History of the Utonian Yearbook 1940-1945

By Dillon Anderson

Dating back to the early 1800s, students of various college campuses have kept a record of their time on campus through yearbooks, making them a rich source of history. (Lear, p. 184) Such as it is, by annotating the details of the Utonian books, one can build a working index of their materials, which, in turn, can assist teachers and students in future research endeavors for years to come. In the same way that the Utah Chronicle finding aid has and will continue to contribute to our understanding of the past, my hope is that this index will do the same.

1940 edition: The 1940 edition of the Utonian was a crimson-colored book, featuring a woman in an elegant white dress dancing on the cover. The edition was 334 pages in length and contained many illustrations. Entire pages are dedicated to student and faculty administration, sports teams and campus organizations, and portraits for seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshman students are found throughout. In 1940, the Chronicle reported that the book cost $4 and that overall sales, to that point, had reached an all-time high.

Student Leadership: Herbert Price, President; Rose Bud Marshall, Vice President; Montana Torkelson, Secretary; Hemer Culp, 2nd Vice President; Grant Aadnesen, Senior President; Fred Price, Junior President; Richard Ensign, Sophomore President; Keith Montague, Freshman President.

1941 UtonianDedicated To: “President George Thomas, world citizen, American, Utahn …. son of the West. Forthright and intelligent is the cataclysmic world, he stands unflinchingly for the principles of democratic and spiritual freedom. Born in the land of blue skies and surging mountains we may look to him for the best in man. An inspired educator and leader, he has guided the University of Utah along the road of vanity and moderation. Social adjuster … gentleman … scholar … son of the West … our President Thomas.” 

1941 editionThe 1941 edition was a silver-colored book, featuring a woman and man (standing side-by-side) with the Block U embossed between them. The edition was 338 pages in length and, according to a 1941 Chronicle article, was at least two pages larger than any in the University’s history. According to that same article, the edition was expected to “possibly set records both for advertising space and for sales.”

Student Leadership: Hamer Calp, President; Connie Mortensen, Secretary; Scott Dye, Treasurer; Elisa Rogers, Vice President.

Dedicated To: “Lively reminiscence of classrooms and libraries … athletic fields and bleachers … the dance floor and theatres … the offices and editorial rooms—this year, 1941 Utonian.” 

1942 editionThe 1942 edition was a black-colored book, featuring a woman and man standing underneath a blue tree with words, lettered in blue and gold, reading above them: A Year of College Life At The University Of Utah. The edition was 352 pages in length and apportioned to feature portraits of seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshman. More than previous editions, much of the book was dedicated solely to the portraits. According to a 1942 Chronicle article, the advertising section of the book was compromised by the then-ongoing war.

Student Leadership: Wendell Paxton, President; Luella Sharp, Vice President; Betty Jo Snow; Frank Child, Treasurer.

Dedicated To: N/A

1943 editionThe 1943 edition wore a burnt orange cover with images of blue trees, as well as the words “Utonian” inside a red square. At the bottom of the cover, red script read, “Nineteen Hundred Forty-Three.” It is unclear how many pages were in this issue, but in terms of format, this edition was keen on highlighting the events and activities that took place on campus during that year. Interestingly, the Chronicle reported in 1943 that males were required to wear coats and neckties for their portraits. Failure to comply often resulted in a considerable time delay, according to the article.

Student Leadership: Val J. Sheffield, President; Virginia Weilenman, Vice President; Athelia Sears Tanner, Secretary; Robert B. Barker, Treasurer; Mary Anna Recore, Historian; Lynn Warburton, Second Vice President; Huck Adelt, Second Vice President; Marjorie Muir Hess, Historian.

Dedicated To: “The people in it are leaders. They are the men and women who plan and worry and sit up nights. They hold conferences and argue and their decisions are final. They are brainy and unselfish and they have foresight. They lead and 3,000 students follow. It’s a busy life they live … filled with disappointments and headaches sometimes, and sacrifices … But it’s a pleasant life, too … and worthwhile, for these people find … a life made rich.” 

1944 edition: The 1944 edition was a yellow-covered book, featuring the number “44” above royal blue letters that spelled, “Utonian: Nineteen Hundred Forty-Four.” Blue and red stars also decorated the cover. True to tradition, the edition was 356 pages in length, seemingly larger than any of the preceding yearbooks in the university’s history.

According to a 1944 Chronicle piece, the war brought on a shortage of materials, which led to the University cutting down on the use of film. As a result, the institution was only able to take one picture instead of two for student portraits, and because some students were unable to pay yearbook fees in advance of the deadline, said students were not pictured in that year’s edition. The book also features an entire section on the war, resplendent with photos of the Army and Red Cross.

Student Leadership: Ed Muir, senior proxy president; Margaret Cornwall, Vice President; Peggy Berryman, Secretary; Jay Skidmore, Treasurer; Bill Pingree, Treasurer.

1945 utonianDedicated To:  “We said goodbye so many times to so many friends. We stood side by side with the governor, the president and the deans as we paid tribute to the fellows off to war. 

1945 editionThe 1945 edition was a red-covered book, and for the first time in this six-year snapshot, acknowledged the school’s Indian heritage on its cover. There, a profile of an Indian warrior, imaged in gold, stood upright while the words “Utonian” and “1945” surrounded him. This edition also departed from convention in terms of measure, as the book spanned just 336 pages, down from 356 in 1944.

Student Leadership: Eugene Overfelt, President; Shirley Bangerter, Vice President; Richard Warner, 2nd Vice President; Darlene Anderson, Secretary; Helen Keeley, Historian; Hope Horsfall, Treasurer.

Dedicated To: “To the Senior Utes, the class of 44’, who have blazed to the end or their Utah Trail, we dedicate this Indian issue of the Utonian.”

Dillon Anderson is a student at the University of Utah. He is majoring in literary journalism.


“Utonian Sales,” Utah Chronicle, January 4, 1940, 2.

“Utonian May Come Out On May 26,” Utah Chronicle, May 15, 1941, 3.

“Utonian Names Final Picture Deadline,” Utah Chronicle, March 5, 1942, 3.

“Coats, Ties Necessary For Utonian Shots,” Utah Chronicle, January 21, 1943, 6.

“Utonian Makes Plea,” Utah Chronicle, January 13, 1944, 2.

The University of Utah and the Utes: A Photo Gallery,” Utah Division of State History.

Lear, Bernadette A. “Book History in ‘Scarlet Letters’: The Beginning and Growth of a College Yearbook during the Gilded Age,” Book History 9 (2006): 179–212.