Activities of University of Utah Fraternities and Sororities in 1960-1961

By Lucy Choi

The Fraternity and Sorority community started at the University of Utah in the fall of 1909 when the first fraternity was chartered and established. The first sorority on campus was founded four years later, in 1913. According to the official University of Utah Greek site, today the University of Utah has 18 fraternities and sororities with over 1,600 students involved.

This article explores various activities that the fraternities and sororities of the University of Utah engaged in during 1960 and 1961.

According to the articles found in the Daily Utah Chronicle, the activities of the Greeks could be divided into three main categories: contributions to the local community, socialization between members, and sports.

Melon

Sigma Chi fraternity members Jim Moss and Brent Bateman prepare melons for the Melon Mess on October 10, 1960. The event was open to all students on campus. Originally published in the Daily Utah Chronicle.

To start with, the Daily Utah Chronicle reported in the November 30, 1960, issue that “Phi Sigma Kappa, Lambda Delta Sigma, Central and Wasatch Halls, and the Navy ROTC captured first place awards in the fall blood drive.” Seeing that several fraternities showed a high percentage of participation and that half of the awardees were Greek groups, the article implied that the students involved in fraternities and sororities were encouraged to participate in events that contributed to society. In addition, the University of Utah’s yearbook, Utonian, introduced a sorority that dedicated their musical talents to children by participating in a “Christmas project by the pledges, who made and decorated boxes, which were distributed to the Children’s Hospital.”

Furthermore, in terms of socialization, fraternities and sororities came up with a lot of creative and fun events for not only the Greek members but also the students on campus. The Daily Utah Chronicle’s issue published on May 3, 1961, wrote about the Songfest saying, “Nineteen Greek groups will present novelty and serious songs.” This allowed the Greek groups to “collaborate.” This was an event where the student body and the public were invited while the Greek students entertained them. From this event, the Greeks not only provided activities to get the students entertained but also a platform for the members and the students to socialize. By preparing this event, the Greek members developed strong bonds between members.

The fraternity Sigma Chi was known for holding the Melon Mess annually, according to the Daily Utah Chronicle in October 1961. Melon Mess was an event where hundreds of melons were shared with the whole student body. It also said that “each sorority pledge class is scheduled to present a skit on the Sigma Chi front porch to entertain the melon-eaters.” This event is also an example that shows the effort of fraternities and sororities in providing a platform for the students to mingle as well as to entertain themselves.

tennis

Dick Ruppel, left, and Fred Wheeler from Kappa Sigma fraternity won the Intramurals Tennis doubles in 1959 and 1960. Originally published in the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Moreover, the Greeks had a high participation rate in sports on campus. Kistler wrote, “For the fraternities, softball, basketball, fencing, tennis, ping-pong, archery, badminton, pool, golf, and touch football are available” and “for the sororities, archery, badminton, ping-pong, softball, basketball and tennis are available.” (Report of Fraternity Study Committee, p. 29) Impressively enough after going through competitive tournaments, several members from the fraternities and sororities boosted and came to a high standing. The Daily Utah Chronicle published on November 23, 1960, the article titled “Winners Named WRA Volleyball Tourney Play” saying “Kappa Kappa Gamma took their first place in this year’s WRA Volleyball Tournament” — a huge achievement. Even in the article “Kappa Sigs Stage Win” in the Daily Utah Chronicle issue of November 30, 1960, “two members of Kappa Sigma staged a repeat performance last week” to capture their win in the Intramurals tennis doubles, which they won two years in a row. This shows that many fraternities and sororities participated and competed with each other and a lot of them showed high performance.

This article discusses the engagement of University of Utah fraternities and sororities in different categories: volunteer work, socialization, and sports. Greek groups these days are holding activities such as boot camps and Greek Weeks to socialize and also are engaging in a variety of events. Because the early members of the fraternities and sororities had laid a firm foundation, current student members could inherit their spirit of passion for engagement and carry it on.

Lucy Choi graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication at the University of Utah.

Primary Sources

Phi Sigma Kappa’s 100% Earns Blood Drive First,” Daily Utah Chronicle, November 30, 1960.

Kappa Sigs Stage Win,” Daily Utah Chronicle, November 30, 1960.

Fraternities, Sororities Collaborate in Songfest Thursday,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 3, 1961.

Sigma Chi Melon Mess Open to Student Body, Daily Utah Chronicle, October 9, 1961.

Utonian, The University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960), p. 285.

Winners Named WRA Volleyball Tourney Play,” Daily Utah Chronicle, November 23, 1960.

Kistler, Samuel. “Results of Fraternity Study Committee, University of Utah.” Salt Lake City, Utah: The University of Utah, 1962.

Cartoonist Al Capp Gives Speech Offered Through the University of Utah’s Assemblies and Convocations Committee

By Taylor Barney

Alfred Gerald Caplin, better known by the abbreviated Al Capp, was a cartoonist from New Haven, Connecticut. Capp had gone to work for Ham Fisher, a cartoonist in Connecticut known for his popular comic strip, Joe Palooka. In 1933, while working on Joe Palooka, Capp introduced a hillbilly character into the comic’s cast of characters. This hillbilly character, a boxer from Kentucky named Big Leviticus, became a quick favorite of the comic reading public. So, when Capp quit working with Fisher, he decided to begin a new comic strip that took place in the South. Capp’s most famous comic strip, Li’l Abner, was established with this vision on August 13, 1934. (Studies in American Humor, 2001)

Li’l Abner became the biggest comic ever set in the South. At its height, the comic strip was read by “such great people as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, and novelist John Steinbeck.” On top of the comic’s famous readers, it was being read by about “60 million readers in over 900 million American newspapers and 100 foreign papers in 28 countries.” (The Daily Utah Chronicle, 1960)

 

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Provo Sunday Herald, October 2, 1960

 

Li’l Abner could locally be seen in the Provo Daily Herald, and had become a student favorite at the University of Utah. Al Capp was able to capture real-life happenings and make them into a satirical comic strip. In the October 6, 1960, issue of the Daily Utah Chronicle, a reporter gives a brief overview of just some of the topics that could be found in Li’l Abner, such as “sex, law enforcement, and the housing situation.” Al Capp was putting a humorous lens on top of things that were critical to the American life in 1960.

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Al Capp addressed a large crowd at the University of Utah Union Ballroom. Daily Utah Chronicle, October 7, 1960.

With Capp’s popularity among the University of Utah Students, he was a perfect fit to begin a set of speeches that were being offered by the University’s Assemblies and Convocations Committee. Capp’s speech was to take place on October 6, 1960, and was aptly titled “Al Capp Talks.” In an article titled “Capp and Cows” from the October 6 issue, a reporter observed, “To many, he is more than a satirist or a cartoonist; he is an institution.” Possibly the biggest indicator of just how popular Al Capp was among the students is shown in the September 22, 1960, issue of the Chronicle. In the issue there’s an article titled, “Top Speakers Set for Shows,” where the first speakers were announced for the Assemblies and Convocations Committees upcoming speaker series. Among the speakers were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., then Senator Paul Douglas, and one of the most widely known American columnists at the time, Drew Pearson. In front of all of those names, and with a large photograph right in the middle of the article, is none other than Al Capp.

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A portrait of Al Capp appeared in the Daily Utah Chronicle issue of September 22, 1960, with the article, “Al Capp Sets U Appearance.”

During his speech at the University of Utah, Capp touched on every one of his major topics while still finding a way to surprise the audience. In the Chronicle article, “Capp Treats Campus, Lampoons Television,” the reporter said that Capp had spoken on “everything from his suspicion of lawyers with three names to his opinion of abstract art.” Reading through the article gives a wider view of just what type of comedy and satire Capp was giving in his speeches, and it’s easy to see why college students of the time were infatuated with the man. The article brings up how Capp could also tone it down and become very serious. At one point Capp “drew a modern comparison between television programs and Fagin of Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist.’” He delved into politics when he said about war, “Less emphasis should be placed upon which world political faction is better prepared to destroy the other and more upon the fact that this destruction could take place.” After a night of laughter and wisdom, a full Union Ballroom crowd was complimented when Al Capp said how much he had enjoyed Salt Lake City and the University of Utah. Capp left the crowd with this final thought, “The American Humorist is freer to print what he wants to today than he has ever been before.” (“Capp Treats Campus”)

In summary, Al Capp was a prominent figure in 1960. He gained popularity from his Li’l Abner comic strip, where readers found real-life issues that were brought forward with a satirical view. He then toured the country giving speeches at multiple universities, where the students enjoyed his anti-war, anti-establishment talking points. In the 1960s Capp was showing a rather progressive viewpoint through his speeches and cartoons, and students across the country were able to find someone who spoke in a way that resonated with them.

Taylor Barney is a senior at the University of Utah, where he is studying communication with an emphasis in journalism.

Primary Sources

Top Speakers Set For Shows,” Daily Utah Chronicle, September 22, 1960, 4.

Al Capp, “Li’l Abner,” Provo Sunday Herald, October 2, 1960, 19.

Al Capp, “Li’l Abner,” Provo Daily Herald, October 3, 1960, 13.

Capp’s Lecture Kicks Off ’60 Guest Speaker Series,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 4, 1960, 1.

Capp Speech Set For Union Tonight at 8:15,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 6, 1960, 1.

Capp and Cows…,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 6, 1960, 2.

Capp Treats Campus, Lampoons Television,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 7, 1960, 1.

Secondary Sources

Arnold, Edwin T. “Abner Unpinned: Al Capps “Lil Abner,” 1940-1955,” Appalachian Journal 24, no. 4 (Summer 1997): 420-436.

Inge, Thomas. “Al Capp’s South: Appalachian Humor in “Li’l Abner,” Studies in American Humor 3, no. 8 (2001): 4-20.

 

 

 

 

Guest Lecturers at the U: From Cartoonists to Civil Rights Leaders

By Rahul Barkley

The importance of racial diversity in higher education should not be understated. The lack of racial diversity on a college campus can lead to skewed prioritization and underrepresentation while an ethnically diverse campus that encourages cross-race socialization and frequent discussion of racial issues can result in self-confidence, positive interaction between students, and overall college satisfaction. (Gonzalez, 2012) With the topic of racial diversity, reflecting upon historical contexts can provide integral insight on issues of race within a collegiate setting.

In the Fall 1960 semester at the University of Utah, a lecture series sponsored by the ASUU Assemblies and Convocations committee and the Extension Division was entering its third season. The goal of this series was to give “students and faculty a chance to hear the views of some of the world’s great people on some timely and critical problems.” (1961 Utonian, p. 203) Several notable speakers were scheduled to speak throughout the 1960-61 school year. Looking back, it is notable to point out the various speakers that the University of Utah was able to get. From politicians to columnists to anthropologists, the student government undoubtedly succeeded in obtaining an eclectic roster of guest lecturers. What is more interesting, however, is how the University’s media covered the appearances of certain speakers. The University of Utah was a considerably less diverse institution in 1960 and with that, it is important to look at how the school’s media outlets might have prioritized certain speakers depending on their race.

MLK

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his visit to Salt Lake City on January 31, 1960. Image courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

The Daily Utah Chronicle first covered the lecture series on October 3, 1960, by primarily giving attention to the speaker who was going to start off the lecture series, Al Capp. The article gave background information on Capp’s world-renowned work as a cartoon artist. The article concluded by listing some of the other lecturers who would come to speak later that year. One of the speakers who was mentioned was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The following day on October 4, 1960, The Chronicle followed up with a similarly structured article.

This is where the question of prioritization comes in. Is it right to rate the value of certain individuals’ contributions to society? From a 2019 lens, one would probably argue that King had a far greater and important impact on American culture than Al Capp did. Even for the time, King had already made some monumental strides in the Civil Rights Movement. Did America in 1960 not value the contributions of the civil-rights activist? The more likely answer is that the predominantly white University of Utah could not foresee how important King was as an individual.

Eventually, King was given his own article once it came close to the time of his appearance. The January 30, 1961, issue of The Chronicle described King with just reverence and respect when giving readers background information on the speaker who would soon visit their school. Another article was written in The Chronicle about King on the day of his lecture on January 31, 1961, this time offering specific details on what the topic of his lecture was going to be on. The article quoted the subject of his lecture as “The Future of Integration.” (Daily Utah Chronicle, 1961)

MLK and Williams

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking with political science professor J. D. Williams during King’s visit to the University of Utah. Image found through the Deseret News archives.

Should there have been more attention given to the appearance of Martin Luther King Jr. in those initial Chronicle articles? Or was it sufficient to give him his exposure during the time of his lecture? Given the aforementioned goal of the lecture series, more coverage should have been given to King’s appearance considering that the Civil Rights Movement was a central part of arguably the most “critical problem” that America had been facing at the time. This problem is further highlighted in the fact that King’s arrival in Salt Lake City for the event was delayed an hour due to a bomb threat. (House, 2012) Surely none of the other guest lecturers faced a detriment like that. And surely The Chronicle could not have foreseen such a thing happening to King, but it should have made clear after the fact of who would have been the most important speaker of that lecture series.

Rahul Barkley is a fourth-year student at the University of Utah. He is a double major in strategic communication and film and media arts.

Primary Sources

“Dogpatch Ambassador to Speak,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 3, 1960, 1.

“Capp’s Lecture Kicks Off ’60 Guest Speaker Series,” Daily Utah Chronicle, October 4, 1960, 1.

Elaine Krans, “Martin Luther King Sets Campus Speech,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 30, 1961, 1.

“Southern Leader Speaks of Race Problem Tonight,” Daily Utah Chronicle, January 31, 1961, 1.

The University of Utah, Utonian (Salt Lake City, Utah: 1961), 203.

Joe Bauman, “King’s visits to Utah are chronicled,” Deseret News, January 19, 2009.

Secondary Sources

House, Dawn. “Civil rights speaker questions Utah’s History with Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 6, 2012.

Clarke, Chris Gonzalez. “Rethinking Research on the Impact of Racial Diversity in Higher Education,” Review of Higher Education 36, no. 1 (December 2012).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boris Goldovsky: The Man Who Acquainted the Mountain West with Opera

Boris_Image2

Broadcaster Bruce Duffie interviewed Boris Goldovsky in September 1985. Read the transcript of their conversation.

By Taisia Auston

The Renaissance marks the transition from the Middle Ages to a modern world. We saw the rise of famous painters such as Michelangelo and Raphael, and sculptors such as Donatello. The impact on art and culture is enormous. And with the rise of painting, sculpting, and poetry, we, too, saw the rise of opera.

A Brief History of Opera highlights the creation of opera: An Italian musical troupe re-created a class Greek play. Two different styles began to emerge—one of high-brow drama and the other style is more comedic in nature. Opera evolved throughout the years and eventually piqued the interest of one famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart was regarded as “the ultimate Classical opera composer.” Opera was a culture powerhouse. It spread across Europe and really cemented itself in European culture. It did not, however, find as much success in America until centuries later, according to A Brief History of Opera. And we owe quite a bit of credit to Boris Goldovsky for introducing opera to the United States and most notably, Utah and the western United States.

Boris Goldovsky was born in Moscow, Russia. He hailed from a musically gifted family. His mother was a violinist and his uncle a famous concert pianist. When Goldovsky began playing instruments at a young age, he was called a prodigy, writes Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times.

In 1961, The Daily Utah Chronicle reported that Goldovsky’s families fled as refugees to Germany because of the Russian Revolution. And Germany is where he fell in love with opera. Germany was the epicenter for opera in the early 1900s. Many famous conductors originated in this area and there was a lot of high-quality music schools in the country. (A Brief History of Opera) Goldovsky attended a musical school in Berlin and Paris, which was the beginning of his opera career. (Tommasini)

In his young adulthood, he eventually moved to New England in the early 1920s. He continued his music education at Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the Chronicle reported in 1961. Goldovsky quickly realized opera was not as known in America, but he decided to dedicate his life to fix that.

For opera aficionados in the Mountain West, life became better because of Goldovsky. Billy Rose wrote in the Salt Lake Telegram about Boris Goldovsky being an opera great. He began to make his name known in the West. Goldovsky won a Peabody Award by being a master of ceremonies at the Metropolitan Opera and he rocketed to opera prominence. (The Daily Utah Chronicle, 1960)

Boris_image1

Boris Goldovsky before a performance at Kingsbury Hall, as featured in The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 9, 1961.

Eventually, Goldovsky was invited to speak at the University of Utah through Assemblies and Convocation, a speaking series intended to bring notable people to speak to and inspire University of Utah students. Goldovksy was set to speak after Dr. Martin Luther King and was touted as a “one-man opera show.” (The Daily Utah Chronicle, 1961) Salt Lake City is one of the largest cities in the Mountain West, so it was logical for Goldovsky to frequent the city. But he wanted to extend the magic of opera to even the smallest places.

In 1981 the Iron County Record advertised a radio performance of Rigoletto, a world-famous opera show. This marked the first time this opera had played in the entire western United States. Goldovsky also brought Met Opera to Southern Utah. (Iron County Record, 1981) Goldovsky held performances at Kingsbury Hall many times through the Goldovksy Grand Opera Production. The Daily Utah Chronicle stated in 1963 that the production of Rigoletto was the first time an English translation was performed in the United States. He continued to bring opera to the West. According to the Chronicle, Boris led many workshops with students and faculty alike. He led, too, many community projects through his own opera house and production company.

We can thank Boris Goldovsky, a man who was torn away from his home country of Russia, for bringing opera to the West. His passion for his craft was exemplified by his community work, ongoing learning, and dedication to the opera scene for his entire lifetime. The Daily Utah Chronicle, Iron County Record and The Salt Lake Telegram reported that Goldovsky brought world-wide famous art to Salt Lake City, which marked the first time these performances occurred in the western United States.

Taisia Auston is a senior at The University of Utah. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis on strategic communication.

Primary Sources

Billy Rose, “Billy Takes Note as ‘Met’ ‘Dream Board’ Holds Meet,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 2, 1948.

Top Speakers Set For Shows,Daily Utah Chronicle, September 22-23, 1960.

Boris Goldovsky Slates Kingsbury Hall Show,” Daily Utah Chronicle, May 9, 1961.

“‘Rigoletto’ Production One-Showing Tonite,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 29, 1963.

Met Opera to Air,” Iron County Record, March 19, 1981.

KGSU to Air Rigoletto,” Iron County Record, December 17, 1981.

Secondary Sources

“U. S. Operagoers Feel Inferior,” Salt Lake Telegram, May 19, 1939 (link)

Anthony Tommasini, “Boris Goldovsky, 92, Musician And Opera’s Avid Evangelist,” The New York Times, February 19, 2001.

A Brief History of Opera,” San Francisco Opera.

 

Poet Robert Frost at the University of Utah, April 1940

By Morgan Parent

Introduction

Robert Frost, born in San Francisco, is best known as a New England poet — writing about quintessential rural American themes based on direct observations, according to his obituary in the January 30, 1963, edition of the New York Times. Success did not come quickly to the now-celebrated poet. The piece tells of the 20 years of writing and various jobs he busied himself with in the time before “A Boy’s Will” was published in England, 1913. Following Ezra Pound’s support of that publication, the path to recognition cleared and Frost began to teach again, lecture for audiences across the nation, and ultimately was awarded the Pulitzer Prize four times. (New York Times, 1963)

Findings

 

Parent_5630_SaltLakeTelegram_April-5-1940

An advertisement that appeared in the April 5, 1940, issue of the Salt Lake Telegram.

It was during one of his lecture tours when Robert Frost found himself in Utah for a series of talks along the Wasatch Front. The Salt Lake Telegram reported in April 1940 that Frost first spoke in Logan the day before his April 9, 1940, University of Utah appearance and would be traveling to speak at the Provo Tabernacle the day after.

A Boy’s Will, North of Boston, Mountain Interval, New Hampshire, and West Running Brook were a few of his most popular works at the time, as reported in a March 28, 1940, issue of the Daily Utah Chronicle.

The Daily Utah Chronicle also noted this lecture marked the ninth and final event of the 1939-40 Master Minds and Artists series in its April 11, 1940, issue. Kingsbury Hall was scheduled to host the audience of students and members of the public alike that Tuesday, where Frost would regale them with “A Poet’s Outlook on Life,” described the April 9, 1940, copy of the Salt Lake Telegram. This article also revealed that the university extension division sponsored the program. (Salt Lake Telegram, 1940, pg 24)

On April 3, 1940, the Daily Utah Chronicle wrote that Mr. Frost was considered “one of the country’s most eminent contributors to the world of literature.” Being able to hear the poet tell his own story, from rural life, to personal stylistic choices, to his musings on academia surely would have been a treat.

Parent_5630_DailyUtahChronicle_April-11-1940Indeed it was, for his “shrewd wit and good natured fellowship” garnered many laughs and claps from the full crowd. (Salt Lake Telegram, 1940, pg 20) Frost was quoted saying “he never bothered be radical when young for fear it would make him conservative when old,” in the April 11, 1940, issue of the Daily Utah Chronicle. This quote, the article reports, brought about a fit of laughter from the audience. In addition to slightly slandering philosophers and commenting on colleges, the April 11, 1940, Daily Utah Chronicle column ended by saying Frost read a selection of his short poems — The Road Not Taken among them.

Conclusion

In April 1940, Robert Frost spoke at the University of Utah. While his lecture brought laughs to those listening, it also left a legacy. Knowing that such an influential writer visited Salt Lake City is an amazing bit of history that seems to not have been researched and written about much since it happened. However, it shows that the U was influential enough to be able to coordinate such a visit.

Bringing speakers with diverse backgrounds to campus is a trend that has continued to today. Hearing people with upbringings that maybe aren’t so different from our own creates a richer perspective, even more so for university students about to bring their own knowledge into the world. Robert Frost, like other artists with such caliber, can speak to the human experience while enlivening their own works and enriching our lives.

Morgan Parent graduated from the University of Utah in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in communication. She’ll be relocating to the Pacific Northwest in 2020 to pursue her next great adventure.

Primary Sources

Master Minds Schedule Eminent Poet,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 28, 1940, 3.

Eminent Poet To Lecture Here Tuesday,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 3, 1940, 1.

Advertisement for Lecture, Salt Lake Telegram, April 5, 1940, 24.

U. Audience Waits Robert Frost Talk,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 9, 1940, 5.

Robert Frost Talk Pleases Master Minds Series Audience at Kingsbury Hall,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 10, 1940, 20.

Noted Verse-Writer Wins Applause With Poems, Tales,” Daily Utah Chronicle, April 11, 1940, 1.

Secondary Source

Robert Frost Dies at 88; Kennedy Leads in Tribute,” New York Times, January 30, 1963.

 

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.

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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.