Alvino Rey’s Music Legacy in Utah

By Aila Amer

Alvino Rey is an important part of Utah’s history because he added a unique touch to music during the 1940s. Rey lived in Sandy, Utah, and he framed his music in a very unique way. According to Bosse, “The work considers both dance and music as equal members of a gestalt, framing dance as a particular type of music reception, and addresses the question of how non-musicians make sense of musical sound through movement.” (Bosse, p. 354)

He was known for playing exotica, which is a combination of Latin music, lounge jazz, Hawaiian music, and using unconventional instruments. “Exotica offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sounds and obsessions of the Space Age and Cold War period as well as the renewed interest in them evident in contemporary music and design.” (Adinolfi, book cover) Then Rey started playing jazz and brought a unique twist to the style characterized by an “ensemble approach based on riffs—repeated phrases upon which instrumentalists built their solos—and an open-ended, freewheeling, style of improvisation.” (Stowe, 53)

He was particularly known for playing the pedal steel guitar. “Well we cooperated a lot to make the pedal guitar a tone color along with the rag section, reed section and a rhythm section that [added] another color in the band and we tried to get that across various albums. Maybe it will catch on someday,” Rey said in hos oral-history interview.

He and his band performed at Jerry Jones’s Rainbow Randevu, a club in downtown Salt Lake City. According to a story published in the Salt Lake Telegram on September 4, 1941, Rey and his group were “known for a captivating style of music.” Rey and his orchestra performed in various “smart spots” including the Biltmore in New York and Casa Mañana in Hollywood.

Rey and his band had an early hit in 1942: “Deep in the Heart of Texas” brought the self-styled “King of the Guitar” national stardom. Rey died in Salt Lake Lake City in 2004 at the age of 95.

This topic is significant to communication and Utah history because when many think of Utah they think of Mormonism or White residents, but because of his cultural music there’s more to remember about Utah. He was in front of people and delivering sounds in various ways and left a cultural and social legacy.

Aila Amer is a senior at the University of Utah and will be graduating spring 2019. Her major is Communication Journalism sequence and is minoring in Political Science. She is an aspiring Journalist and future Foreign Ambassador.

Sources

“Alvino Rey’s Band Due,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 4, 1941.

“Rey and Kings Due Back,” Salt Lake Telegram, November 25, 1941.

Stowe, David W. “Jazz in the West: Cultural Frontier and Region During the Swing Era” Western Historical Quarterly, 23, no. 1 (February 1992): 53–73.

Alvino Rey,” oral history, June 14, 1994, National Association of Music Merchants.

Saxon, Wolfgang. “Alvino Rey Is Dead at 95; Virtuoso of the Steel Guitar,” The New York Times, February 27, 2004, A25.

Bosse, Joanna Nettle. Exotica, Ethnicity, and Embodiment: An Ethnography of Latin Dance in United States Popular Culture. Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.

Adinolfi, Francesco. Mondo Exotica: Sounds, Visions, Obsessions of the Cocktail Generation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

 

 

The Rise and Fall of Utah’s Mid-Century Music Empires: How the Empire Room and the Terrace Ballroom shaped Utah Culture for Decades

By Alaynia Winter

emprieIf you were to open up an issue of the Utah Chronicle during the early to mid-1940s, you might find an advertisement in large, looping scroll advertising the next big jazz band in town. There were two “hoppin’ places” in this time, The Empire Room and The Rainbow Randevu, which later become known as the Terrace Ballroom. So, what happened to these iconic spots that, for decades, played such a large part in the music and nightlife culture of Utah?

The Empire Room was hosted in the impressive and iconic Hotel Utah — this was all the rage for students and non-students alike. Hotel Utah, in this era, served as a symbol of cooperation between the often-sparring LDS church and the non-Mormon entrepreneurs of Salt Lake City. (Boren)

Although Utahns were still subject to wartime restrictions and rationing, the war didn’t keep people from going out for a night on the town in the 1940s, unlike during previous decades. Hotel Utah, sometimes called “the Grande Dame of hotels,” opened in 1910. (Robinson) It even carried a slightly controversial reputation for its lavish bar and opulent parties. (Malouf) Visiting U.S. presidents stayed in Hotel Utah, and a number of LDS prophets were known to have lived in it.

johnny richardsJoining the Empire Room at Hotel Utah, sandwiched between 400 and 500 South on historic Main Street, was the Coconut Grove. The Grove was advertised as the largest ballroom dance in the country. At the start of World War II, the name would be changed, yet again, to the Rainbow Ballroom and eventually became Jerry Jones’s Rainbow Randevu — or The Rainbow colloquially. It wasn’t until the 1960s that it was ultimately given the name Terrace Ballroom.

At the same time, significant cultural changes were taking place at Hotel Utah. The Empire Room retained its popularity throughout the 1940s with big-name bands regularly being advertised in the University of Utah’s newspaper, the Utah Chronicle, and drawing large crowds to dance late into the night within the ballroom’s elegant walls.

Empire_Room_Hotel_Utah_dining_tables_10_After 76 years of hosting visiting celebrities, politicians, parties and enjoying “minor celebrity status” in Utah, the LDS Church announced the closure of Hotel Utah in 1987 and it was converted into what we now know today as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building — an exceedingly elegant office building and visitors center. (Davidson) Coincidentally, this same year the Terrace Ballroom fell accident to a building fire during its demolition. The Provo, Utah, Daily Herald at the time called the demolition “an inelegant and unfair epitaph” for the beloved political and musical site that was enjoyed for over five decades. (“History Comes Tumbling Down”)

Rainbow_Randevu_special collectionsAn article in the Salt Lake Tribune describes the venue in its “heyday” saying, “Jerry Jones and his orchestra played big band sounds and hosted regular dance nights. For many in the 1940s and ’50s, it was the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night.” (Smart) This venue continued to shape Utah’s counterculture. In another interview with the Tribune, Steve Williams, jazz host for decades at KUER, said of the scene in the 1960s, “I had no idea how many hippies were in Utah. It blew my mind.” (Smart)

The Rainbow remained open until it finally closed its doors on December 31, 1981, going out with a bang after celebrating a final New Year’s Eve party. The building eventually fell victim to a fire during its demolition in 1987. All that’s left of its legacy are the shiny memories. Next time you take a stroll around Salt Lake City, you can visit the decaying parking lot remnants of the once-grand Terrace ballroom and just a few blocks to the north, the pristinely preserved Empire Room outside of Temple Square. You might close your eyes and try to hear the distant echo of jazz playing by a swinging 1940s band.

Alaynia Winter is a graduate of University of Utah with a B.A. in communication. She enjoys writing, photography, and videography. She works as a production assistant in digital media at KUED Channel 7 and in her free hours spends time with her dog.

Sources

Boren, Ray. “Hotel Utah, 100 Years of History,” Deseret News,  June 7, 2011.

Davidson, Lee. “Whatever Happened to the Hotel Utah?” Salt Lake Tribune, January 11, 2016.

“History Comes Tumbling Down,” The Daily Herald, August 6, 1987, 5.

Malouf, Mary Brown. “Buzzed in the Beehive: A Brief History of Drinking in Utah,” Salt Lake Magazine, January 1, 2018.

“Rainbow Randevu P.1.” Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, March 18, 2009, https://bit.ly/2L0fEbV.

Advertisement, Rainbow Randevu, Salt Lake Telegram, September 10, 1937, 12.

Robinson, Ryland. “Hotel Utah: Grande Dame of Salt Lake,” Temple Square Blog, July 7, 2015.

National Park Service, “Sacrificing for the Common Good: Rationing in WWII,” June 3, 2016.

Smart, Christopher. “Whatever Happened to … The Terrace Ballroom?” Salt Lake Tribune, March 12, 2015.

Advertisement, The Empire Room, Utah Chronicle, January 7, 1943.

 

 

The Societal Differences Between the Male and Female Sex in the 1940s

By Brook Williams

The differences between the sexes in the 1940s is extremely prevalent when observing the media and literature around that time. While reading through The Utah Chronicle during the decade of the ’40s, it is evident throughout the ads and articles that women and men had distinct qualities that they were supposed to live up to in order to fit in with society. It was normal for ladies to be seen as objects that played very little roles in the development of the world. Typically, women held little control or power and were constantly being simplified to having no other purposes on this earth than being a beautiful caregiver to her husband and children.

Contrary, men were socially constructed to be a breadwinner, a worker, a gentleman, intelligent, and powerful. They were expected to provide for the women and family and uphold a high standard of manners. Both sexes came with the pressure to be a specific way. Rarely do you see any influence to be authentic to oneself in the 1940s. People had to fit the mold.

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Here, we can see the way that women and men were discussed in the ’40s. This is a picture of the “Helpful Hints to College Men” column, published in the Utah Chronicle on November 28, 1940.

Many articles published during the ’40s display these ideas through the language and conversation. One article that especially points this out was in the November 28, 1940, issue of The Utah Chronicle. The “Helpful Hints to College Men” column reported an etiquette book that the Mortar Woman’s Honor Society created called As We Do It. “I know some of us [women] do let things drop on purpose, but even then, you should be gentleman enough to pick them up.” (“Helpful Hints”) As We Do It was published in 1940 by the University of Utah, courtesy of the Mortar Board, which is a select group of female honorary students. It was a guide to help college students with their etiquette, including, style, telephone etiquette and dating etiquette.

An excerpt from the book discusses how women should be a “good sport” on dates and try out activities like skiing, even if they don’t have the desire to. “After your escort has unwrapped you several times from around the pine tree, he’ll probably only be too happy to let you play in the snow. But rest assured he will admire you all the more for your stamina, and will ask you again if you have enough fun to show him you’re a jolly sort.” (As We Do It, p. 21) This excerpt displays the general idea of women pleasing men and the assumption that the woman would fail and be weak during the activity.

Picture1

This is an image of the original AS WE DO IT booklet of etiquette, written and edited by Mortar Woman’s Honor Society. Photo by Brook Williams, communication student at The University of Utah.

A November 14, 1940, article in The Utah Chronicle includes several different examples of women being continuously referred to with an adjective describing their beauty. For example, “cute Beth,” “she said with a gleam in her lovely brown eyes,” “chimed in blonde Betty,” “petite Betty Lou,” or “attractive Nonie.” Words like dainty, fragile, tantalizing and petite are used to describe all women.

In one Utah Chronicle column called “Keep the Change,” men explained the nicknames they gave their girlfriends. A few of “the prize winners” were, “I call my girl Hinge, because she is something to a door,” “I call my girl Calibre because she is such a bore,” and, “I call my girl Hitler because she is sh-Nazi.” Men publicly spoke of their girlfriends in a condescending way, which in the 1940s was completely acceptable.

An excerpt from As We Do It discusses the fashion of men tipping their hats to other men, and when to do so. The authors suggest tipping hats to most men because “you might be asking him for a job or daughter sometime in the near future.” (p. 24) This further supports the sexist attitude of how men assumed “ownership” of a woman.

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AS WE DO IT is a thin booklet containing examples and information for both men and women about socially acceptable mannerisms. Many would be considered derogatory to both sexes now.

Another example of women being portrayed in a certain way is in an Atlantic article written by Megan Garber called, “‘When You Supervise a Woman’: The 1940s Instructional Manual.” This article includes instructional brochures of how to teach women about the utmost basic workplace protocol. Garber suggests that it is condescending and “is both ridiculous and hilarious by today’s standards, they’re also sort of sad: a reminder of how institutionalized sexism and its analogs can be, in the workplace and beyond.”

Not much has changed when comparing the general perception of gender roles from the 1940s to now. Books and magazines about “how to get the man/ woman of your dreams” are constantly being published and brainwashing people into an unauthentic way of living. Hopefully, society can continue with the progressive momentum we have had over the last 70 years, so the next generations can experience complete equality.

Brook Williams is a senior at The University of Utah. She plans on graduating in the spring of 2019 with a degree in communication.

Sources

Mortar Board, As We Do It, University of Utah, 1940.

 Helpful Hints to College Men,” Utah Chronicle, November 28, 1940, 7.

Freshman Women Express Views on Fraternities to Reveal Many Startling Conceptions,” Utah Chronicle, November 14, 1940, 5.

Marilla Barlow, “Keep the Change,” Utah Chronicle, November 20, 1940, 4.

Garber, Megan. “‘When You Supervise a Woman’: The 1940s Instructional Manual,” The Atlantic, August 27, 2012.

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Hayes and Modern Dance at the University of Utah

By Allison Vernon

On August 26, 1940, the Salt Lake Telegram announced that the University of Utah had hired six new teachers for the upcoming school year, including Miss Elizabeth Hayes for the women’s physical education department. As Dorothy Stowe of the Deseret News reported upon her retirement in 1988, Hayes—the first modern dance teacher at the University of Utah—likely did not realize the profound impact she would have on the department and the university over her 48-year career. Additionally, it would have been impossible to foresee the impacts that World War II would have on the university and on modern dance in general.

Throughout twentieth-century America, modern dance has been heavily influenced by elements of context and history. The multicultural influence that occurred in the United States, particularly related to both world wars, had a profound impact on modern dance education, with many teachers incorporating styles and techniques that they learned from a variety of countries. While the world was at war in the 1940s, modern dance was becoming increasingly popular. During this time of conflict, instructors had to find a balance between preserving the diverse traditions of modern dance and establishing American contemporary dance as a unique entity. (Adams and Adams Strandberg, pp. 19-20)

Elizabeth Hayes Dance Prof

“Behind the Scenes” photograph of Joan Woodbury, Shirley Ririe, and Professor Elizabeth Hayes, “Orchesis Plans Production,” The Utah Chronicle, April 5, 1955, 1.

When Miss Elizabeth Hayes began teaching at the University of Utah, modern dance was still a fairly new concept, and the university was just beginning to incorporate the style into its curriculum. According to an article from The Utah Chronicle on April 24, 1941, Hayes was able to include modern dance as a part of the annual Orchesis performance at the University of Utah during her first year as an instructor, despite the classification of modern dance as a “physical education” course. While opinions of modern dance at this time were varied, on May 1, 1941, John Whitney with The Utah Chronicle called this style a “Worthy Endeavor” and praised Miss Hayes for her innovation and artistry.

On April 8, 1942, Hayes was again heralded by The Utah Chronicle for her work as director in a review of the modern dance program. According to the article, this recital included a piece emulating the plights of the Mormon pioneers, an original folk dance choreographed by Hayes, a repeat of the popular “Age and Youth” number from the previous year, and many short dances choreographed by the students themselves. In this program, Hayes made it clear that modern dance was about using art to portray emotions and experiences, both as a method of exploration and education, which aligns with Adams and Adams Strandberg’s analysis of modern dance as an educational tool. According to an article in the Salt Lake Telegram on April 16, 1942, not only was this program educational for the dance students themselves, but also for the audiences who had not experienced this technique before.

The impact of the war was often shown in the choreography of Orchesis programs during these years. According to The Utah Chronicle on March 24, 1943, the group put on a performance that incorporated dramatic interpretations of poetry, including one piece about “the Nazi murder of the inhabitants of … Lidice.” As explained by Gottlieb in The Kenyon Review, this technique of utilizing stories to inform movement is a hallmark of modern dance, as is the incorporation of current events. (pp. 149-150)

As the war became increasingly impactful on the University of Utah, Elizabeth Hayes and the modern dance department became involved in the effort. As reported by the Salt Lake Telegram on September 10, 1945, Hayes was made a faculty member of the ROTC training program on campus. Members of the University of Utah faculty from all departments were recruited in order to utilize their various areas of expertise, and her experience as a health and fitness professor made Hayes an ideal instructor for the program. Whether it was through defiant choreography or participating in training naval recruits, Hayes and her dancers were not left untouched by the conflict overseas.

According to Stowe in the Deseret News, one of the biggest challenges Hayes faced at first was this physical education classification because she was forced to focus on the fitness aspects of her education rather than creativity. In 1966, Hayes was able to move the dance program to “fine arts,” and by 1974, students could focus on either teaching, performing, or choreographing. Hayes was incredibly passionate about teaching, and although she could have boasted of her impressive record in the modern dance department, the meaningful connections she made with her students were what meant the most.

Elizabeth Hayes Photo

Photograph of Elizabeth Hayes, Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 15, 2007.

Elizabeth Hayes left a lasting legacy at the University of Utah, both in her actions as a professor emerita and as a modern dance educator. According to her obituary in The Salt Lake Tribune (2007), throughout her career Hayes contributed to the creation of a dance major at the University of Utah, the implementation of a high school modern dance certification program, and the development of modern dance programs in schools across the country. Hayes understood that modern dance was an ever-evolving art form that must be in conversation with the context of its time. To quote Hayes herself: “The technique may have changed, but the basic philosophy, that dance is an art experience to which everyone should be exposed, has not changed. Students should learn to love movement, and recognize its communicative possibilities.” (Deseret News, 1988)

World War II had a profound impact on the world, and modern dance was no exception. Where some educators struggled to find a balance between preserving tradition and pursuing innovation, Hayes was able to build the University of Utah’s modern dance program from the ground up with an understanding of the past but an eye for the future.

Allison Vernon graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies.

Sources

“U. of U. Adds 6 New Teachers,” Salt Lake Telegram, August 26, 1940, 10.

“Dance Unit Sets Date for Revue,” The Utah Chronicle, April 24, 1941, 2.

John Whitney, “Worthy Endeavor,” The Utah Chronicle, May 1, 1941, 4.

“Dance Group Awaits Annual Recital,” The Utah Chronicle, April 8, 1942, 1.

“Patrons Hail Orchesis,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 16, 1942, 22.

“Orchesis Schedules Dance Drama,” The Utah Chronicle, March 24, 1943, 6.

“6 Added to ‘U’ Faculty, Navy ROTC Division,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 10, 1945, 7.

Gottlieb, Beatrice. “Dance Chronicle: New Trends in Modern Dance,” The Kenyon Review 12, no. 1 (Winter 1950): 148-155.

Stowe, Dorothy. “Elizabeth Hayes — She’s Nurtured Modern Dance From Bud To Blossom At the U,” Deseret News, May 1, 1988.

Adams, Carolyn and Adams Strandberg, Julia. “Access, Education, and Preservation through the Prism of American Dance,” Arts Education Policy Review 102, no. 1 (Fall 2000): 19-25.

“Elizabeth Hayes Obituary,” The Salt Lake Tribune, September 15, 2007.

Skull and Bones History at the University of Utah

By Bianca Velasquez

On November 25, 1909, the Salt Lake Tribune reported “New Men Taken Into ‘Skull and Bones.’” The article introduced the Skull and Bones Club to Utah. According to the Tribune, the ceremony involved a series of “foolish and embarrassing stunts” for the young men to endure as an initiation. Earlier that year, a Yale alumnus founded a chapter at the University of Utah. The Skull and Bones Club is an organization that was established in 1832 at Yale University and holds the purpose to create an elite secret society within the university.

147-UTON-1935_Skull_and_BonesIn contrast to the secrecy that the club holds today, on March 28, 1940, The Utah Chronicle’s front page read, “Skull and Bones Honors 11 Prominent Juniors.” In this article two University of Utah students, Joe Dyer and Glen Craig, were selected for Owl and Key membership. The Utonian, the University of Utah’s yearbook, even has a page dedicated to the Skull and Bones Bonesmen with a list of names and their yearbook photos for the 1934 Junior Bonesmen.

Keeping the names and members secret isn’t the only change the Skull and Bones Club has made over time. Until the 1990s, the club was exclusive only to men. The Deseret News also had some coverage on the transition to the Skull and Bones’s acceptance of female members. The Deseret News reported in October 1991, “A Bonesman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said about 55 percent of the society’s members voted Thursday night in favor of admitting women. The move clears the way for the initiation of six women students into the organization that counts among its members some of the nation’s most powerful men, including President [George] Bush.”

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Photo by Chris Ayers. Used with permission from the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Today, the University of Utah’s chapter has the mission to “to bring attention to issues from everywhere around the U.” Members “define issues as ‘anything that generally affects a student’s life,’ and their connections within many of the U’s student government groups keep them informed as to the current goings-on around the school,” according to The Daily Utah Chronicle’s most recent coverage of the Skull and Bones Club.

On the matter of what the Skull and Bones Club’s motives are currently, the Chronicle reports: “Our main goal this year is to make our organization known to students at the U,” in part to “dispel the doubts of students who are ‘tapped,’ or invited to join the organization, every spring.” The group remains largely anonymous so it does seem tricky to find out more details on what it is actively doing. However, the fluctuation in editorial coverage and secrecy of the group seems to be apparent as the 49th volume of the Utah Chronicle stated the names and positions of Bonesmen (Skull and Bones members).

Among all the change and what seems like progress the club has made, there are a few traditions that remain. In “Yale, Skull and Bones, and the Beginnings of Johns Hopkins,” William H. Jarrett II writes, “Each society owns an impressive mausoleum-like ‘tomb’ in which meetings are held each Thursday and Sunday evening. These are massive, very impressive structures, foreboding and bearing an unmistakable message: ‘Private; keep out.’” Ominous and curiosity striking, the Skull and Bones club will always be a beacon of mystery.

Bianca Velasquez graduates in spring 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is currently preparing for a career in lifestyle and event coverage. Velasquez holds the position as SLUG Magazine’s editorial assistant and works with various other event organizations such as Craft Lake City and Brewstillery.

Sources

Skull and Bones,” Wikipedia.

Koldewyn, Casey. “Getting to Know Secret Student Society Skull and Bones,” Daily Utah Chronicle, December 7, 2015.

Skull and Bones,” 1935 Utonian, J. Willard Marriott Digital Library, The University of Utah.

Skull, Bones Members to Let 6 Women in on Their Secrets,” Deseret News, October 25, 1991.

“New Men Taken into ‘Skull and Bones,’” Salt Lake Tribune, November 25, 1909, 2.

Jarrett II, William H. “Yale, Skull and Bones, and the Beginnings of Johns Hopkins,” Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, 24, no. 1 (2011): 27-34.

A Hat-Wearing Tradition Once Central To the American University Experience Would Now Be Considered Hazing

By Hugo Vaca

By the time college students are done with their educational careers, they do more than simply obtain a degree. Students receive a plethora of knowledge ranging from academics and life skills to the traditions and values of their university. All of those serve to create a notion of groupness which also works to keep students in line.

In the 1940s, incoming college freshmen went from having senior status in high school to receiving the dreaded “frosh” status in college. This meant that a student had to endure tasks often viewed as rituals and rites of passage. These tasks were meant to shape each student as they reached the coveted upperclassmen status. These traditions, pranks, and rituals, did more than establish social hierarchies; they oriented students through the different values of their new institutions. According to Simon Bronner, the “frosh” label carried along identifiers designated by each university. Typically, frosh were instructed to wear a green garment to cover their heads similar to the ones seen in this 1972 photograph. This garment was referred to as a “dink,”, “pot,” or just “beanie.” (Bronner, p. 118)

These hats allowed the frosh to become targets for the upperclassmen. At times, frosh were challenged to athletic competitions to prove their worth. More commonly, they received some form of humiliation such as constant name calling. These names served to provide a clear way for the newbies to be set apart from their superiors. They reiterated to the frosh that they were low in the evolutionary line. Some of the common names used included: greenies, plebes, scrubs, babes, and rats. (Bronner, p. 114)

These first-year students were also often commanded to carry out errands for their superior upperclassmen. The frosh had to refer to the upperclassmen as “Sir.” (“Morley to Haverford”) If they dared refuse, they would face some form of punishment. An example of a physical punishment was having to dig holes on the dirt. Some colleges, such as the University of Wisconsin, had certain rules where the frosh were prohibited from wearing high school garbs or from stepping on the green grass. (Bronner, p. 115) A similar rule was once upheld here at the University of Utah; it prohibited frosh from setting foot on the steps of the Park Building. (Hammond)

Hammond_CartoonThis king of hazing was depicted in the insightful illustration by Roger Hammond that was published on September 26, 1940, in The Utah Chronicle. It provided the opportunity for those looking back at the university’ss history in order to gain a better understanding of something that would now be considered hazing and perhaps unethical. Yet, this hazing was once a staple tradition in many American colleges. Hammond’s illustration consists of a young man, wearing a dink, looking down as he is being heckled by his sponsor upperclassmen. Often times sponsors were older students who were there to orient the incoming students. Some of the phrases that appear to fly out of the sponsor’s mouth include: rules and typical things one even nowadays tells a freshman, such pointing out the locations of buildings on campus. A statement that stands out as oppressive is “Wear your green cap all year!”

Arrow_Shirts_AdMessages like these were seen all across the nation; these hazing acts were nothing out of the ordinary. The rules became something that freshmen had to know by heart if they wanted to avoid the repercussions. They became like a rule book to follow. Knowledge of these rules was so common that companies used them to their advantage, as seen by this advertisement for Arrow shirts that was published in the Chronicle on September 26, 1940.

According to “The Freshman ‘Dink,’” distributed by the States News Service, punishments dating back to the 1940s at Penn State included: being quizzed about the school and singing the Alma Mater in public. Though those punishments may seem humiliating, they served a greater purpose – to teach institutional values. They ensured that students understood their school’s history and purpose.

Despite backlash from professors, a fraternity at Wabash College has recently decided to revive this hat tradition. As they once did more than 40 years ago, they want to require pledging students to tip their hats to their upperclassmen out of respect. With this, they are hoping to promote chivalry and unity. (Woo) This has started a debate between what should be considered hazing and what can serve as a teaching tradition for incoming students.

Some of the iconic traditions of American colleges, beloved by many, would nowadays be more than frowned upon — they would be considered hazing. Dinks, typically worn by frosh, are reviving the way that ritualistic traditions were historically implemented at universities across the nation. Though some people have complained, colleges are now trying to implement “good-natured” rituals that should not be considered hazing. They are meant to provide a better bonding experience without the humiliating punishment. (Woo) Similarly to how frosh gained traditions in the past, freshmen now receive similar values by being involved in things such as orientations, sports events, or by being involved in extracurricular activities that implement life skills and morals without facing ridicule and hazing.

Hugo Vaca has returned to The University of Utah seeking a second bachelor’s degree. He is majoring in communication with a minor in documentary studies. His first degree was in film and media arts.

 Sources

Advertisement, Arrow Shirts, Utah Chronicle, September 26, 1940, 2.

Roger Hammond, Cartoon, Utah Chronicle, September 26, 1940, 4.

“Morley to Haverford,” Time, April 15, 1940, 63.

Bronner, Simon J. Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012.

The Freshman ‘Dink,'” States News Service, August 26, 2015.

Woo, Stu. “Beanie Revival.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 1, 2006.

Utah Traction Company Gets Going So You Can, Too

By Ezri Staheli

The Utah Light and Traction Company owned and operated electric, power, and railway properties in Salt Lake City and its surrounding vicinities, including Ogden, in the 1940s. (Thatcher, 449) The Traction Company operated public buses and electric trolleys in the Salt Lake and Ogden valleys until their services were combined with other transit companies and enveloped into what we now know as the Utah Transit Authority. (Arave)

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A new bus, photographed in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

In the early 1940s, cars weren’t quite all the rave yet. People needed to get places, even here in the Salt Lake Valley, which is where the Utah Light and Traction Company came into play. Businessmen, travelers, and especially students were frequent users of the mass transit provided by the Traction Company.

When World War II broke out, though, soldiers needed transport to and from the army base, Fort Douglas, on the bench of Salt Lake City, which took priority because of the priority of the war. Because of this, students, the most frequent users of mass transit, were asked in March 1942 not to ride certain bus lines so overcrowding would not occur as soldiers rode those routes. (“Traction Company Asks Student Aid”; UDOT Public Opinion Survey)

The Salt Lake Telegram reported in January 1942 that the Utah Light and Traction Company had, previous to asking students not to ride certain bus lines, been brought before the Public Service Commission because of concern over buses getting overcrowded (overcrowded being described as loaded more than 50 percent above the rated seating capacity). The Telegram reported that part of this overcrowding occurred because of the population increase, thanks to the defense industries in the valley, which led to an increase of nearly 33 percent in daily riders.

Utah_Light_Traction_Company_P_34

Operators were needed during World War II, as this image from 1943 illustrates. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

According to The Utah Chronicle in March 1942, students were not happy with the Traction Company when it made the decision to give soldiers transit priority, especially when buses got rerouted after student cooperation did not occur. In August 1942, The Salt Lake Telegram reported that two main changes would be made by the traction company to accommodate the overcrowding that was occurring because of both students and soldiers needing to ride the buses up onto the 1300 East bench – the first change being a new shuttle service direct to Fort Douglas for soldiers (August 12) and the second being buses making fewer loading stops (August 4).

In July and September 1942, The Salt Lake Telegram also reported that multiple different staggered schedules were put into place by employers to aid in the overflow of buses. But, such staggered schedules could not necessarily be added to class schedules for students, which became another matter of outrage.

Public transportation is something that people relied on in the 1940s just like they do today, which is why the changing of bus routes was such a big deal to students, workers, soldiers, and community members alike. What started out as a few bus routes run by the Utah Traction Company has morphed into a modern-day, statewide system through the expansion of the Utah Transit Authority that most Utah citizens use at least once or twice in their life, if not once or twice a day. The importance of public transportation as a way to connect communities cannot be overstated; it’s one of the reasons that the Salt Lake Valley is the way that it is, so it’s important to look and see how it all started out, even if that start came with a few metaphorical and literal bumps in the road.

Ezri Staheli is currently a sophomore at The University of Utah. She is majoring in communication and minoring in parks, recreation, and tourism. Ezri plans to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in spring 2021.

Sources

“Bus Companies Oppose State Loading Order,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 26, 1942, 9.

“Traction Company Asks Student Aid,” Utah Chronicle, March 12, 1942, 1.

“Traction Company Should Cooperate,” Utah Chronicle, March 26, 1942, 4.

“’Stagger’ Plan For Buses Asked,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 11, 1942.

“Buses To Begin Making Fewer Loading Stops,” Salt Lake Telegram, August 4, 1942, 13.

“Fort Bus Line Augmented,” Salt Lake Telegram, August 12, 1942, 12.

“Staggered Time Eyed at Capitol,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 1, 1942.

Arave, Lynn. “Utah Transit Authority has long, winding road of history, ” Deseret News, September 26, 2010.

Thatcher, Lionel W. “Financial and Depreciation History of the Utah Power and Light Company,” The Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics 15, no. 4 (November 1939): 448–455.

Utah Department of Transportation Public Opinion Survey Report, prepared for Utah State Department of Transportation (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Survey Research Center, 1995).

Midget Auto Races

By Forest Smith

Gaining popularity in the 1930s until around 1941 when the United States entered World War II, America was experiencing a new wave of exciting entertainment. Racing. From drag races to motorcycle stunts, these events brought people from far and wide to witness the gas-powered automobile in action. Out of all the ways to race the most far-reaching and easily accessible was the midget races. Motor Sports Magazine reported in 1938 that midget racing garnered an audience of over 5 million Americans around the country during the 1937 season. Contrary to their name, no little people participated in the event. It was the cars that were the midgets.

Midget cars were small buggies with open cockpits, exposed thin wheels, and powerful engines. (Hall, p. 249) Popular Science Monthly reported in May 1938 that many of the engines came from motorcycles, outboard boat motors, and ancient vehicles. These smaller cars ran on oval-shaped tracks a mere fifth of a mile long. This allowed the sensation to spread across the country as fast as tracks could be made; some were even indoors. The small oval arenas were made of dirt, cinder, or pavement and due to their size, forced the drivers to skid around the corners for most of the race. Motorsports Magazine reported in 1938 that a wooden bowl had been constructed in the Boston Square Garden. This wooden track proved hard to navigate even among master drivers.

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Advertisement for Midget Racing, Utah Chronicle, May 16, 1940.

The small buggies—affectionately named doodlebugs by fans—could reach speeds up to 60 mph on the straightaways. These little carts were dangerous and required both bravery and skill to pilot. Injuries were common among the racers as they would take the brunt of any rollover impact directly to their head and shoulders. As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune in 1941, Charles R. Winters, 22, died as a result of a tragic incident at the Utah State Fairground track. He lost control of his midget car and flew into a railing, sustaining fatal injuries. On August 14, 1941, the Tribune reported more injuries: Tex Sherwood sustained severe burns after his car caught fire and Mike Julian miraculously escaped injury-free after a crash that caused his car to roll five times and jump a fence.

Midget auto races were held in a flurry of heats, with as many as 30 cars participating in a single evening. Popular Science Monthly reported in 1934 that the events ranged from single-lap qualifiers to a 30-lap main event. The show would take place a mere 300 feet from the audience, creating an unprecedented connection between the onlookers and the racers. Motorsports Magazine interviewed a fan in 1938 who said, “I feel as though I’ve been racing with those fellows.”

Old footage really shows how exciting this sport can be. You feel very close to the action and can see the drivers wrestling with each other and their vehicles. It is no wonder that the sport spread around the country as fast as it did.

But midget racing was short-lived in the U.S. as big stock cars stole the spotlight from the petite midget cars after World War II. (However, midget racing remains popular in Australia to this day.) The Bonneville Salt Flats just outside of Salt Lake City became an epicenter for young speedsters to race their inventions. Some of the cars used on the Salt Flats take obvious influence from the midget cars that used to run the show.

Forest Smith is a senior at the University of Utah majoring in mass communication with a focus in journalism.

Sources

“Race Driver’s Final Rites Set for Friday,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 9, 1941, 1.

Jack Peters, “The History of Midget Auto-Racing in America,” Motorsports Magazine, September 1936, 29.

Midget Auto Racing in America,” Motorsports Magazine, February 1938, 34.

Andrew R. Boone, “Racing Midget Autos,” Popular Science Monthly, May 1934, 26-28.

Advertisement, Midget Racing, Utah Chronicle, May 16, 1940, 4.

“Adair Drives to Stirring Auto Victory,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 17, 1941, 13.

“Tex Sherwood Returns to Midget Races,” Salt Lake Tribune, August 15, 1941, 21.

Hall, Randal L. “Carnival of Speed: The Auto Racing Business in the Emerging South, 1930-1950,” The North Carolina Historical Review 84, no. 3 (July 2007): 245-75.

 

 

Barefoot Boy with Cheek Helping Young Utahns Laugh in 1945

By Katherine Rogers

Being a young person in the mid-1940s could be stressful, with World War II creating strife for every nation. In the United States every able-bodied man was being drafted into the military. Everyone else was making sacrifices for the sake of the war effort. Early 1945 was an especially uncertain time. While the end of the war seemed imminent, no one was sure how much longer it would be going on. All throughout January of that year the Utah Chronicle wrote about the rumors of a 4-F draft (that is, drafting men who originally were not considered due to minor disabilities). Meanwhile, men were coming back from the battlefields with injuries and stories of the horrors of war. This kind of tension meant that the students were looking for relief. Enter: Max Shulman.

Shulman was a journalism student at the University of Minnesota. He wrote for the Minnesota Daily (the school’s newspaper) and Ski-U-Mah (the on-campus humor journal). He soon became known on campus for his goofy sense of humor. So, it was no surprise when in 1942 he was approached by an editor to write a book poking fun at college life. Shulman agreed and a few months later produced Barefoot Boy with Cheek. (Brady, p. 32)

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Illustration by Will Crawford.

Barefoot Boy focuses on the adventures of Asa Hearthrug, a small-town farm boy, as he begins his college career at the “fictional” University of Minnesota. Shulman uses his famous silly sense of humor to make fun of parts of college life like fraternities (Hearthrug joins Alpha Cholera) and the troubles of dating in college (Hearthrug must choose between two girls). It touches on the prices of books, especially the ones the professors wrote themselves, and student journalists trying too hard to sound clever.

Even though Barefoot Boy soon became a national bestseller, it took a few years for it to reach Utah. Once it did, Shulman’s writing quickly captured the attention of the college crowd. The Utah Chronicle wrote in January 1945 all about the craze over the book sweeping the campus of the University of Utah. It was so popular on campus that one Utah Chronicle columnist, known in her column only as Pomerance, tried her hand at her own shortened version, which she called “Bare Faced Girl with Teeth” or “Foo to You U of U.” This parody, featured in the January 11, 1945, issue of the Chronicle, follows similar themes with the heroine dealing with Greek life (for example the fraternity Un Kappa Kega Brew) and having to choose between two boys.

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Illustration by Will Crawford.

The book was in high demand in the state. In October 1945, the Bear River Valley Leader wrote about the joy of the local libraries finally getting their hands on a single copy of Barefoot Boy, as did The Hillfielder in March of the same year. One group of young writers in Provo, after starting the American League of Young Penman, decided to show their love for Shulman’s writing in an interesting way. “Max Shulman, author of ‘Barefoot Boy with Cheek,’ ‘The Fatherly Merchants,’ etc., is the honorary president of the club,” the Provo Sunday Herald reported in the September 9, 1945, issue.

The absurdist humor that riddles the pages of the Barefoot Boy with Cheek appears to be just what the youth of Utah needed. It shows that a little book, no matter how silly its contents may be, can prove to be the perfect mood lightener in dark, uncertain times.

Katherine Rogers is a junior at the University of Utah, studying communication and journalism. She is also an intern at CATALYST Magazine.

Sources

Max Shulman, Barefoot Boy with Cheek (New York: American Book-Stratford Press, Inc., 1945).

“Pom Authors Sequel to ‘Barefoot Boy,’” Utah Chronicle, January 11, 1945, 2.

“Ouija Boards, ‘Barefoot Boy With Cheek’ Prove Distracting to U Students,” Utah Chronicle, January 11, 1945, 3.

“U Waits Decision On 4-F Draft,” Utah Chronicle, January 11, 1945, 4.

“Library Purchases Request Numbers,” The Hillfielder (Ogden Air Technical Services Command newspaper), March 28, 1945, 2.

“League of Young Writers Started By Provo Group,” Provo Sunday Herald, September 9, 1945, 2.

“New Books at Library,” Bear River Valley Leader, October 18, 1945, 3.

Brady, Tim. “Max Shulman. Dig it?” Minnesota Alumni Magazine, Spring 2016.

Edwin Evans and His Influence on Art Education in Utah

By Hannah W. Peterson

Edwin_Evans (1)Edwin Evans was an influential artist from Utah, a professor at the University of Utah, and the holder of various positions of prestige including president of both the Utah Art Institute and the Society of Utah Artists.

Born in Lehi, Utah, on February 2, 1860, his first art venture began in the fall of 1888 when he took off to Paris for a two-year course in drawing and painting at L’Academie Julien where he developed his skills. His talent was obvious, and according to William C. Seifrit, “Evans had quickly caught the spirit of art prevailing in Paris during the 1890s.” (“Letters from Paris,” p. 190)

After his training, Evans went on to create various pieces of historical artwork when he painted interior panels in the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City from 1918-1919, did art research work in France from 1920-1922, exhibited at the World’s Fair in 1893, and had several of his pieces featured in local exhibits, which won a number of awards. Evans received considerable praise for his work, and according to the Utah Chronicle on April 17, 1941, he was, at the time, “One of Utah’s most outstanding educators and artists.”

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Edwin Evans watercolor painting depicting fields. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Perhaps though, Evans’s most notable achievements came forth with his extensive involvement in art education in public schools and at the University of Utah, where he was head of the art department for 23 years. In 1897, Evans and fellow Utah artist J. T. Harwood displayed their passion for creative art curriculum in schools by addressing a letter to the Board of Education in Salt Lake City. Published by the Deseret Evening News on February 5, 1897, the letter read, “The aim of teaching drawing in the public schools should be to train correctly the perception, cultivate the creative faculties, aid in the expression of ideas, discipline the hand, and lead the pupil to think and work independently.”

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Oil painting depicting mining buildings and mountains in the background. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Evans’s influence continued on when The Salt Lake Tribune reported on May 25, 1902, that he and other art professors at the University of Utah had arranged a textbook on art and drawing, in response to their dissatisfaction with current art textbooks. In an interview with Evans in 1938, conducted by Mabel Frazer for the Works Progress Administration, Evans reflected on his influence on art curriculum in the school system saying, “I feel that I did a valuable service to the public schools of the state when in the late nineties I spent a lot of time covering over three years, in an effort to have the pernicious system of drawing then in use in the state abolished.”

Along with teaching art classes while at the University of Utah, Professor Evans gave several lectures that enlightened and inspired his students. On April 1, 1912, The Utah Chronicle reported on a lecture he gave on art in which he said, “In painting, as in all things, individuality scores most toward the acquiring of success.” Evans had made a lasting impression on his students and local art. In the same 1938 interview done by Mabel Frazer with Evans, she reflected on his influence on her life, saying, “I don’t believe any other man in Utah has sent so wide an influence through his students. When I first studied with him he put color above form. Later he became interested in sculpture, and form and structure became vital elements in his expression. But he has remained true to his own ideals through his whole evolution. Never borrowing the mannerisms of individuals or schools. He is a decorator and colorist par excellence.”

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Watercolor painting depicting mountains with orchards in the foreground. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

His artwork was also honored and displayed at the university various times. Toward the end of his career, The Utah Chronicle reported on April 24, 1941, that Professor Edwin Evans would be presenting an art exhibit featuring 141 of his paintings. The exhibit was the culmination of years of hard work and lasting influence on the art community in Utah, which would tragically be one of his last artistic appearances before his death on March 4, 1946. According to the Lehi Sun on March 7, 1946, Evans had planned on bringing two additional paintings to an exhibit he had recently established at Lehi High School’s library just two weeks before his death.

Edwin Evans inspired his students with an expressive and creative method of teaching, setting an example of academic excellence that would be appreciated for generations to come. Adequate funding for the arts in the school system has been an issue in the U.S. for many decades, including the present day. Passionate professors like Evans will always be vital for the survival of art classes in schools, and for the fostering of an intellectually stimulating learning environment. His legacy lives on through this very idea.

Hannah Whitney Peterson is a senior at the University of Utah where she is majoring in communication and minoring in environmental and sustainability studies.

Sources

“Drawing In the Schools,” Deseret Evening News, February 5, 1897, 8.

“Art In Public Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 25, 1902, 7.

“Prof. Evans Lectures on Art,” Utah Chronicle, April 1, 1912, 4.

Mabel Pearl Frazer, interview with Edwin Evans, MSS B 289, The Works Progress Administration (Utah Section) Biographical Sketches, ca. 1930-1941, University of Utah, J Willard Marriot Library.

“Exhibit Features 141 Paintings,” Utah Chronicle, April 17, 1941, 1.

“Artist Holds Exhibit In Union Building,” Utah Chronicle, April 24, 1941, 3.

“Lehi Artist Dies At California Home,” Lehi Sun, March 7, 1946, 1.

Seifrit, William C. “Letters from Paris,” Utah Historical Quarterly 54, no 2 (Spring 1986): 179-202.