Photographs of the Fourteen Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, September and October 1898

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Photographs of the Fourteen Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, September and October 1898

Author Richard Neitzel Holzapfel Author Ronald L. Fox

When President Wilford Woodruff died, the fourteen Apostles gathered for the funeral in Salt Lake. Charles R. Savage took a photograph of the service on September 8, 1898, creating the second-earliest photo of all of the Apostles together. The Apostles sat for a group portrait right after the funeral. After seeking guidance from the Lord, senior Apostle Lorenzo Snow decided to reorganize the First Presidency right away, and a group photo taken on September 13, 1898, shows, through the seating arrangement, that the new presidency had been formed. When Rudger Clawson was called as the newest Apostle on October 10, 1898, the Church leaders had yet another photo taken which included him. On this day, the Apostles had individual photos taken also. The authors show the connections among these several photos, providing dates and background information to these photos that was not previously known.


Ninety-one-year-old Wilford Woodruff, fourth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died unexpectedly at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday morning, September 2, 1898, during a visit to San Francisco, California.1 Woodruff’s well-attended funeral was held six days later, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 8, 1898, at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.2 Sixty-six-year-old George Teasdale, one of the Church’s fourteen Apostles, reported, “Weather sunshine and fair Arose early and . . . went to Woodruff villa and saw the body of our beloved President laying in state. . . . saw the body borne into the hearse and the family placed in the carriages and then entered our carriage and joined the procession to the Tabernacle. At the Tabernacle we took our seats on the stand and attended the services.”3

The scene in the Tabernacle was preserved by Charles R. Savage in a stunning photograph measuring 40 × 30 cm or 15.7 × 11.8 inches (fig. 1).4 Savage was, by 1898, a well-known and experienced photographer with the necessary skills to capture an indoor scene like this one. Nelson Wadsworth, a well-known photographic historian, opines, “Of all the [Utah] photographers . . . , Savage was by far the most prolific and influential. His inspiration spread far beyond the confines of his work.”5

Savage’s photo captured the moment when seventy-seven-year-old Franklin D. Richards stood at the pulpit offering a prayer at the beginning of the service (fig. 2). Richards noted in his journal that day, “Attended funeral—went with the procession & corpse from President WWs residence in Farmers Ward to Big Tabernacle where I prayed and spoke.”6

More significantly, Savage captured the fourteen Apostles on the stand. This was not the first time Savage had photographed the Apostles in a group setting. In 1868, Savage took the earliest known photograph of the combined members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a view that included Brigham Young and his counselors in the First Presidency, at a makeshift outdoor studio next to the Beehive House, Young’s home located at 67 East South Temple Street in Salt Lake City.7 However, in the 1898 Woodruff funeral photograph, Savage captures the fourteen Apostles at a time when they, as a quorum, began to preside over the Church, without an organized First Presidency in place.

After the impressive funeral services, Woodruff’s casket was taken to the Salt Lake City cemetery, where it was removed from the hearse at exactly 2:45 p.m.8 Fifty-eight-year-old Francis M. Lyman, one of the fourteen Apostles, dedicated the grave in a heartfelt prayer.9 Then, according to Teasdale, “The coffin was lowered in a wealth of flowers into the grave. The flowers, florals emblems and baskets were numerous and lovely. The grave was covered with them.”10

Several Apostles who wrote about the day included an important detail about a group photography session. Teasdale wrote, “After the funeral obsequies we drove to Johnson the photographer and had a group taken of the fourteen apostles.”11 Richards mentioned, “Rode in carriage with President G.Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith & Brigham Young to the grave then with the other 13 met at Sain[s]bury and Johnson & they took our likenesses in a group.”12 Forty-nine-year-old John Henry Smith, another Apostle, noted, “All of the Apostles went to Johnson’s Art Galery and sat for a group picture.”13 Fifty-four-year-old Anthon H. Lund, also an Apostle, recorded, “We left the graveyard and went to Bro Johnson studio and had our pictures taken together in a group.”14

Seventy-one-year-old George Q. Cannon, an Apostle and First Counselor to Woodruff in the First Presidency, mentioned the reason the fourteen Apostles gathered at Johnson’s studio following the funeral, “After the services at the grave, we drove to Brother Charles E. Johnson’s photograph gallery, he having made a request that we should do so, and we stood in a group and had our pictures taken.”15 Fortunately, the fourteen Apostles accepted Johnson’s invitation to come to his studio so he could capture an important moment in Church history—a time when the Apostles became responsible for leading the Church following the death of a Church President. The multi-attested photograph session most likely highlights the importance of this occasion for the fourteen Apostles—it was only the second time in the history of the Church that the Apostles gathered for a formal group photograph. Wadsworth tells us that Charles Ellis Johnson “was one of the most prolific and enterprising photographers on the Mormon scene. He photographed thousands of people in his modern, state-of-the-art studio in Salt Lake City.”16 Johnson’s studio was located at 56 S. West Temple Street.17 In this remarkable large-format photograph measuring 51 × 61 cm or 20 × 24 inches, the fourteen Apostles face Johnson’s camera in the first formal portrait of all living Apostles without an organized First Presidency (fig. 3).

The Apostles’ diaries and letters during the six-day period between Woodruff’s death in San Francisco on September 2 and the group’s arrival at Johnson’s photography studio on September 8 reveal some of their thoughts and feelings at the time. Cannon, for example, was still trying to fully grasp what had happened during the past week and what was going to happen in the next few days, weeks, and months. His biographer, Davis Bitton, observes, “Cannon was holding Woodruff’s wrist at the time of his death: ‘I took hold of his wrist, felt his pulse, and I could feel that it was very faint, and while I stood there it grew fainter and fainter until it faded entirely.’ Cannon was shaken. ‘I cannot describe the feeling I had,’ he wrote. ‘The event was so unexpected, so terrible, and away from home! I could not understand it. I felt that I had lost the best friend I had on earth.’”18 Bitton adds, “The First Presidency was automatically dissolved. Just what the future might hold for the infirm and grieving George Q. Cannon was not at all obvious.”19 Cannon confided in his private journal his efforts to control his emotions as he spoke in the funeral, “I almost choked down once or twice, but contrived to control my emotions. I have felt quite nervous about this meeting.”20 Johnson’s September 8 photograph was taken less than an hour after Woodruff’s casket had been lowered into the grave, and Cannon appears to be trying to hold his emotions steady as he stares into the camera.

Eighty-four-year-old Lorenzo Snow, the oldest Apostle and now the most senior Apostle, had earnestly prayed for Woodruff’s life to be extended beyond his own for some time.21 Now responsible for dealing with several major challenges facing the Church, including its significant financial debt and obligations, Snow gazes at the camera with a look of resignation, accepting his new responsibility as the de facto leader of the Church because it was given to him, not because he sought it.22 Nevertheless, Snow had indicated earlier in the day that he was not worried about the work moving forward under the direction of the fourteen Apostles: “The Quorum of the Apostles . . . was never as able to handle such a responsibility as it was at the present time. It was fully organized and the brethren were in perfect union and accord with each other, and faithful and devoted to the trust reposed in them. . . . There was no danger as to the outcome of the work of God. It had been established for a purpose and that purpose would be accomplished, and the Church progress and increase in the earth, no matter how many of the authorities were called to another sphere.”23

At the other end of seniority among the fourteen Apostles was its youngest member, twenty-five-year-old Abraham O. Woodruff. He looks directly into the camera—appearing without long side burns, mustache, or beard—representing a new generation of Church leaders.

Woodruff, like the other thirteen Apostles, was shocked by the Church President’s death in California. However, Woodruff’s loss was more personal—he lost his ecclesiastical leader and his own father. Unfortunately, no journal of his exists for this period that would help us understand his feelings at this time.

In this rare photograph, the fourteen Apostles were not positioned strictly by seniority as is common in most formal photographs of the Twelve, beginning with Savage’s early photograph of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taken in 1868. The seniority of the fourteen Apostles in September 1898 was as follows: (1) Lorenzo Snow and (2) Franklin D. Richards were sustained on February 12, 1849; (3) George Q. Cannon was sustained on August 26, 1860; (4) Joseph F. Smith was ordained an Apostle on July 1, 1866, and sustained on October 8, 1867; (5) Brigham Young Jr. was ordained an Apostle on February 4, 1864, and sustained on October 9, 1868; (6) Francis M. Lyman and (7) John Henry Smith were sustained on October 27, 1880; (8) George Teasdale and (9) Heber J. Grant were sustained on October 16, 1882; (10) John W. Taylor was sustained on April 9, 1884; (11) Marriner W. Merrill and (12) Anthon H. Lund were sustained on October 7, 1889; and (13) Matthias F. Cowley and (14) Abraham O. Woodruff were sustained on October 7, 1896.24 A factor in the decision to somewhat ignore the seniority may have included an effort to produce an aesthetically and proportioned image (note the placement of the Apostles on the back row). Nevertheless, seniority played a partial role in staging those in the front row, as the most senior Apostles, including Lorenzo Snow, Brigham Young Jr., Franklin D. Richards, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith, were all seated—a traditional position in nineteenth-century portrait photography showing honor and respect. However, Anthon H. Lund, seated to the far right, is the exception, as he was a newer member of the quorum. Interestingly, Cannon and Smith were seated immediately left of Snow, not on either side of Snow as one might expect (see fig. 2). Their positions next to Snow most likely demonstrated respect for their recent assignments as counselors in the First Presidency but still recognized Snow’s place as the head of the quorum.

Cannon and Smith were officially received back into the Quorum of the Twelve on the following day, Friday, September 9, 1898, “These two brethren [George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith], by unanimous vote of the Council of the Twelve (now presiding over the Church in lieu of the First Presidency just dissolved) were received back as members of that body, and took their seats in the Council according to order of ordination, with President Lorenzo Snow presiding.” In another symbolic action signaling the end of Woodruff’s presidency, Cannon and Smith were given their personal desks they had used in the President’s office and “authorized to take them away from the office.”25

The date of this historic photograph (fig. 3) is confirmed by the discovery of a smaller cabinet-size version of the same image in the Johnson Collection at the Church History Library (figs. 4 and 5).26 The printed caption on the image also identifies the exact time Johnson took the photograph: “Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President’s Counselors of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Photographed by C.E. Johnson Sept 8th, 1898, 4 P. M. Copyright 1898 by The Johnson Company.”

Two days after the funeral, on Saturday, September 10, Arthur Winter, a secretary, reporter, and recently appointed assistant chief clerk in the President’s Office, noted, “There is no First Presidency now, and it seems peculiar to us in the office. President Cannon and Smith have taken their place in the quorum of the Twelve and [the] Twelve, from present indications, are going to manage the affairs of the Church for some little time to come. President Snow is the head of the quorum and as such presides over the Church until the First Presidency is reorganized.”27

Three days later, on Tuesday, September 13, Cannon noted, “A meeting of the Twelve Apostles was called for 10 o’clock this morning. All were present—14 in number.”28 Utah Senator Frank J. Cannon, the son of George Q. Cannon, reported his recent efforts to secure an important loan for the Church in the amount of 1.5 million dollars. Still experiencing the effects of the US federal government’s prosecution and persecution during the 1880s, the Church’s efforts to invigorate Utah’s economy, and the national financial panic of 1893, the Church needed the loan to continue operations.29 After Frank Cannon finished his report, he was excused so the Apostles could discuss what to do next. George Q. Cannon noted, “No one spoke for a little.”30

Realizing it was imperative to send a signal to those back East that someone was in control of the Church’s financial affairs, George Q. Cannon broke the silence and proposed that a Trustee-in-trust be appointed immediately. Cannon’s suggestion to appoint a Trustee-in-trust had nothing to do with an effort to appoint a new Church President, so Cannon was astonished when forty-one-year-old Heber J. Grant “threw out the idea (he was sitting down at the time) that it might be well to organize the First Presidency.” Cannon added, “Brother F.M. Lyman . . . arose and advocated the organization of the First Presidency.”31

This was an unexpected surprise given the traditional waiting period between the death of a Church President and the reorganization of a new First Presidency. Former BYU professor Martin B. Hickman provides a brief outline of this process from the death of Joseph Smith in 1844 to the Woodruff administration, which began in 1889:

For the next three years [following the death of Joseph Smith in 1844] the Church was governed by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with Brigham Young as president of the quorum. In December 1847, following the pioneer journey to the Rocky Mountains, the First Presidency was reorganized and Brigham Young was named President of the Church.

Though the right of the Quorum of the Twelve to reconstitute the First Presidency was firmly established, there have been other short periods when the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles governed the Church before a new First Presidency was organized. John Taylor, president of the quorum when Brigham Young died in 1877, did not have the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles formally reorganize the First Presidency until 1880. A similar interim existed after his death in 1887. Wilford Woodruff as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles directed the affairs of the Church on the basis of that position until 1889.32

In his remarks, Lyman reminded the other Apostles of President Woodruff’s instruction that, upon his death, “the First Presidency of the Church should be organized without delay.”33 Lyman then addressed Snow directly, saying, “And if the Lord should manifest to you, President Snow, that it was the proper thing to do now, I am prepared to not only vote for a Trustee-and-trust, but for the President of the Church.” Lyman added that he “saw no reason why this action should not be taken at the present meeting.”34

After several Apostles spoke in favor of reorganizing the First Presidency, the action was sustained by the council. Richards succinctly recorded, “Council in Presidents office 14 Apostles present elected Prest Lorenzo Snow 1st president he chose G.Q. Cannon 1st, & J.F. Smith 2nd Counselors—Prest Snow Trustee in Trust and F. D. Richards President of the Twelve Apostles.”35

Cannon continued his description of the meeting: “President Snow arose and stated his feelings. He told how he had felt very depressed, almost discouraged in his feelings, in view of the load that rested upon him, and he had g[o]ne before the Lord, clothed in his temple robes, and sought the mind of the Lord. In answer to his prayer, the Lord had revealed to him that the First Presidency should be organized, and who his counselors should be, and he had felt thankful for this.”36 Snow further declared, “The First Presidency should be organized before the next conference.”37

Cannon reflected, “The feeling to organize the First Presidency appeared to be a spontaneous one among the Apostles. I said nothing on this point. I felt very much surprised, however, at the unanimity that was displayed.”38 After being nominated to become Snow’s First Counselor in a new First Presidency, Cannon further noted:

I was very much overcome by emotion; for I have been very much exercised in my feelings, dreading to some extent a repetition of former scenes, and I had prayed most earnestly to the Lord that I might be delivered from censure or condemnation. I did not expect to be called as a counselor, and President Snow was about to put the motion to vote when I arose and requested the privilege of saying a few words. I could not talk for some little time, being choked with emotion and what I d [sic] did say was interrupted by my feelings; for I could not restrain my tears. I told the brethren that I was willing in my heart to act in any position, however humble. I did wish to retain my Apostleship, but as to station or place I had no choice, only what the Lord chose. I was deeply honored by this, and I trusted I would have the love and confidence of my brethren, and I would endeavor to the best of my ability to discharge the duties of the office and to sustain President Snow.39

When the meeting ended, John Henry Smith reflected, “The feeling was the very best.”40 Arthur Winter responded positively to the decision to reorganize the First Presidency immediately:

At a meeting of the Twelve Apostles this morning, held at the President’s Office, the First Presidency was organized, with Lorenzo Snow as President, and George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as his Counselors. This action was a surprise to all, as so speedy a reorganization was totally unexpected. The Apostles themselves, when they went into this meeting, had no idea of taking such action, but in their deliberation, the Spirit of the Lord moved upon them to organize the First Presidency at once. This result was very gratifying to all at the office. Brother Franklin D. Richards is now President of the Twelve Apostles.41

Another historic photograph, well known and previously published, was taken of the fourteen Apostles after the motion to reorganize the First Presidency was sustained on September 13. Cannon recorded, “We had appointed 2 o’clock as the time that we should go to the art gallery of Brother C. R. Savage and we sat as a group—14 Apostles—for our likeness to be taken.” John Henry Smith added, “We went to Savage’s Art Galery and were taken in a group.”42 Richards also noted, “With the other 13 sat at C. R. Savages for our likenesses in group.”43

Savage’s photography studio was located at 12–14 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City, not far from the President’s Office at 67 E. South Temple Street.44 Savage took at least two separate photographs during this visit (figs. 6 and 7). It is clear that only a few moments elapsed between taking the photographs. Note the changed position of several Apostles’ hands. For example, in figure 6, Brigham Young Jr. placed his right hand into his coat and in figure 7 the hand is removed.45 In these views, Lorenzo Snow is seated in the center, with George Q. Cannon to his immediate right and Joseph F. Smith to his immediate left, definitely demonstrating the decision made earlier in the day to reorganize the First Presidency. The group remained fourteen Apostles because a new apostle had not been chosen to fill the vacancy created by Woodruff’s death. The series of photos in this article show the evolving relationships of the Apostles.

George F. Gibbs, secretary and stenographer of the First Presidency, published a brief announcement of the decision to reorganize the First Presidency in a local Salt Lake City newspaper that evening addressed to “The Officers and Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

A special meeting of the Council of Apostles was held this morning for the purpose of considering important business of a financial character. . . . During the deliberations the necessity of appointing a trustee-in-trust for the Church became apparent in order that its business might be properly transacted, and while thus deliberating, several of the brethren expressed themselves to the effect that the present was a most opportune time to organize the First Presidency and so unanimous was this sentiment that a motion was made to that effect and carried. Lorenzo Snow was then nominated and sustained as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.46

Less than a month later, on Thursday, October 6, 1898, the October general conference of the Church opened. On Saturday, October 8, 1898, the “Presidency and Apostles met at the Temple and agreed to have Rudger Clawson fill a vacancy in the Council of the Apostles.”47 Forty-one-year-old Clawson was the president of the Box Elder Stake in northern Utah at the time and had been incarcerated with Snow in the Utah penitentiary at Sugar House in the late 1880s. This important meeting was “held in the Celestial Room of the Temple immediately after the close of the morning session of the regular conference, all of the Presidency and eleven of the Quorum being present.”48 On the following day, Sunday, October 9, the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles, including Clawson, were sustained in general conference.49 Interestingly, Savage decided to edit and reprint his well-known September 13, 1898, photograph after Clawson was called as the newest Apostle by inserting Clawson’s photograph between George Teasdale and Marriner W. Merrill in the back row (fig. 8).

On the day following the sustaining of Church officers, Monday, October 10, 1898, the “First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles, at 10 o’clock this morning, met at the President’s office and proceeded thence to the photographic gallery of Fox and Symons, for the purpose of sitting in a group for their portrait.” 50 Lund also noted, “We went down to [Charles W.] Symons and had our pictures taken.”51 Sixty-six-year-old Marriner W. Merrill added, “Went to Simons Art Galery with the first Presidency & Twelve sat in a group for our Pictures again, This is the Third Art-Galery we have sat in since Pred Woodruff Died for Group.”52 Merrill emphasized the significance of this event—it was the third time the Apostles had sat for a formal portrait since Woodruff’s death.

The Fox and Symons photography studio was located 332 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City.53 Charles W. Symons had joined Alexander Fox in 1874. After Fox died in 1882, Symons kept the name and “concentrated on studio portraits.”54 Symons took at least two photographs on this special occasion (fig. 9 and fig. 10). The slight variations between the photographs suggest they were taken within a few moments of each other. For example, note the position of Joseph F. Smith’s right hand.

George Q. Cannon provided an explanation to why the “official” photograph was taken before Clawson’s ordination took place: “We had intended, at 10 o’clock this morning, to ordain Brother Rudger Clawson, but Brother Franklin D. Richards was not here, the train having been delayed. We therefore, at 10:30, went down to Brother Symon’s photography gallery to get our portraits taken in a group The First Presidency sat in one group, and the First Presidency and Twelve in another group.”55 Richards noted, “To City 37 mi a nice Autumn day Train late went directly to brother Symons Art Gallery was photographed in group with Presidency & 12 Apostles.”56 Cannon noted two distinct group photographs were taken by Symons on this occasion, “The First Presidency sat in one group” and “the First President and the Twelve in another group.” 57 A well-known image of the First Presidency (fig. 11) is most likely the one referred to by Cannon. A close examination of the backdrop, chairs, and the men’s clothing suggest the First Presidency photograph was taken the same day as the ones of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles (figs. 9 and 10).

At twelve noon, the group “returned to the [President’s] office, and attended to the ordination of Elder Rudger Clawson as a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles.”58 Forty-two-year-old Heber J. Grant noted, “Retd to President’s office where Rudger Clawson was ordained and Apostle 14 of us placing our hands on his head. Prest Cannon was mouth.”59 The combined group of Apostles, including Clawson, then laid hands on the head of Lorenzo Snow and set him apart as the fifth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This action was followed by the setting apart of George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as counselors in the First Presidency and Franklin D. Richards as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.60 Teasdale summarized the events, “Went to the office and met with the presidency and Twelve. . . . Pres Richards was detained through the train being late. We went to Fox and Symons and [for] a group picture of the Presidency and Twelve. There were present Presidents L. Snow, George Q Cannon Jos. F. Smith, F. D. Richards, B. Young, F. M. Lyman, John Hy Smith, Geo. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. When we had our likeness taken we returned to the office and had a meeting of great moment—Elder Rudger Clawson was ordained an apostle President Snow being mouth under the hands of Pres & Twelve Then President Snow was set apart to preside over the Church [Pres?] Geo. Q. Cannon being mouth Geo. Q. Cannon was set apart as First Counselor. [Pres?] Snow being mouth Joseph F. Smith was set apart as Second Counselor. Franklin D Richards as President of the Twelve Apostles. The President L. Snow gave the charge to Apostle Rudger Clawson and Pres Jos F Smith and Geo. Q. Cannon some items. Apostle Rudger Clawson responded.” Teasdale added, “We had a glorious meeting.”61

Following the ordinations, several of the Apostles, including Grant, Lund, Lyman, Merrill, Teasdale, and Woodruff returned to the Fox and Symons studio.62 Merrill noted this visit was for individual portraits: “Then I went to art-Galery and set alone for my Photograph.”63

Individual portraits of several Apostles are found in the collection “Joseph F. Smith Personal Photographs circa 1860–1918” (PH 2016) at the Church History Library. Each one is dated 1898 and identified on the reverse side (fig. 13). Each portrait is printed on Fox and Symons cabinet card stock (figs. 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). A comparison of these individual portraits to the October 10, 1898, group photograph shows each Apostle wearing the same clothing, indicating that these individual portraits are the photographs mentioned in the journals as having been taken on the same day.

Cannon noted on that same day, Monday, October 10, “At 4 o’clock we took dinner at Brother John R. Winder’s by invitation.”64 The party consisted of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, some of their wives and a few additional guests, including Emma Woodruff, President Woodruff’s widow. Bishop John R. Winder’s home, known as Popular Farm, was located three miles south of Salt Lake City. This was perhaps the first dinner the First Presidency, Twelve Apostles, and their wives had attended together since the Church had been organized—according to President Snow, “the like[s] [of which] had not been known before in this Dispensation.”65 Heber J. Grant added, “After dinner Prest. Snow arose and expressed his great pleasure at this gathering, said so far as he knew that it was the first time in the history of the Church that all the Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Apostles had sat down with their wives at a table to partake of the bounties of life. Referred to the splendid dinner which had been prepared for us and complimented Bro. Winder and his family. He closed his remarks by moving that we all meet here again in six months from today.”66 Cannon also noted, “It was a remarkable scene to see the First Presidency and Twelve and their wives sit down to one table.”67

These historic photographs, dated September 8, 1898, September 13, 1898, and October 10, 1898, provide a window into a specific and significant period in LDS history—a time of mourning and rejoicing, change and continuation, and the end of one First Presidency and the beginning of a new one. The precise dating of the photographs provides viewers an opportunity to gaze into the eyes of the Apostles, examine their facial expressions, notice their body language, and appreciate more fully the various emotions each may have been experiencing at a specific moment in their lives and in the history of the Church they served.


Richard Neitzel Holzapfel is a professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, on a university leave of absence during 2018. He earned a BA from BYU in political science and an MA and PhD in history from University of California, Irvine. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Latter-day Saint history and Mormon historic photographs.

Ronald L. Fox is an independent researcher and leading expert on Latter-day Saint photography. He was employed by the California Assembly and Senate and served for over twenty years as a corporate governmental affairs representative. Additionally, he served six US presidents as a professional volunteer advance man, traveling the world planning and preparing for presidential visits and events. He is the author of several books and articles in Latter-day Saint history and Mormon historic photographs.

The authors acknowledge the work of Stanley James Thayne, a former research assistant at BYU, in preparing a research report, “Images of Transition: Lorenzo Snow and the 1898 Reorganization of the First Presidency,” in January 2000.


1. George Q. Cannon to Joseph F. Smith, September 2, 1898, Joseph F. Smith Papers, 1854–1918, Correspondence, Letterpress copybooks, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

2. “Consigned to the Tomb,” Deseret News, September 8, 1898, 1.

3. George Teasdale, Journal, September 8, 1898, 241–42, George Teasdale Papers, 1853–1906, MS 13496, Church History Library.

4. Another print of the funeral photograph has survived with a handwritten note, in Joseph F. Smith’s hand, on the reverse side: “Jos. F. Smith Sept. 10. 1898 Compliments of C. R. Savage Pres. Woodruff’s funeral Sept. 8. 1898.” PH 2605, Church History Library.

5. Nelson B. Wadsworth, Set in Stone, Fixed in Glass: The Great Mormon Temple and Its Photographers (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992), 124.

6. Franklin D. Richards, Journal, September 8, 1898, Richards Family Collection, 1837–1961, MS 1215, Church History Library.

7. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and R. Q. Shupe, Brigham Young: Images of a Mormon Prophet (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 204–5.

8. “The Line of March,” Deseret Evening News, September 8, 1898, 2.

9. “Line of March,” 2.

10. Teasdale, Journal, September 8, 1898, 241–42.

11. Teasdale, Journal, September 8, 1898, 242.

12. Richards, Journal, September 8, 1898. Richards’s reference to “Sain[s]bury and Johnson” reflects an earlier partnership between Charles E. Johnson and Hyrum Sainsbury in Salt Lake City that ended about 1893.

13. John Henry Smith, Diary, September 8, 1898, John Henry Smith diaries, 1874–1911, MS 5129, Church History Library, as quoted in Jean Bickmore White, ed., Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), 407.

14. Anthon H. Lund, Journal, September 8, 1898, Anthon H. Lund Collection, 1860–1921, MS 5375, Church History Library, as quoted in John P. Hatch, ed., Danish Apostle: The Diaries of Anthon H. Lund, 1890–1921 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2006), 44.

15. George Q. Cannon, Journal, September 8, 1898, George Q. Cannon Collection, 1825–1901, MS 4777, Church History Library.

16. Wadsworth, Set in Stone, Fixed in Glass, 274.

17. R. L. Polk & Co. Salt Lake City Directory 1898 (Salt Lake City: R. L. Polk and Company Publishers, 1898), 890.

18. Davis Bitton, George Q. Cannon: A Biography (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999), 422.

19. Bitton, George Q. Cannon, 423.

20. Cannon, Journal, September 8, 1898.

21. John P. Hatch, “From Prayer to Visitation: Reexamining Lorenzo Snow’s Vision of Jesus Christ in the Salt Lake Temple,” Journal of Mormon History 42, no. 3 (2016): 165.

22. Edward Leo Lyman, “George Q. Cannon’s Economic Strategy in the 1890s Depression,” Journal of Mormon History 29, no. 2 (2003), 4–41.

23. “Consigned to the Tomb,” Deseret Evening News, September 8, 1898, 1.

24. Most issues related to seniority had been resolved during Brigham Young’s and John Taylor’s administrations. However, one issue had not been settled authoritatively—the positions of Brigham Young Jr. and Joseph F. Smith in the Quorum of the Twelve. This issue was finally resolved in 1900, when Lorenzo Snow ruled that Smith was ahead of Young based on when each had become a member of the quorum instead of when they had been ordained Apostles. See Travis Q. Mecham, “Changes in Seniority to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (master’s thesis, Utah State University, 2009), 46–53.

25. Journal History of the Church, 1896–2001, September 9, 1898, 2, CR 100 137, Church History Library.

26. The cabinet card consisted of a photograph mounted on a card typically measuring 10.8 × 16.5 cm. By the early 1880s, the cabinet card, introduced in 1866, had replaced the popular Carte de Visite, or CDV, introduced in 1859, and became the dominant portrait format and remained so until the end of the nineteenth century.

27. Arthur Winter, Journal, September 10, 1898, 227, Arthur Winter Collection, 1883–1940, MS 9641, Church History Library.

28. Cannon, Journal, September 13, 1898.

29. See Ronald W. Walker, “Crisis in Zion: Heber J. Grant and the Panic of 1893,” BYU Studies 43, no. 1 (2004): 115–42.

30. Cannon, Journal, September 13, 1898.

31. Cannon, Journal, September 13, 1898.

32. Martin B. Hickman, “Succession in the Presidency,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 3:1420–21.

33. Journal History of the Church, September 13, 1898, 3. These instructions are preserved in two documents found in the Church History Library. First, Minnie J. Snow, one of Lorenzo Snow’s wives, recorded her husband’s account of his December 2, 1892, meeting with Wilford Woodruff, in which Woodruff instructed Snow regarding reorganization of the First Presidency upon Woodruff’s death; see “An Account of a Private Interview with Prest. Woodruff, Brigham City Utah, 1892 December 3,” MS 3558, Church History Library. Additionally, Snow produced an account in his own handwriting regarding the same interview with Woodruff, recorded as “An Account of a Private Interview with President Woodruff, 1892, December 3,” MS 20785, Church History Library.

34. Journal History of the Church, September 13, 1898, 3.

35. Richards, Journal, September 13, 1898.

36. Cannon, Journal, September 13, 1898. The well-known story of Snow praying in the temple before meeting the resurrected Christ was published by his son, LeRoi C. Snow, in “An Experience of My Father’s,” Improvement Era 36 (September 1933): 677, 679, and republished recently as “Until We Meet Again: A Visit from the Savior,” Ensign 45 (September 2015): 80. John P. Hatch reviewed the history of the story in his essay “From Prayer to Visitation: Re-Examining Lorenzo Snow’s Vision of Jesus Christ in the Salt Lake Temple,” Journal of Mormon History 42, no. 3 (July 2016): 155–82. Cannon’s journal, along with those of others present in this meeting, suggests the story was documented within days of the event.

37. Journal History of the Church, September 13, 1898, 4.

38. Cannon, Journal, September 13, 1898.

39. Cannon, Journal, September 13, 1898.

40. Smith, Diary, September 13, 1898, as quoted in White, Church, State, and Politics, 408.

41. Winter, Journal, September 13, 1898, 228.

42. Smith, Diary, September 13, 1898, as quoted in White, Church, State, and Politics, 408.

43. Richards, Journal, September 13, 1898.

44. R. L. Polk & Co. Salt Lake City Directory 1898, 890. Leonard J. Arrington wrote, “Between the Beehive and Lion House was the one-story President’s Office—really a western extension of the Beehive House.” Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), 170.

45. Placing the right hand into a coat had a long tradition but had been popularized in portrait paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including paintings of Napoleon. With the invention of photography, the tradition was revived, especially during the American Civil War among military officers.

46. “Organization of the First Presidency,” Deseret Evening News, September 13, 1898, 4.

47. Smith, Diary, October 8, 1898, as quoted in White, Church, State, and Politics, 410.

48. Heber J. Grant, Journal, October 8, 1898, 109, Heber J. Grant collection, 1856–1945, MS 1233, Church History Library.

49. Smith, Diary, October 9, 1898, as quoted in White, Church, State, and Politics, 410.

50. Journal History of the Church, October 10, 1898, 353:2.

51. Lund, Journal, October 10, 1898, as quoted in Hatch, Danish Apostle, 47.

52. Marriner W. Merrill, Journal, October 10, 1898, Marriner W. Merrill journals, 1889–1906, MS 107, Church History Library.

53. R. L. Polk & Co. Salt Lake City Directory 1898, 890.

54. Wadsworth, Set in Stone, Fixed in Glass, 152, 165.

55. Cannon, Journal, October 10, 1898.

56. Richards, Journal, October 10, 1898.

57. Cannon, Journal, October 10, 1898.

58. Journal History of the Church, October 10, 1898, 353:3.

59. Grant, Journal, October 10, 1898, 113.

60. Journal History of the Church, October 10, 1898, 353:3.

61. Teasdale, Journal, October 10, 1898.

62. Grant, Lund, Lyman, Merrill, and Teasdale journals, October 10, 1898.

63. Merrill, Journal, October 10, 1898. See also Richards, Journal, October 10, 1898.

64. Cannon, Journal, October 10, 1898.

65. Richards, Journal, October 10, 1898.

66. Grant, Journal, October 10, 1898, 113–14.

67. Cannon, Journal, October 10, 1898.

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