Friday, June 10, 2011

LaFawn's Art in The Children's Friend

I spent several hours today at the Church History Library scanning Mom's artwork in old copies of The Children's Friend magazine.
Prior to the new library, you could only print from old microfiches and the quality of the pictures was poor due to bad lighting and bleed-through from the reverse side. Now they let you do high quality scanning from original magazines, which you can save to a thumb drive or SD card. I only finished 2 1/2 years worth and will need to go back again. Lots of memories in the pages I skimmed today. I will be posting all of LaFawn's Children's Friend artwork and activity pages on this blog.

The Children's Friend was the official magazine of the LDS Church for children between 1902 and 1970. May Anderson, a convert and immigrant from Liverpool, England was the first editor-in-chief of The Children's Friend, as well as the second general President of the Primary. During her tenure, Anderson initiated the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake. I well remember the Primary penny collection fund drives to support Primary Children's. Mom did the artwork for at least one fund drive.

The women I remember Mom working with in the 1950's were LaVern Parmley and Erma Gardner.

Parmley served as Primary president until she was succeeded by Naomi M. Shumway in 1974; in total, she served 23 years as president and 32 years as a member of the presidency.

During Parmley's tenure, Scouting was integrated into the Primary program for boys ages eight through eleven. The Primary curriculum was also revised and became more centered on teaching doctrines of the LDS Church, as did the magazine. "I Am a Child of God", written by Naomi W. Randall, was introduced to Primary in 1957 as part of the annual Primary sacrament meeting program. It was first printed in the same issue as Mom's first artwork in The Children's Friend, June, 1957. From 1951 until 1970, Parmley was the final editor of The Children's Friend. Parmley oversaw its phase-out and the launch of the church's new magazine for children, The Friend.

Erma and Harold Gardner lived near our Wyoming Street home. They had about 12 kids and owned a fruit farm on the east bench of Salt Lake City and sold bedding plants and fruit for many years. I remember watching the kids make lunches in their kitchen in an assembly line : sandwiches from homemade bread at the two picnic tables they used for meals.

Erma served on the Primary General Board, Adult Correlation Committee and Children's Writing Committee. She wrote Three Steps to Good Teaching, which Mom illustrated, numerous lessons for family home evening and other parenting articles in the Children's Friend, which Mom illustrated, and primary manuals, especially the new manuals for the girls 8-11: Gaynotes, Firelights and Merrihands. LaFawn worked on covers and interior art for all three; her favorite was the Gaynote manual, for which she did the cover artwork. Karen found that Helen Stay, her other grandma, had torn off and saved the cover from that manual in her Primary files; it was beautiful.

Sadly, Mom was never called to the General Board, as Dad was not a full-tithe payer during the years she served, but she had a tremendous impact on Primary by improving the quality of artwork and increasingly using Gospel-related materials in the curriculum and magazine rather than talking animals and fairy stories.


tpmotd said...

Thanks, Mom. It's nice to see those.

Ds said...

These are wonderful, I look forward to seeing the others.