir of Independence, Missouri

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Bakersfield, California

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Primary of Dallas, Texas
(all non-Mormon but one)

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West Hartlepool, England

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Silver Point, Tennessee

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Primary of Edinburgh, Scotland

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Trailbuilders of Pima, Arizona

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Takaroa, Tahiti Mission

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Natchitoches, Louisiana

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Primary of Page, Arizona

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Thermopolis, Nebraska Wyoming

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Primary Girls of Rancagua, Chile

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Vancouver, British Columbia

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Modesto, California

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Brussels, Belgium

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Haag, Austria

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Trailbuilders of Witchita, Kansas

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Trailbuilders of Vaughn, Montana

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Portland, Oregon

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Velez Sarsfield Branch, Argentina

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Primary of Etna Ward, Star Valley Stake, Wyoming



24 Comments »

  1. Ardis,

    Thanks for posting this. I really enjoy seeing these images from the past; these are snapshots in time, and I wonder what life was like for these people beyond the moment caught on camera.

    Could you, or other readers, shed some light on “trailbuilders” and “seagull girls” …. what is the history of those organizations?

    Comment by Tom O. — April 27, 2011 @ 7:14 am

  2. Both of those groups were the oldest classes of boys and girls in Primary, Tom. “Trailbuilders” was the overall name for the three oldest boys’ classes, known as Blazers, Trekkers, and Guides (or Guide Patrol). These names were consistent from the late 1920s until about 1970.

    And just as the boys were “trail builders,” the three oldest girls’ classes were “home builders” (their collective name until 1940), with the individual classes known as Larks, Bluebirds, and Seagulls (until 1959, when they became Gaynotes, Firelights, and Merrihands).

    After 1970, the boys became just Blazer A and B, and the girls Merrie Miss A and B.

    Because Primary was then a weekday activity rather than a Sunday class, these groups did a lot more kinds of activities than we associate with Primary today — crafts, service projects, parties, sports, field trips — so I think they tended to have their pictures taken as groups more often than other classes.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 7:25 am

  3. That haircut sure was popular with the ladies!

    Comment by HokieKate — April 27, 2011 @ 7:26 am

  4. I like those Bakersfield and Modesto chapels.

    Comment by Researcher — April 27, 2011 @ 7:45 am

  5. “Trailbuilder boys are happy

    Comment by Grant — April 27, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  6. Oops. I was going to sing as much of the song as I remembered, but my finger slipped and it went.

    Comment by Grant — April 27, 2011 @ 8:22 am

  7. Sure, sure, Grant — convenient excuse to shield a failing memory! :)

    Trail Builder boys are happy
    At home and across the sea.
    Life’s a joy, for we have freedom
    To become what we want to be.
    The joy of the gospel guides us
    Over paths our leaders trod.
    With courage strong, we move along
    On the trail to the priesthood of God.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 8:28 am

  8. Ardis – you know everything. At least the tune is still in my head – along with “Like unto us” and the “Tom Trails Theme.”

    Comment by Grant — April 27, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  9. Isn’t Thermopolis in Wyoming, not Nebraska?

    Comment by Clark — April 27, 2011 @ 10:07 am

  10. Google says you’re right, Clark. The magazine labeled in Nebraska — maybe they meant it was part of the Nebraska district or conference in terms of church organization?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 10:20 am

  11. I hate to BE picky, but you have a picture of the primary in Page, Arizona in 1930. Page wasn’t founded until the mid 1950′s when the Glen Canyon Dam was constructed. Was there another Page in Arizona in 1930???

    Comment by john willis — April 27, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  12. Dunno, john, that’s the identification on the picture from the Children’s Friend. Perhaps someone with access to an online census could see whether there is a Page in Arizona in 1930? I don’t know what to tell you, john, but that’s a good catch.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  13. Oh my goodness. I looked and looked at that picture of the Page Primary and thought there was something wrong with it, but couldn’t figure out what it was. (I was wondering if it wasn’t perhaps the absence of any Native Americans in the picture.) Thanks for figuring that out, John!

    (Perhaps the Friend was being prescient. : )

    I just looked through the menus for the 1930 census for Arizona, with particular attention to the counties with larger Mormon populations including Coconino County where Page is now, and did not see any place by that name.

    I also looked through a number of historical directories, the only historical gazetteer of Arizona I could find online, McClintock’s history of the Mormon settlements in Arizona, Google Books (that search was hard to narrow down because of the town name!), and several directories of Arizona ghost towns. Nothing there.

    The (probably coincidentally named) H. R. Page Company of Chicago made a map of Arizona in 1889. It’s beautiful, but I’ve been poring over it and cannot see a Page.

    Despite all this looking, it is, of course, possible that there was a settlement called Page in 1930, after all there were a number of short-term settlements and name changes in the state; for example, Mesa was called “Zenos” for a glorious two or three years in the late 1880s.

    Comment by Researcher — April 27, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  14. Thanks, Researcher, for all that checking. I’ll have to leaf through the Children’s Friend again (not immediately, but I’ll do it). It’s possible that I did something as stupid as a typo, that this is really from 1950, or that the place is really “Pace” or something like that. I’ll figger it out.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  15. The hairstyle of the woman looks right for 1930. I also wondered about the large cut-stone wall behind the group. What could that be? It looks like a very substantial structure.

    Comment by Researcher — April 27, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  16. I attended church at the ward in Natchitoches, LA about 6 years ago. I was surprised to learn that there are 4th and 5th generation latter-day saints in the ward.

    Fascinating to think that some of those young boys in the picture might have been the old men I sat in priesthood meeting with.

    Comment by Mark Brown — April 27, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

  17. Got it! It *was* a typo, but not in the date. This picture appears in the June 1930 Children’s Friend as the Primary of PAGO, Arizona. But that complicates things, too — isn’t it Papago rather than Pago? And these certainly aren’t Indian children.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  18. Ardis, if you don’t mind, there is an interesting story about one of the first members in the state. The Red Rock branch in Natchitoches parish was the first branch in the state and Alex Wagley was one of the earliest converts. He was a merchant and community leader. He was once accompanying two missionaries when all three of them were taken hostage. The kidnappers intended to do harm to the elders and they encouraged Wagley to leave. However, Br. Wagley knew that as long as he was with the elders they would be safe. He stayed with them and eventually they were all released without harm.

    His gravestone is inscribed with the passage from Ezekiel 37:16-19, about the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph.

    Comment by Mark Brown — April 27, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  19. I also wonder about a primary in Rancagua, Chile in 1930. Parley Pratt was in Chile in the mid 1800s and got nowhere. The church didn’t go back until the 1960s as far as I know.

    Comment by KLC — April 27, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  20. Mark, do you know enough about that to write a guest post? It would be a real crowd pleaser!

    KLC, no, that one is correct. This may have been a government or NGO-like situation where missionaries or an expat Mormon mother organized a neighborhood Primary among families with a similar purpose for being in Chile, the way they did in those days; the caption (I didn’t reproduce it here) for this group of girls and a companion picture of some boys notes the nationality of each child, and virtually every child comes from a different country. They’re mostly European. There isn’t enough information in the caption to give a satisfactory explanation.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  21. Natchitoches parish is in the stake next to mine.

    Comment by HokieKate — April 27, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  22. Ardis, sure, I’d be happy to. It is a great story, and somewhere I have a picture of his grave. However, it might take a while — month or two, maybe. It really is a wonderful story of an heroic man.

    Comment by Mark Brown — April 27, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  23. I’d love it, Mark. Obviously you have your own blog to post it on, but it would be perfect for Keepa if you’d be willing to do it here — anytime.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 27, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  24. Wonderful images!

    The photo of all the non-Mormon children surprised me — especially since the group was located in Texas. What right-thinking Texan mother would let her children participate with the Mormons?! [wink]

    Comment by David Y. — April 28, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

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