Max Morath and His Role in the Preservation of a Truly American Artform

By Garrett Whaley

Ragtime is a truly American genre of music. It’s fun and danceable — dominated by the piano. Ragtime is characterized by “a highly syncopated treble lead over a rhythmically steady bass,” according to the Library of Congress in an article titled The History of Ragtime. It was most popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Ragtime helped define a generation, and progress music and popular culture for young adults in the United States during this period.

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Max Morath performed at Weber College for the first time on April 6, 1962. Courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Max Morath was a ragtime pianist. Ragtime saw its peak of popularity well before his career ensued; nonetheless he kept the genre and culture alive throughout his performing and touring career, which lasted most of his adult life. A music career was seemingly written in the stars for Morath. According to a New York Times article, published on July 30, 1982, Morath’s mother was the pianist for a silent movie theatre in Colorado Springs, so he was surrounded by ragtime piano from a very young age and began touring in 1959, performing on piano.

Max Morath had a genuine desire to entertain, and to create a unique experience for his audience. Being a ragtime artist in the mid to late 1900’s wasn’t a top pick for most, as ragtime wasn’t exactly a top genre. Jazz, a near descendant of ragtime, had taken over the mainstream, and the first semblance Rock n Roll began to rear it’s head. People, especially young people, weren’t all that concerned with ragtime. But Morath was focused on more than just popular genres and trends. “A pianist who sings ends up in nightclubs at piano bars. I’ve done that and I detest it. But I found that with the repertory of rags and World War I songs and a demonstration of the kind of songs that people have thought of as ”off color,” I could walk into a convention in Omaha with a suitcase full of lighting equipment and put on a unique 45-minute act,” Morath said in an interview with the New York Times, on July 30, 1982. This is what set Morath apart. He knew the power of a strong and unique performance, rather than buying into the gimmick of popular music.

And his unique approach paid off. According to an article in the Weber College Signpost published on March 30, 1962, Morath performed at Weber College on April 6, 1962, in their Union. According to another article in the Weber College Signpost, published on April 4, 1963, the show was so widely enjoyed that the university invited him back to perform a second time, the following year, on April 10, 1963; “Max Morath Returns By Demand” read the headline of the Signpost article. In an article published in the Ogden Standard Examiner, on April 8, 1963, Dianne Bitton was quoted, saying, “It is because he made such a hit last year with both students and members of the community that the students decided to bring him back for a return engagement.” Perhaps praise for Morath spread south, because on the same tour in 1963, Morath performed at our very own University of Utah Union, on Friday, April 12, according to a Daily Utah Chronicle article published April 10, 1963. Another article published on April 3, 1962, in the Daily Utah Chronicle, quoted Variety Magazine, which dubbed Morath “the ideal spokesman” for ragtime.

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By popular demand, Morath returned to Weber College for a second show on April 10, 1963. Courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Among his prowess in touring and live performance, Morath developed two national television programs throughout his career. The first, in 1960, was called Ragtime Era. It discussed the rise of ragtime music, it’s interaction with American culture, and how it has come to shape his life and career, according to a New York Times article, published February 21, 1961; the article described Morath’s role in the program as “an infectiously gay spirit, hilarious but in good taste.” His second program, “The Turn of the Century” debuted in 1969; it was a one man show, similar to his coveted live performances, according to a New York Times article published on July 30, 1982.

Today Morath is 93; a living legend who carried on the culture of one of America’s most influential music genres to generations who would otherwise have missed out on the sensation of ragtime.

Garrett Whaley is a junior at the University of Utah. He is studying journalism.

Primary Sources

Jack Gould, “Max Morath Presides on ‘Ragtime Era,’” The New York Times, February 21 1961, 71.

“‘Gay 90’s’ Week To Be Featured At U B With Rag-Time Artist,” Weber College Signpost, March 30, 1962, 1.

Sally Coltrin, “Upright Piano, Old Suit Marks Ragtime Session,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 3, 1962, 1.

“Max Morath Returns By Demand,” Weber College Signpost, April 4, 1963, 1.

“Pianist Will Offer Evening of Ragtime,” Ogden Standard-Examiner, April 8, 1963, 10.

“Carefree Music Spotlights Max Morath,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 10, 1963, 1.

John S. Wilson, “Max Morath in Rag and ‘Unragtime,’” The New York Times, July 30, 1982, 63.

Secondary Source

History of Ragtime,” the Library of Congress.

Arlene Francis Sparks Impact; Kingsbury Hall Continuously Fosters Rich Experiences

By Alison Tanner

Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah serves as an iconic symbol of status and distinguished culture. It has hosted dozens of notable names, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Donny Osmond to Joe Biden. Some local performing arts groups are even known to have started at the Hall, including The Utah Symphony, Ballet West, and Repertory Dance Theatre. The university states that it “provides a valuable gathering space for community events and campus partners.”

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Arlene Francis poses with a “Sold Out” sign for the play Old Acquaintances in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah. Reproduction and use by permission from Utah State History.

On March 6, 1962, The Daily Utah Chronicle published an article titled, “TV Star Sets U Appearance.” The article tells about the upcoming play, Old Acquaintance, by John William Van Druten, performed at Kingsbury Hall by well-known actress, Arlene Francis. Francis portrayed a young American novelist, whose work is admired but rarely given the attention she feels it deserves. Counter to her, is a rich, successful novelist played by good friend of Francis, Mary Cooper. According to the Chronicle, it was set to be one of the major notable events of the school year for the University of Utah. Visiting artists have influenced students and the local community for decades and Old Acquaintance foreshadowed the rich cultural atmosphere Kingsbury Hall would foster for years to come.

The arrival of Arlene Francis was a great honor for the University of Utah in the 60s. Francis wore many hats: radio presenter, actress and popular television personality known for her place as a panelist on the show “What’s My Line?” She was one of the sole female hosts throughout the program’s entire run, becoming a pioneer for women in television.

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Arlene Francis arrives in Salt Lake City. Reproduction and use by permission from Utah State History.

Days after opening night, the Chronicle published a piece on March 9, titled, “Old Acquaintances gets Reception at Kingsbury.” The article said of Francis, “Noted for her graciousness on stage, as well as off, lent a note of slick sophistication to the part of Kit Markham. Arriving in Salt Lake only two days before the play opened, Miss Francis assumed her role with an ease acquired by most actresses only after hard weeks of rehearsal with the same cast.” (Trevithick, 1962) Finishing off its final shows, the play received extremely successful reaction from all of Utah. Writer, Joan Trevithick, mentioned that it was “fast-moving, exhibiting a battery of hard-hitting dialogue, unique not only in its humor, but also in its magnificent costuming and set decorations.” The play continued 2 more evenings before it closed. While it was free for students and faculty with their activity cards, many residents in the community attended to see the renowned TV star on stage.

Since Kingsbury Hall’s initial opening, on May 22, 1930, there have been a variety of changes that have played a pivotal role in making it what it is today. In 1996, the hall underwent a $14 million renovation. This included updated dressing rooms, bathrooms, refurbished lobbies, building a larger stage for performances and expanding the lobby area with a new plaza for guest accommodation. Around 5 years later, Kingsbury Hall created their own presenting series, titled Kingsbury Hall Presents. For the next decade or so, this program would bring some of the world’s greatest artists and speakers. In 2015, Kingsbury Hall Presents became UtahPresents, with the mission to bring more diversity and rich cultural experiences for those at the University of Utah, but for the surrounding Salt Lake region as well. The effects of each specific change are being felt today by students, faculty and locals, as Kingsbury Hall continues to host impressive artists, events and performances.

Alison Tanner is a senior at the University of Utah. She is currently studying Communication, with an emphasis in Journalism.

Primary Sources

Joan Trevithick, “TV Star Sets U Appearance,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, March 6, 1962.

Joan Trevithick, “Old Acquaintances gets Reception at Kingsbury,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, March 9, 1962.

Old Acquaintance. John William Van Druten. December 1940.

Secondary Sources

 Arlene Francis,” Encyclopedia Britannica, October 16, 2019.

Kingsbury Hall History and Mission,” The University of Utah.

 

Debate Continues Over the Use of Ute Mascot

By Jacob Rueda

The term “Ute” has become synonymous with the University of Utah. Names such as “Utes,” “redskins,” and “redskin braves” have been associated with the university sports teams in some manner or another. Most of those names have been dropped except for “Ute,” a name that is almost always associated with football.

In reality, the actual Utes are barely recognized by students and fans of the university’s sports teams alike. The tribe itself struggles to find acknowledgement in a world that cares more about use than consequence.

The University of Utah was established in 1850. It started using the Ute identity beginning in the 1920s, according to Utes Nickname Project website. The school received permission to use the “Ute” identity from one of the three recognized Ute Tribes, the Northern Ute Nation.

The other two nations, the Southern Ute and the Ute Mountain Tribes, did not grant permission to the school to use their name.

The Ute tribe has inhabited the area for over ten thousand years. The university has made efforts throughout its history to bridge relations with the Ute Tribe, albeit somewhat clumsily at times.

The Daily Utah Chronicle reported in October 1951 that the U.S. Supreme Court awarded $17,000,000 (equal to $167,880,884.62 in 2019 money) in an effort to appease the Uintah-Ouray reservation and for “furthering educational standards of the people.” Eleven young people between the ages of 17 and 19 were selected and interviewed for acceptance into the university.

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“Hoyo” first appeared as the University of Utah mascot in 1947. Used with permission from Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

At the time the university used a mascot called Hoyo, a cartoonish Native American child. The Chronicle absent-mindedly reported in that issue that the acceptance of native peoples at the university meant Hoyo “will at last have some country cousins on campus to urge him on to greater activity.”

Letters to the Editor in an April 1970 issue of the Chronicle acknowledged the “Ute” identity as a sign of strength, vitality, and “a source of pride.” While other students found the university’s mascots racist, others believed those who found them offensive were reading too much into things.

In April 1972, the issue was addressed again in the Chronicle. The concern over the use of native people’s image in college sports was growing nationwide. According to the article, tribes were suing universities for appropriating names and images alike.

There was some reconciliation later on, at least from the Chronicle itself. In 1987, the paper decided to distinguish when it referred to the Ute Tribe and when it referred to the school by using quotations marks when referencing the school. That practice has since been abandoned.

April 2014 saw the University of Utah signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ute Tribe. The memorandum is a five-year agreement where the university is allowed to use the name of the tribe on a conditional basis.

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The image of “Hoyo” was ubiquitous, especially in school announcements and calendars. Used with permission from Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Among the conditions, the university is to include in its campus programs a member of the tribe who was not a student. The purpose of that is to “enhance Native American perspectives,” writes author Larry Gerlach in the summer 2017 issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly.

Other conditions to use the name include a tribe-approved Native American advisor, a special advisor to Native American affairs, a full-time advisor on the reservation for high school students to attend college, and financial aid and scholarships for Native American students.

The debate over the name came up once more in the Chronicle on August 2016. This time, it was about doing away with the “Ute” nickname altogether. The article deemed the nickname “culturally insensitive” when referring to the school. Two sides, one for and one against, argued their points much like Letters to the Editor did 46 years earlier.

The Chronicle reported in September 2019 efforts by the Housing and Residential Office and Social Justice Advocates to educate dorm residents and advisors on moving away from using familiar symbols and replacing them. They also suggested using the phrase “Go Utah” instead of “Go Utes.” To date, none of these transitions have been implemented.

According to Gerlach in his article for the Quarterly, the National Collegiate Athletic Association declared that starting February 1, 2006, “institutions with hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery” were prohibited from hosting championship games or displaying their mascots in jerseys and uniforms during championship tournaments.

Despite these regulations, the University of Utah was permitted to keep the classic drum and feather logo. Students at the school continue to debate its use.

Controversy surrounding the use of Native American symbols and names has plagued professional, high school and college teams alike. For example, the Washington Redskins continue to stir up controversy with their name and logo.

The situation with the Redskins is similar to that of the University of Utah with the drum and feather logo and the name “Utes.” Most fans support the team name and logo while others support changing the name and image of the teams altogether.

The situation got more complicated in Cedar High School in Cedar City, a small town in the southwestern corner of Utah. The mascot “Redman” had started to raise the ire of some members of the Paiute community.

In a Salt Lake Tribune article from January 2019, various members of the Paiute community expressed personal conflict when it came to supporting the mascot for Cedar High School. Opinions were split; some supported it while others didn’t. The support came at a price for some and questioned whether such support was warranted in the face of communal backlash.

Since that time, the school opted to change the mascot. Google docs published in the school’s website say a committee of “students, faculty, staff, and alumni” moved forward with changing the identity and mascot of the school. They are now known as “Reds” and the mascot is a wolf.

Unlike Cedar High School, the University of Utah does not have even a sizeable population of Native peoples. Therefore, it cannot and likely will not form any sort of committee with the kind of influence that impacted Cedar High School to evolve away from its former mascot.

Also, changing mascots for the university will not have the same significance as it did for Cedar High School. A school with a high non-native population that moves from using a Native American symbol cannot appreciate the significance of that like a school with a high Native American population.

Regardless, there is still a strong sense of pride for fans who identify as “Utes.” It has not waned in the slightest despite objections from individuals who feel the identity of “Utes” should not be commercialized or casually used.

Despite the clamor to respect Native Americans and protect the image of the Ute Tribe, statistics from the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis at the university say Native Americans accounted for 0% of first time freshmen, undergraduate or graduate students in 2018.

To date, there has been no inquiry on the tribe’s views of the name or how their image is appropriated and used by the University of Utah today.

Since the Memorandum of Understanding between the school and the Ute Mountain Tribe in 2014, there have been no formal documented objections from either side over the agreement.

How the Utes intend to proceed with their relationship with the university after all that has transpired remains to be seen.

Jacob Rueda is a junior majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism at the University of Utah.

Primary Sources

Connor Richards, “Debate: Should Utah Ditch The ‘Ute’ Nickname?” The Daily Utah Chronicle, August 29, 2016.

Indian Youths Enter U on Tribal Grant,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 9, 1951, 1.

Craig Glover, “Letters to the Editor: Seriously?,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, April 24, 1970, 1.

Indians See Red, Hide Skins to Ute,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, April 19, 1972, 2.

Memorandum of Understanding between the Ute Indian Tribe and the University of Utah,” April 2014.

Martin Raybould, “Letters: Bring ‘Ute’ Back into Football,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 13, 1984.

Natalie Colby, “Appropriation or Appreciation? Social Justice Advocates Host ‘Utah Fan Am I,’” The Daily Utah Chronicle, September 26, 2019.

New Policy Distinguishes ‘Utes,’” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 1, 1987.

Erin Alberty, “Is a ‘Redmen’ mascot racist or does it honor Native Americans? The debate is dividing a southern Utah town,” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 13, 2019.

The Utes Nickname Project, Communication Institute, The University of Utah.

Secondary Source

Gerlach, Larry R. “Appropriation and Accommodation: The University of Utah and the Utes.” Utah Historical Quarterly 85, no.3 (Summer 2017): 204-223.

The King of Swing: Duke Ellington Visits the University of Utah

By Jake Lewis

Jazz has long been recognized as one of America’s truly original art forms. Combining Western European classical music, African culture and improvisational technique, jazz assembled an entirely new musical language. The progressive genre also played a major role in ushering in the civil rights era decades before it began to gain traction on a nationwide level. As jazz gained popularity outside of the African-American community, Black musicians were beginning to receive recognition as legitimate composers, with many going on to perform at some the world’s most legendary venues such as the Cotton Club and Carnegie Hall.

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Orchestra leader Duke Ellington plays the piano before an audience in New York City, 1943. Public Domain, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collection.

One of the most iconic African-American musicians of the jazz era was Duke Ellington. He is widely considered one of the greatest jazz composers of all time. His work not only catapulted jazz into the mainstream, but also brought along with it an impassioned message of equality that helped fuel the civil rights movement. As we near the 60th anniversary of his visit to the University of Utah in 1961, it is important we look back on how far Black musicians have come and draw on the significance of the trail Ellington blazed for civil rights in America.

Born in Washington, D.C., into a burgeoning Black middle class at the turn of the 20th century, Ellington’s family tried to shield him from many of the hardships of segregation that plagued the nation’s capital. Duke developed a sense of racial pride and social justice, which he carried with him throughout his decades-long career.

Ellington first broke on to the scene at a previously White-only venue known as the Cotton Club in Harlem. Ellington and his all-Black band quickly gained notoriety as some of the best jazz musicians in New York. It wasn’t until his 1932 album, It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing, that Ellington began seeing worldwide praise. Despite all of his success, Duke and his band still faced roadblocks when it came to segregation, even after White band managers attempted to protect the band. Even in more progressive regions like the Northern and Western United States, Black musicians were victimized by unexpressed segregationist policies. While passing through on tour, Duke and his band were denied service at a cafe in a Salt Lake City hotel in 1940. (Scott and Brooks)

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A portrait of the famed jazz musician Duke Ellington before his concert at Carnegie Hall in 1946. Public Domain, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection.

This encounter in Utah did not stop Ellington from making a return to Utah, however. In 1961, Duke and his band came to the University of Utah October 4, 1961, for a performance at the Union Ballroom. The concert is first advertised in the September 22, 1961, issue of the Daily Utah Chronicle, with subsequent advertisements following on September 29, October 3, and October 4, 1961. Tickets cost just $1.75-$2 for students to attend the event.

Deseret News Music Editor Harold Lundstrom attended the event and recalled the concert in his October 5, 1961, column. Lundstrom remarked that Ellington’s work was incredibly influential for many artists throughout the jazz world. “The longer I sat listening to Duke Ellington Wednesday evening in the spacious Union Building ballroom on the University of Utah campus, the more I realized the fact that more ideas have been borrowed from him by jazz composers, arrangers, and band leaders than any other figure in jazz history.”

The concert included more than a dozen of Ellington’s most accomplished works, such as “Mood Indigo,” “Solitude,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” and even his own rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Throughout the concert, Lundstrom noticed a theme in Ellington’s melodies. Although split up by breaks in-between songs, Lundstrom believed that Duke’s compositions were constructed collectively, an uncommon trait in the improvisational world of jazz.

Despite recognizing the melodic themes carefully laid out in Ellington’s compositions, Lundstrom briefly mentioned, but failed to grasp Duke’s message of the tribulations of an African-American man in segregated America. “Best of all, in this day, sans the “angry young Negro” all of Duke’s music ends on a note of hope!”’ remarks Lundstrom in his October 5 review.

It is unfortunate that Duke Ellington’s visit to the University of Utah did not receive the fanfare it would have today. It is, however a reflection of its time. A segregated America was unable to acknowledge Duke’s brilliance that a modern audience would surely appreciate today. Duke’s struggles helped pave the way for modern African-American artists to thrive today. Without Ellington and the jazz movement’s push for desegregation, it hard to imagine where we would be today.

Jake Lewis is a senior at the University of Utah. He is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Primary Sources

“Jazz Concert Set,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, September 22, 1961, 4.

“Duke Ellington Sets Jazz Concert Wednesday,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, September 29, 1961, 1.

Jazz Duke Plays Peer Gynt in Royal Program for Utes,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 2, 1961, 1.

“Student Activities Add Spice to Campus,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 3, 1961, 3.

Harold Lundstrom, “The Duke and Improvisation,” The Deseret News, October 3, 1961, 15.

“Duke Ellington to Present Jazz Concert,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 4, 1961, 1.

Harold Lundstrom, “Sentimental Ellington Also Sophisticated,” The Deseret News, October 5, 1961, 48.

Secondary Sources

Scott, Michelle R. and Earl Brooks. “Duke Ellington’s melodies carried his message of social justice,” The Conversation, April 24, 2019.

 

Foreign Students’ Experience at the University of Utah in 1961

By Yunji Kim

It is common to see international students at the University of Utah nowadays. As students have more opportunities to study abroad, it has become much easier to meet people from various countries. There is the University of Utah Asia Campus in South Korea, which was established in 2014. Due to having a campus in South Korea, students and faculty members from two different countries can make connections with each other. However, foreign students were not a common sight in the 1960s. Even until the 1970s, many Chinese students at the University of Utah did not feel comfortable attending the university in the United States. Since it was unusual to have international students at that time, these students had a hard time adapting to a strange environment.

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The Egyptian dinner was an important cultural gathering. This photograph was published in the May 1, 1961, issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle.

The Daily Utah Chronicle reported on May 8, 1961, that an Egyptian exchange student, Gamal Arafa, attended the University of Utah for a year. Before Arafa returned to his homeland, he shared his experience at the university, and how the attitude toward foreign students should be changed. What he liked about the university was how the students were studying based on the textbooks instead of lectures. He also liked how the university required students to take courses in different areas instead of only courses that are related to their major. However, he criticized the student government for not doing anything for students. He thought America, especially in colleges, neglected foreign students. His words were controversial among local students at the University of Utah.

In “Fit Punishment” published on May 8, 1961, one of the students said local students need to pay more attention to foreign students since they felt neglected in America. On the other hand, several students expressed unpleasant feelings toward Arafa’s interview. In the article, “We Got Letters from Our Readers,” published on May 9, 1961, McPherson, Dannenberg, and Naegle said that it is hard to take the opinions from him, and Emmett said foreign students come to the university to study like other local students. Therefore, the foreign students should  be treated like any other students.

Students from Abroad Committee Orientation Meeting

This image was published in the October 5, 1961, edition of The Daily Utah Chronicle.

There were contrasting opinions among students about foreign students. Although Arafa felt that local students needed to pay more attention, there were several events held for foreign students. According to The Daily Utah Chronicle published on May 1, 1961, there was an Egyptian Dinner as a school event that allowed the students to taste the Egyptian food. The university has put an effort into giving opportunities to indirectly experience the foreign culture for students.

Moreover, there was an orientation for foreign students. On October 5, 1961, The Daily Utah Chronicle stated that the students from the abroad committee planned to develop foreign student programming on campus. Due to having many events for international students, The Daily Utah Chronicle from May 4, 1961, announced that president A. Ray Olpin was recognized for his work in education through foreign exchange programs.

Despite these efforts the university put into, foreign students from the University of Utah still had difficulties living in the United States. In 1972, Chang surveyed Chinese students from the University of Utah, and they had a problem adjusting to the environment. According to Chang, Chinese students suggested the school to provide more information to help them understand the school, culture, social customs, a more adequate orientation program such as conversational and slang English, and more social activities to allow opportunities to be exposed to American culture and people. However, some of the difficulties Chinese students listed were not what the school or local students could address such as homesickness or cultural background which includes difference in language and social life. Although the university tried several ways for foreign students to feel more welcomed, some students felt there were not enough.

Due to the differences in cultural background and since America is not their home country, there are limitations for foreign students to feel at home. Foreign students facing difficulties in adaptation are continuing which both the university and the foreign students need to put more effort to break down the cultural barriers. Currently, the University of Utah did not only end up having events for international students but establish Asia Campus in South Korea which the students from both countries can experience and make connections with each other. Making connections with various countries would lead to breaking down the cultural barriers in the future. The data from the University of Utah states that the percentage of international students has increased from 25% to 29% for the past four years. As the rate of international students increases, the boundary between local and foreign students would be reduced because students would be exposed to diverse students with different background. Therefore, the foreign students would gradually feel less neglected while attending at the University of Utah.

Yunji Kim graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology.  

Primary Sources

Foreign Student Meet Set For Program Orientation,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 5, 1961.

Students from Abroad to Present Egyptian Dinner,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 1, 1961, 3.

Recognition,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 4, 1961, 2.

United States’ Attitude Week Says Foreigner,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 8, 1961, 1.

Fit Punishment,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 8, 1961, 2.

Neil McPherson, John Dannenberg, John Naegle and Lester Emmett, “We Get Letters from Our Readers,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 9, 1961, 2.

Secondary Source

Chang, Pang-Hsiung. Problems of Adjustment for Chinese Students at the University of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, 1972.

Leroy Robertson’s Artistic Legacy — Salt Lake City and Beyond

By Palak Jayswal

The state of Utah is known across the nation for a few things, such as: “the greatest snow on earth,” the beautiful outdoors, and most prominent of all — Mormonism. In the same religious thread, The Book of Mormon musical is well known as well. This begs the question, can Utah possibly be known for the arts?

Leroy Robertson was a Utah native, born and raised in a Mormon household in Fountain Green, Utah. According to Hukill, “His early years were marked by extremely limited opportunities for musical exposure, lack of financial resources, and an overwhelming desire to become a violinist.” (p. 1) Despite this, Robertson learned about music by analyzing scores from great composers. Hukill reports he even “carved his first violin out of wood, and strung it with horse hair from the tail of the family mare.” (p. 1) After hard work, Robertson was able to save enough money to study music at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He went on to perform all over the world and teach music, including here in Utah at Brigham Young University and eventually the University of Utah, where he was the head of the music department.

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An ad in the Daily Utah Chronicle for the performance of the oratorio at the Tabernacle.

Robertson wrote an oratorio based on The Book of Mormon, the sacred text of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. An oratorio is a large musical production that acts as a story based on religious themes by using an orchestra and voices. On April 10, 1961, Robertson performed his oratorio in the Tabernacle, accompanied by the Utah Symphony Orchestra and The University of Utah chorus. Maurice Abravanel conducted the oratorio.

This particular performance was special for a variety of reasons. It would be the first performance of the oratorio in over six years. On April 6, 1961, The Vernal Express reported, “The performance had its world premiere in mid-February of 1953 in Utah’s capital city.” Robertson would be back to showcase his star after a long wait. On the day of the performance, The Daily Utah Chronicle said Robertson “has come to be regarded as one of the most significant composers of the contemporary period.”

The oratorio had gathered its prestige in its six years on and off the charts and was a source of pride for not only Robertson, but the entire state. On April 7, 1961, The Bingham Bulletin characterized the oratorio as “the finest large-scale choral work ever written in this hemisphere.” Even more, residents across the state were proud of this musical work, as The Vernal Express published on April 6, 1961, “Utahns can well be proud of the tremendous talent which goes into such a project as the performance of this great work.”

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The Daily Utah Chronicle announced on April 7, 1961, that the oratorio would be recorded.

The oratorio and its recording were anticipated widely across the state, with advertisements in many of the newspapers and publications. This event was accessible to all residents in Utah, and especially for students. The Daily Utah Chronicle advertised in its April 10, 1961, issue about the performance with a drawing of Robertson conducting. It also stated that students received half price on tickets.

Adding another level of significance to this particular performance, The Daily Utah Chronicle reported on April 7, 1961, that the performance was “being recorded by Vanguard Recording Society by the Symphony and the University singers.” The Vanguard sound recording is significant because it created an everlasting memory of this particular performance. The oratorio, of course, was performed many more times throughout history but never like this — with such a strong local emphasis, dedication to the craft, and with the composer himself at the helm. With this performance, the heart of the piece was driven home.

Through his work on the oratorio, Robertson made a name for the arts in Utah. The oratorio changed the fate of classical music while giving Mormonism a new artistic outlook. His legacy shares many things with us, but most importantly, that the arts can be cultivated in any place in the world — no matter the city, no matter your upbringing, and no matter your access. The Oratorio from The Book of Mormon is a testament that art is everlasting.

Palak Jayswal is a senior at the University of Utah. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism and minoring in creative writing. She is also the arts editor at the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Primary Sources

“LDS Oratorio Set April 10 in S.L. Tabernacle,” The Vernal Express, April 6, 1961, 2.

“Symphony, Chorus to Tape, Perform Robertson Work,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, April 7, 1961, 1.

“Oratorio To Be Given Monday in Salt Lake,” The Bingham Bulletin, April 7, 1961, 1.

“Dr. Robertson’s ‘Oratorio’ Set Tonight,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, April 10, 1961, 1.

Advertisement for the “Oratorio of the Book of Mormon,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, April 10, 1961, 4.

Robertson, Leroy J, Roy Samuelsen, Kenly Whitelock, Jean Preston, Warren Wood, and Maurice Abravanel. Oratorio from the Book of Mormon. New York: Vanguard Records, 1961. Sound recording.

Secondary Sources

Hukill, Cynthia. “A Stylistic Analysis of Selected Piano Works of Leroy Robertson, (1896-1971).” PhD diss: University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Delta Delta Delta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the forgotten houses from Greek Row at he University of Utah

By Chloe Greep

Greek life at the University of Utah has been a prominent part of the university since it began in the fall of 1909. Today 11 fraternities, seven sororities and over 1,600 students are members of Greek life at the university. Many of the articles in The Daily Utah Chronicle from 1941 were events and ongoings within the Greek life community. There are articles written on Greek life from parties, dances and even lists of who was newly engaged or married within the community.

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Delta Delta Delta in the University of Utah Utonian yearbook in 1936. Courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

In these articles there are frequent mentions of the sorority Delta Delta Delta, better known as Tri-Delt, and the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon. These two houses no longer exist on the university campus and in some ways the history of these houses has been lost and forgotten.

Delta Delta Delta was established at the University of Utah in 1932 with the address 1431 E. 100 South, which is now home to the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. The chapter’s purpose was “assisting its members in every possible way,” according to the chapter’s website. The chapter focused on raising money for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital Research.

The University of Utah founded the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, better known as SAE, in 1949 and in 1967 it was the largest fraternity on campus, according to the Utonian, the university’s college yearbook. From the articles in The Daily Utah Chronicle, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter was very involved on campus, hosting many parties and partaking in other campus-wide events.

The downfall of the Delta Delta Delta Chapter began in 2006. From year 2000 to 2006 the amount of students who were becoming involved in the Greek system at the University of  Utah declined from 970 to 625, a 36% decrease in involvement, according to an article in 2006 in The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Delta Delta Delta chapter was told in the early spring of 2006, that if it didn’t increase membership by 25 people the organization would pull its charter on April 30 of that year. Unfortunately, the chapter was unable to reach those numbers, according to an article written in the Deseret News, ending the legacy of the Delta Delta Delta sorority on the University of Utah Campus.

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Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the 1967 Utonian. Courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

There is not much information on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter’s downfall. There is a lot of information on the fraternity’s reputation nationwide. According to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Wikipedia page, between 2006 and 2013 nine deaths were linked to drinking, drugs and hazing within the fraternity. Along with that the site also says that during the 2010s, 18 chapters were suspended, closed or banned. After doing extensive research it seems like the fraternity just disappeared off the school’s campus in 1996.

It is strange how there were several articles written about the decline of the Delta Delta Delta sorority at the University of Utah, but nothing on the reasoning behind the downfall of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. The downfall of the fraternity remains a mystery to all except those who were members of the fraternity at that time. The fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon nationally has a bad reputation and history of hazing throughout the United States, and I wonder if that is the reasoning behind the chapter’s shut down in 1996.

Chloe Greep is a junior a the University of Utah. She is studying communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Primary Sources

Delta Delta Delta says goodbye to Greek Row,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 17, 2006.

Tri Delta, Salt Lake City Alumnae Chapter.

Erin Stewart, “Another U. Greek House May Close,” Deseret News, January 29, 2006.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon,” Wikipedia, November 28, 2019.

Secondary Source

Sykes, Shinika A. “Are U.’s Greeks Past Their Peak?” The Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, 2006.

The Legacy of Dr. Khosrow Mostofi: An Uphill Battle in Establishing the University of Utah Middle East Center

By Christian Gomez

Violence and war have become a normal part of life in the Middle East. Typically portrayed in a negative light, the Middle East is often scrutinized by people throughout the world for its differences in religious and political views. This has contributed to a general lack of understanding of the cultures, practices, and languages that exist in the Middle East.

The University of Utah has championed Middle Eastern studies for many years in hopes of providing opportunities to better understand the Middle East. From learning new languages to gaining an appreciation for other cultures, Middle Eastern studies at the University of Utah have provided opportunities for new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the Middle East. But, it wasn’t always this way. It took the efforts of prominent figures to establish this curriculum—people like Dr. Khosrow Mostofi.

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The Daily Utah Chronicle focuses on the accomplishments and retirement of former director and founder of the Middle East Center, Dr. Aziz S. Atiya. It also introduces Dr. Khosrow Mostofi as the new director. Photo from the July 1967 issue. Used by permission, The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Mostofi’s unique story began 7,000 miles away in Tehran, Iran, where he was born in 1921. He attended the University of Tehran, where he received his B.A. in English literature. His language skills were in high demand, and he taught English for the Ministry of Education at several institutions in Iran. (Bean, p. 306; Mostofi interview, p. 3)

In 1949, Mostofi immigrated to the United States. By this time, World War II had ended. But prior to leaving Tehran, he had met a U.S. officer from the Persian Gulf command. Mostofi and the officer stayed in touch after the war, and he told the officer of his plans to attend Columbia University. The officer informed him of the “cultural shock” that he would experience in New York City. Having been a student at the University of Utah, the officer suggested that Mostofi attend school in Salt Lake City—a place he had never even heard of. (Mostofi interview, pp. 3-4)

Mostofi quickly immersed himself into his graduate studies. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science four years later. Bothered by the lack of diversity in the curriculum, Mostofi proposed that three courses on the Middle East be implemented—an idea originally met with skepticism by administrators. Eventually, courses were added, and the University of Utah qualified for its first grant for the Middle East Center. (Mostofi interview, pp. 4-5)

After a two-year teaching stint at Portland State College, Mostofi returned to the University of Utah in 1960 when he was named the assistant director of the center—working alongside then-director and founder of the Middle East Center, Aziz Atiya. There were no formal degree programs and the only staff was Mostofi, Atiya, and one secretary. (Mostofi interview, pp. 6, 19)

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Dr. Sami A. Hanna, left, associate professor of languages, and Dr. Khosrow Mostofi, director of the Middle East Center, discuss their plans for the new cultural exchange program in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo from a February 1971 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle. Used by permission.

While the addition of the Middle East Center was a step in the right direction, it wasn’t embraced by everyone. In an interview with Everett L. Cooley, Mostofi spoke about the “outright hostility in some circles” that the program was met with on campus. Some faculty felt that funding should be spent elsewhere, and not on a new, unproven program.

In 1966, Mostofi resigned his position to pursue full time teaching and research. His resignation was brief, as Atiya fell ill, and Mostofi took over. The Daily Utah Chronicle highlighted this change in its July 1967 issue, which commemorated Atiya and introduced Mostofi as the new director. (Mostofi interview, p. 18)

Mostofi introduced reforms for the center, citing a lack of performance. He reached an agreement with the U.S. Office of Education that allowed the center to host professors from Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Israel for three-month intervals. Mostofi improved curriculum by forming strong relations with Iran—as evidenced in the August 1966 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle. The center’s funding increased, and graduate and undergraduate programs were approved. Seven graduate degree programs emerged for Middle East Studies: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Anthropology, History and Political Science. (Mostofi interview, pp. 18-20)

After receiving little support from the federal government, Mostofi secured grants from major organizations—changing the entire outlook on the Middle East Center. He also formed relationships with the public-school system, as well as the local community, beginning a “grass roots support” for the center. This was illustrated in the February 1971 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle, when Mostofi organized a cultural exchange program for U.S. students in Tunisia. (Mostofi interview, pp. 24, 27)

In his interview with Everett L. Cooley, Mostofi made it clear what his mission had been throughout this entire process: “Changing attitudes and outlooks.” Mostofi did this by instilling the Middle East’s proud and expansive history in higher education’s curriculum. It was about shifting the misperceptions associated with the Middle East, and bringing to awareness the richness of its culture.

Mostofi etched his mark on students at the University of Utah. The April 1964 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle drew attention to Mostofi’s efforts in bringing thousands of Persian books to the library. His prominent role in the development of the Middle East Center left a lasting impact, and it most likely wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for his contributions.

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The Daily Utah Chronicle highlights Dr. Khosrow Mostofi’s efforts in bringing in over 3,000 volumes of Persian books for the Intercultural Library. Photo from the August 1966 issue. Used by permission, The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Mostofi retired from the Department of Political Science in 1987, but remained a Middle East Center consultant until 1991. He was honored with the Distinguished Service Award and acknowledged as “an internationally recognized scholar of Iranian culture, history, and politics,” according to the August 1992 issue of The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Today, the Middle East Center stands strong—empowering students to enact change and become global citizens. It offers graduate and undergraduate programs that provide students with dynamic skills in language and cultural comprehension in the Middle East. For students today, the center serves as a stepping stone for potential careers in public affairs, public service, business, and several other fields. Opportunities now exist for students to participate in conferences, workshops, and outreach activities to further their understanding of the Middle East, and shed the stereotypes that are still prevalent in today’s society.

Christian Gomez is a junior at the University of Utah. He is studying strategic communication with a minor in writing in rhetoric.

Primary Sources

Former Middle East Center director dies,” Daily Utah Chronicle, August 12, 1992, 3.

Intercultural Center Gains 3,000 Volumes,” Daily Utah Chronicle, August 16, 1966, 3.

Iran Embassy Honors Prof For Writings,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 10, 1964, 4.

Mid East program okayed,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 25, 1971, 5.

Profs Gain Posts,” Daily Utah Chronicle, July 14, 1967, 1.

Transcript, interview with Khosrow Mostofi, conducted September 17, 1985, by Everett L. Cooley, Everett L. Colley Oral History Collection, J Willard Marriott Library Special Collections, The University of Utah.

Secondary Source

Bean, Lee L. “Khosrow Mostofi.” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 26, no. 2 (1992): 306-07.

 

 

 

Spotlighted Artist Richard “Dick” Bibler 

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Professor Snarf telling students about the one book they will need to purchase for the course. Cartoon by Richard Bibler from More Little Man on Campus. Published 1957 by Bibler Features. Use in the public domain.

By Roberto Elguera

If you ever picked up a newspaper as a kid, the first thing you probably flipped to was the cartoons. Popular types of cartoons in newspapers include political, illustrative, gag, comic strip, and animated cartoons. The themes and jokes displayed in these cartoons are determined by the artist, with each artist showing their own style of humor and illustration. One artist who has a unique style is Richard “Dick” Bibler.

Bibler’s jump-start as an editorial cartoonist began as a freshman at the University of Kansas. Part of the class of 1946, Bibler could be found in the infamous quarters of Oread Hall. Oread Hall originally served as an army barracks but got transformed as an affordable housing unit for students. Oread Hall was known for its tight quarters and lack of air conditioning. Residents called it a “tinderbox.” (McCool) Maybe not the grandest of living spaces, but it was perhaps the perfect environment for Bibler to rub shoulders with his fellow classmates. This first-hand experience explains Bibler’s attention to detail to student life in his illustrations.

Bibler’s cartoons focused on themes familiar among college students. Published in over a hundred campus newspapers, Bibler’s “Little Man on Campus” (LMOC), quickly became a popular cartoon at universities by 1951. His cartoons follow the young and reckless “Worthal” and seemingly evil “Professor Snarf.” Bibler told The Word newspaper on November 3, 1967, that the University of Utah was among the first universities asking to publish his work on the campus newspaper, the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Although Bibler’s LMOC is no longer published in the present-day campus newspaper, his work is still relatable to today’s college students. Students and graduates alike flipping through the LMOC cartoons can relate to the character “Worthal” for his nervousness before tests, his silly pranks, and his perseverance as he goes through college. Readers can also relate to and identify their own “Professor Snarf”: the scary professor whose class seems impossible to pass, and the student’s favorite teacher to prank. As Bibler said in an interview with Morris Arden (Little Man, What Now?) about the character “Professor Snarf,” “every college has a ‘Snarf’ and if you don’t believe me, ask some of my students.”

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Worthal enlisting in the army. Cartoon by Richard Bibler. Use in the public domain.

Colleges and universities like North Carolina State College, Boise Junior College, Boston University, and the University of Miami have all shared their admiration for the series. The previous editor of the University of Miami Hurricane newspaper, John Garcia, said, “LMOC has contributed something different to the university and college campuses. He has been well received by the students…. Little Man has become a legend.” (Little Man, What Now?) With Richard Bibler’s death in 2013, it is important that we keep his art and humor alive today. The cartoons serve as a memento of the past as well as the present of the college social experience. For all the endless laughs and smiles we celebrate Richard “Dick” Bibler.

Roberto Elguera is a senior at the University of Utah, majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Primary Sources

Introducing: The Little Man on Campus,” The Word, November 3, 1967, 3.

Little Man On Campus,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 16, 1961, 2.

Little Man on Campus,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 18, 1961, 2.

Little Man on Campus,Daily Utah Chronicle, January 19, 1961, 2.

Richard Bibler, Little Man on Campus – Fourth Book of Cartoons, 1947.

Richard Bibler, Little Man on Campus (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1952).

Richard Bibler, Little Man, What Now? (Elkhart, Kansas: Bibler Features, 1959).

Secondary Source

McCool, John H. “Independents’ Hall,” the University of Kansas.

 

Marcel Marceau: World’s Greatest Pantomimist

By Hannah Cook

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Tbe world-famed pantomimist Marcel Marceau as pictured in advance of his appearance at the University of
Utah. Daily Utah Chronicle, March 14, 1958.

Marcel Marceau was born in 1923 in a village near Strasbourg, France. Marceau stated that he was fascinated by the art of mime for “as long as he can remember.” During his early childhood he was found imitating people he saw in his daily life. He idolized and was inspired by great silent screen actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. He was self-taught until 1946 when he enrolled under the great master of mime, Etienne Decroux, in Sarah Bernhardt’s Theatre in Paris. Marceau’s aim was to always make his audience see, feel and hear the invisible, but he also wanted to reach out to children and to draw them into theaters. Marceau said he wanted to do this to help educate them in “the universality of culture.” After practicing mime for years, Marceau eventually created a school to teach others the art of pantomime. Though at first his main goal was to teach mime, his school became much more than that. The Marcel Marceau Paris International School of Mimodrama taught many subjects other than pantomime, such as classical and modern dance, juggling, fencing, acrobatics and jazz. Marceau eventually stated that, “What matters is that the visual theater is alive.”

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This photo accompanied a Daily Utah Chronicle story published March 28, 1958, about Marcel Marceau’s performance at the University of Utah.

In his days of practice, Marceau brought forth a small revival in the art of pantomime, an art that many would consider to be a lost art that seemed to be irrelevant. Marceau was a master interpreter of one of the oldest, least practiced of performing arts — the art of gesture. Lewis Funke of the New York Times wrote that Marceau “needs not a word to convey anything in the range of human experience.” Many compliments are spread of Marceau and his perfected practice of pantomime through his time of performing, as well as many years after. Walter Kerr, drama critic of the New York Herald Tribune, wrote that “Marcel Marceau is the sort of theatrical gift that one really deserves. To ask for such perfection would be presumptuous; you can only stare at it, believe it and be thankful. The fellow is, in case I forgot to say it, superb.” The great mime came to America after success at his home theater, Ambigu Theatre, in Paris with his entire Compagnie de Mime. He also had international success in Europe, Latin America, India, and Israel.

Though it may seem like a lost art, pantomime is still very much alive around the globe today — even in small towns in Utah. Gregg Goldston is a popular mime from Utah. After watching a performance by Marcel Marceau, Goldston said he walked out with his mouth open. He said he “was really fascinated.” A lot of hard work and practice goes into the art of pantomime. Though many of Marceau’s acts included comedy, especially his most popular act of “Bip,” Goldston said “mime is movement not just clowning, mime is derived from acting, and mime is a lot more expressive than dance and takes extreme concentration.”

Other pantomimists, such as Joe Pitti, worked with Marceau and were inspired by him. Pitti said in a 1990 interview with the Davis County Clipper that mime was his first love, and that “mime gave me the spark to communicate.” He was part of the Davis County School District’s Artist-in-Residence program and worked with children to teach them the art of mime and “to get them to laugh at themselves.”

Though the art of pantomime may seem to be irrelevant in today’s world, it is a topic that should still be recognized for its importance in history. This art form is still being taught and recognized globally in forms such as pantomime schools, as well as schools hosting performers of the arts. Marcel Marceau performed for the University of Utah on multiple occasions, in part due to his importance in the history of pantomime and his love for the art. Schools, such as the University of Utah, being able to bring well-known guests to perform for the student body and public creates a way to enlighten a student’s experience at the university with an internationally renowned art form.

Hannah Cook is a senior at the University of Utah. She is studying communication with an emphasis in strategic communication.

Primary Sources

Perfection Presented Monday,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 28, 1958, 2.

Pantomimist Marceau Will Appear in Kingsbury Hall,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 11, 1961, 3

Lost Art…,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 12, 1961, 2.

Utes Spotlight Marceau Tonight,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 13, 1961, 1.

Mime Artist Performs at Learning Center,” Park Record, March 23, 1978, 28.

Judy Jensen, “Mimes the Word,” Davis County Clipper, April 4, 1990, 3.

Secondary Source

Riding, Alan. “OFFSTAGE WITH: Marcel Marceau; Sounding a Legacy of Silence,” New York Times, December 2, 1993, 1.