Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Latter-day Saint Images, 1905

Latter-day Saint Images, 1905

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 10, 2011

In 1905, the church magazines were just beginning to publish photographs. The Juvenile Instructor, which had printed engravings (usually stock images purchased from art houses, although some Mormon-produced images did occasionally appear) pioneered with very occasional photographs of Latter-day Saints (members, missionaries, LDS buildings). The very young Improvement Era printed one illustration in each issue – with images at such a premium, they favored engravings of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, current leaders, and major LDS events, rather than ordinary Saints. The Young Woman’s Journal printed images of their leaders and very little else. The Liahona and Millennial Star had yet to embrace the technology and expense of publishing pictures.

Even in that year when our editors and publishers were experimenting with photography, we get a few images of ordinary Latter-day Saints, along with leaders and events. So – here we are, as we appeared in 1905:

(Unidentified English branch picnicking in High Park Wood)


Joseph Smith Monument, under construction near Royalton, Vermont


Roddy Roddey, South Carolina


Faculty housing at the Beaver Branch of Brigham Young University (Beaver, Utah; formerly the army outpost of Fort Cameron)


Joseph F. Smith party visiting the then-bald Hill Cumorah


Copenhagen, Denmark
Sunday School


Tuasivi, Samoa


LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City
(completed near the end of 1904, it was widely publicized in church publications in 1905)


Elders of the Rotterdam Conference, Netherlands Mission


Junius F. Wells, who conceived the idea of the Joseph Smith Monument near Royalton, Vermont;
won approval and financial support from the church;
and masterminded the construction of the monument,
all within a few months in 1905


Thun, Switzerland
Sunday School


Elmina Shepherd Taylor, outgoing president of the Young Ladies M.I.A.


Martha Horne Tingey, incoming president of the Young Ladies M.I.A.


Elders working in Nottingham, England


Calgary, Alberta, home to a rapidly growing Latter-day Saint community



  1. Great Pictures. Thanks Ardis. When I see these types of pictures and how few there are due to high costs, it reminds me that we are in a truly wondrous age where anyone can snap, print, post, almost anything and it will be distributed far and wide. We must do more to get the Gospel message out there for all to hear because we have been blessed by these technologies.

    Comment by Cliff — June 10, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  2. The Beaver Branch of BYU? If you thought there was nothing to do in Provo…

    Comment by Researcher — June 10, 2011 @ 9:59 am

  3. I spy Pres. Grant in that Dutch picture. Legrand Richards was in the country at the time, but I don’t see him (not sure I would recognize him anyway…)

    Also, I was unaware that BYU had branch campuses (“campi”?)back in the day. I learn something new everytime I visit!

    Comment by Clark — June 10, 2011 @ 10:05 am

  4. This picture was actually labeled in the source as “Beaver Branch of the Brigham Young University.” More commonly, I see it referred to as BAC (Branch Agricultural College), still a “branch” but not presuming classic university status.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 10, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  5. Really great photos, especially back then. I especially like the Joseph Smith monument one. But I am puzzled about the cables from the top of the scaffold running horizontally to somewhere. I don’t recall there being any high ground near the monument. Maybe they lead to very large trees. The slats along the side of scaffold must be a crude ladder – long before OSHA came on the scene. The snow on the ground helps confirm the great story about the ground freezing solid overnight so the road could handle the wheel loads of the ox wagons that carried the obelisk up the previously muddy road.

    Comment by CurtA — June 10, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  6. If I recall, BYU Provo was still struggling with fully accredited university status in the first couple of decades of the 20th century, having to beef up their library, get more faculty with PHD status, and updated lab equipment. I’m guessing the library and lab equipment for the Beaver BAC of BYU was somewhat less of an issue.

    Comment by kevinf — June 10, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  7. Should I not be surprised by the size of the Thun Sunday School?

    Comment by J. Stapley — June 10, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  8. J., Thun was one of the early footholds in Switzerland, but I’m still a little surprised by the size, too. In some parts of the US a lot of non-LDS children came to Mormon Sunday Schools but I doubt that was the case in Switzerland — there is too much history of severe persecution there early on. So even though I’m surprised, I suspect the kids are all LDS, a real Mormon Sunday School.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 10, 2011 @ 10:41 am

  9. In regards to post# 3 I think LeGrand Richards in in the first row (with the three elders seated). He is seated beneath president Grant and slightly to his right.

    If anyone has a copy of Lucille Tates biography of him I think this picture is in it and should tell me if I am right or wrong.

    Comment by john willis — June 10, 2011 @ 10:52 am

  10. John, you are correct, Elder Richards is on the front row furthest on the right with the moustache and seated with his arm on Pres. Grant.

    Comment by Cameron — June 10, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  11. Re: #5

    I think the “horizontal” guy wires are actually running down to the ground, like the others, but this photo was taken from inside the wires (that is, closer to the monument than the anchor points), so the slope of the cables isn’t obvious.

    Comment by lindberg — June 10, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  12. Google Maps doesn’t have any hits come up for a Roddy, SC (and yes, you knew that I’d be wondering about the pic from the Carolinas) Any further info to help isolate the spot?

    Comment by Chad Too — June 11, 2011 @ 12:15 am

  13. A Google text search doesn’t help at all, either. No, there is no more information — it’s just one of those random filler photos.

    Maybe someone with access to a census database for 1900 and 1910 can search for it (if no one has by the time I’m next in a library, I will.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 11, 2011 @ 2:13 am

  14. I will guess it is Roddey, SC, in York County southeast of Rock Hill. it shows up in Microsoft Streets and Trips sofware. The closest community on my Rand-McNally is Lesslie.

    Comment by CurtA — June 11, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  15. Curt scores a three-pointer. Thanks, Curt.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — June 11, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

  16. Interesting. That spot on the map is spitting distance from the Catawba Reservation but no one in the picture looks Native American. I’m guessing the Catawba had their own branch at the time.

    Comment by Chad Too — June 11, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

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