University of Utah’s Contribution to the War in 1943

By Kyung Rin Kim


Ads in the Utah Chronicle: October 21, 1943, and October 7, 1943 (at right).

According to a review of Utah and the Great War, editor Allan Kent Powell shows Utah’s connections to World War I and explores the wartime experiences of Utahns, including those who joined the National Guard and the women who worked near frontlines in France as nurses.

But by 1930, Utah had been economically devastated during the Great Depression with an 11 percent higher unemployment rate than the average of the nation. The government tried a variety of methods to improve this situation by putting military installations in the state in response to the crisis in Europe to protect the defense budget in Utah. Utah’s industrial growth based on coal, iron, dolomite, and other materials contributed to the weapons and war products. Many Utahns also participated in military service all around the world in that era. In June 1945, there were 62,107 Utahns in active military service. (Launius)

The Utah Chronicle reported on October 7, 1943, that some University of Utah students had served in the army. The article introduced those students. For example, it mentioned Jerry Clarkson, who spent numerous hours flying in combat zones, fighting, and serving in combat missions in naval air forces.

A helmet advertisement using a soldier’s picture wearing a helmet for safety was in a Utah Chronicle article published October 7, 1943. The advertisement says, “Signal Corps engineers working with Western Electric and Bell Telephone Laboratories developed this new all-purpose military headset. Here is another instance of Bell System service to our nation at war.” This kind of advertisement shows that people in that era were very much interested in the war or something that is related to war.


“Utah men are now scattered all over the world,” said Lorraine Stephens, a student of the U in a Utah Chronicle article published October 14, 1943. She emphasized many graduates of the U went to the war by saying that they were working for the greatest job, winning the war. The Utah Chronicle at that time frequently announced names of students who were serving in the military, and this proves that the U’s paper intended to show their contribution to the war as a college which has a good reputation in Utah. I think this can show the U’s social position in Utah.

On October 14, 1943, The Utah Chronicle announced that the U had received important comments from government officials who praised what the university contributed to the military. The summary stated that the school provided a five-month course during the 1942-43 school year during which the school catered to 72 enlisted men and 51 officers, who eventually played important roles for the vital posts and battlefronts of the world.

U Archives D Military 1940-49 Fd 2 #1Dr. Dilworth Walker, dean of the U’s school of business, announced the opening of a campaign to raise $2,500 for the war chest in a Utah Chronicle article published October 28, 1943, urged all university students, faculty and employees to contribute to the Salt Lake County War Chest.

Knowing what University of Utah did during the wartime can help us better understand the U’s role in the society and in the wartime. I believe we should know this kind of history as one of the U’s students and Utahns. The significance of knowing what the U did before helps to know the social position of the University of Utah.

Kyung Rin Kim graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.


“U Contributes To War Chest,” Utah Chronicle, October 28, 1943, 1.

Advertisement. telephone and radio equipment, Utah Chronicle, October 21, 1943, 4.

Robert Cutler, “Campus in the Crisis – A Summary of University Wartime Activities,” Utah Chronicle, October 14, 1943, 2.

“University Men at War,” Utah Chronicle, October 14, 1943, 2.

Advertisement for helmets, Utah Chronicle, October 7, 1943, 3.

“University Men at War,” Utah Chronicle, October 7, 1943, 2.

Brian, Cannon. Review of Utah and the Great War: The Beehive State and the World War I Experience, ed. Allan Kent Powell. Western Historical Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Summer 2017): 316-17.

Launius, Roger D. “World War II in Utah,” Utah History to Go.

U Archives D Military 1940-49 Fd 3 n10

U Archives D Military 1940-49 Fd 6 #5





How Ecker Hill Was Named after the President of the Utah Ski Club from the 1930s to 1940s

By Ileana Brown


Photo of Utah ski jumping pioneer Pete Ecker at Dry Canyon near the University of Utah, about 1918. Alan K. Engen Photograph Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Peter Sandaker, formerly known as Peter Sand Ecker, was born in Oslo, Norway, on March 25, 1898, to Ole Lauritz Johannessen Sandaker and Ingeborg Sandaker. (Perry, Welland, Haws) He had six siblings, including Oline Marie Funnemork (born Sandaker), and Jakob Sandaker. (My Heritage) In 1968 The Utah Daily Chronicle reported on Peter S. Ecker in an article titled “Skiing: Sports Continue to Grow.” The article stated he migrated to Salt Lake City from Oslo, Norway, at the age of 20 in 1918. He was a Norski photographer and a pioneer in ski jumping. His passion for skiing and photography led him to create Ecker’s Photo Studio and join the Norwegian-American Athletic Club (NAAC). The club was created by Norwegian immigrant Martinius “Mark” A. Strand in 1918 to promote Utah skiing. On April 21, 1920, Ecker married Gudrun Kristine Kaalstad (1898-1984) in the Salt Lake temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They had three children: Norma Ecker Larrabee (1921-1996), Raymond Ecker (1925-2001), and Harold Ecker (1928-2015). (Haws)

On October 15, 1924, the Utah Chronicle announced the official Utonian photographer, Peter S. Ecker. His job was to take professional photographs of the students and staff at the University of Utah for the yearbook. His ads were often published in the Utah Chronicle. Before he began his own studio, Ecker was formerly with Lumier, Wilcox and Freemondo Studios until he bought the Berryman Studio on 131 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City. He renamed it Ecker’s Studio. On November 16, 1939, an ad was published in the Utah Chronicle announcing Ecker’s new Bell & Howell Filmo Camera Department containing personal motion picture equipment “to help you capture the thrill of moments you will want to live again.”

In the late fall of 1928, Utah Ski Club members Ecker and Strand pioneered ski promotion by establishing a ski jumping facility near Parley’s Summit. The club included Norwegian Americans, all interested in promoting winter sports. (Utah Division of State History) In the same year, by Christmas Day, they completed a series of jumps. In 1929, the club hosted the first ski jumping tournament on “the hill,” then known as “Rasmussen Ranch” due to its suitable terrain. (Barlow)

Ecker 1

Photo showing Peter S. Ecker and Alf Engen at the ski jumping tournament held at Ecker Hill, Summit County, Utah, in January 1931. Wasatch Mountain Club Photograph Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Ecker and Strand were responsible for setting up major ski tournaments. Due to their efforts, many Utah skiers were encouraged and inspired to join and participate in the ski jumping revolution. Some of the big names include: Halvor Hvalstad, Halvor Bjornstad, Sverre Engen, Einar Fredbo, Ted Rex, Alf Mathesen, Lars Haugen, Steffen Trogstad, Alf Engen, Vic Johannsen, Axel Andresen, Nordquist, and Ralph Larsen. (Utah Division of State History)

Ski-jumping continued to remain popular throughout the early twenties and thirties. The Utah Daily Chronicle reported in 1968 thatAxel Anderson monopolized the jump title from 1918 to 1922 and 1924-’27 with leaps of 80 feet at best.” Mark Strand says “The ‘Big Boom’ of skiing began in 1930. In one year we jumped into national-—no, world—attention.” Not only that, but in 1930 with the help of many supporters and the Rasmussen family, whose hill was the ski jumping location, helped create the reality of the jump. Many supporters sought out a dedication ceremony on March 2, 1930, where Governor George H. Dern named the hill overlooking “Rasmussen Ranch” after the President of the Utah Ski Club, Peter S. Ecker. (Barlow)

In 2016, Jacob Barlow wrote an article titled “Ecker Hill Ski Jump.” “Ecker Hill attracted many amateur and professional jumpers from all over the world” who competed in events drawing thousands to the state. Alf Engen, a young 20-year-old who came to Utah from Norway in 1929, made himself a name on Ecker Hill. In 1930 he leaped 247 feet in the air and broke five world records. He became a recipient of the “Skier of the Century” award. (Nelson, Barlow) “Through the continuing efforts of Strand, Ecker, and later S. Joseph Quinny, Ecker Hill became the site of national tournaments from 1930 to 1949, and was on the international ski tour.” (Bea) Not long after the 1949 National Championships, Ecker Hill’s popularity declined due to bigger and better-designed hills. The hill was also rendered “obsolete” once ski equipment and techniques improved.(Roper, Ecker photographic exhibit)

Peter S. Ecker, Mark Strand, Axel Anderson, and Alf Engen will continue to be known as the Norwegians who propelled Utah’s winter sports. After ski jumping died down Ecker continued to manage popular Salt Lake City photo emporium Ecker Studios for 40 years (Alf Engen Ski Museum, Welland, Haws) and continued to take pictures for the University of Utah’s yearbook, the Utonian. (Utonian 1941, 1944) Due to the decline in the popularity of ski jumping many tried to revive Ecker Hill in the late 1960s, but the reality was, ski enthusiasts wanted to participate in the sport of causal downhill skiing. (Mays, Roper) “Local resorts such as Brighton, Alta, and Park City began their rapid growth during the 1950s. Ecker Hill was last used around 1960.” (Roper) In recognition of its significance, on May 5, 1986, a monument dedicating the early ski jumping site, Ecker Hill was put up in Summit County, Utah (Wilburn and Jean Pickett Photograph Collection) and the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Roper)

Ileana Brown graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (with an emphasis in journalism) and Film Production. She hopes to continue advancing her skills in all things media, including photography, videography, and writing in hopes to land a career in TV production.


Joan Nelson, “Skiing: Sport Continues to Grow,Utah Daily Chronicle, December 5, 1968, 10.

Advertisement, Utonian photographs, Utah Chronicle, February 10, 1944, 2.

Utonian Pictures,” Utah Chronicle, January 6, 1944, 1.

Advertisement, Ecker Studio, 1941 Utonian, The University of Utah.

Advertisement, Ecker Studio, Utah Chronicle, November 16, 1939, 3.

Utonian Photographer is Announced,” Utah Chronicle, October 15, 1924, 1.

Barlow, Jacob. “Ecker Hill Ski Jump,” October 8, 2016,

Haws, Julie. “Gudrun Kristine KaalstandEcker,”

Mays, Bea. “Ecker Hill,” Summit County, Utah.

Perry, Judyth Christensen. “Peter Sand Ecker,”

Roper, Roger. “Ecker Hill,Utah History Encyclopedia.

Welland, Betsey. “Peter S. Ecker papers, 1930s-1950s,” Archives West, Orbis Cascade Alliance.

Peter S. Ecker, 1797-1878,” My

Peter S. Ecker,” Alf Engen Ski Museum.

Roper, Roger. “Ecker Hill: A Photographic Exhibit.” Utah Division of State History.


How the World War II Draft Impacted the Lives of College-Aged Men at the University of Utah

By Averie Vockel

According to Allen Kent Powell, approximately 7,000 Utahns were serving in the U.S. military by June 1941. This illustrated how the draft or Selective Service Act enacted just one year prior had the ability to alter one’s reality instantly. Powell also noted that “enrollment in Utah’s colleges and universities offered another indicator of the coming war as enrolment in the fall of 1941 dropped from 10 to 25 percent below the previous year. At the University of Utah registration for the 1941 fall quarter was 3,665 or 19 percent less than the 4,085 students who registered for the previous fall quarter.” (“Utah and World War II,” p. 109)

military on campus PDF

World War II initiated the United States’s first-ever peacetime draft. Thousands were enlisted and many trained for battle on the University of Utah campus. Photo courtesy of Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Students of the university saw the shock wave right in front of them, as the draft majorly impacted male students’ education and career paths. In one Utah Chronicle article, “Are We Patriots,” published May 8, 1941, the writer questions the role of the war and why young men ought to be proud to serve against their will. The author suggests there should be nothing wrong with a student who has invested themselves into their education, continuing that education.

This question of the draft was something university students had no option but to face and for some, the idea of amping up militarism or leaving their school desks for war, was not as patriotic as it posed to be. Moreover, the March 6, 1941, Utah Chronicle included a letter from student Neil P. Richards titled “The Enigma of National Defense.” Richards explains the government has placed a stricter time limit on earning an engineering degree, from four to three years. Richards implies that this is due to the ways engineering departments are relied upon to assist with national defense, and isolates an example of one faculty member taken by the government. Moreover, he explains that the draft provides no provision for engineers, meaning they may finish their program and be sent to serve on front lines rather than develop technology. It is clear from Richards’s account there was not simply a war happening in the world, but a war that impacted the everyday life of the college student.

military on campus 2 PDF

The military on the campus of the University of Utah. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

On November 6, 1941, the Utah Chronicle detailed in an article titled “Utes Favor Militarism Short of War” the results of a survey of roughly 400 students. They were asked questions pertaining to the war and though they seemingly favored militarism, they strongly opposed adjustments to the draftable age of young men. Perhaps that was because, as outlined in a March 6, 1941, Chronicle article, that young men of university age were directly targeted by the draft. The article detailed how there could be a significant depletion of young men at the university as a result of a large draft in the following weeks that would take 410 Utah men. Or perhaps it was because the war would create a hot and volatile political climate that the young would be the only hope for recovery.

Hays Gorey, in his Chronicle article “College Men, Planners of Post War World Face Vital Issues,” explained that in order for there to be peaceful future decisions about international policies, it would be imperative to listen to various voices. Gorey suggested that the college student, specifically the college man, was the one in the best position to start creating this future.

Moreover, Heber Hart, in his Chronicle article “The War This Week: College Students Look Toward Future With Hope for Better World,” echoed the idea that college students are the future. Hart wrote, “What youth does not want is a hand in an orgy of blood and fire if it will do nothing toward bettering the world.”

The University of Utah played a key role in  World War II and its students bore much of the burden. It is clear that the war and the country’s first ever peacetime draft specifically harmed college students. In a day and age where international politics seem to be heating up and rhetoric surrounding weapons technology and development are constantly brought up by world leaders as “an option,” it is important that we don’t disregard history and the valuable lessons it has provided.

Averie Vockel is a student at the University of Utah. She is majoring in communication studies with a certificate in criminology.

“Draft May Cause Male Depletion,” Utah Chronicle, March 6, 1941, 2.

Neil P. Richards, “The Enigma of National Defense,” Utah Chronicle, March 6, 1941, 4.

“Are We Patriots,” Utah Chronicle, May 8, 1941, 4.

“Utes Favor Militarism Short of War,” Utah Chronicle, November 6, 1941, 1.

Hays Gorey, “College Men, Planners of Post War World Face Vital Issues,” Utah Chronicle, April 23, 1942, 4.

Heber Hart, “The War This Week: College Students Look Toward Future With Hope for Better World,” Utah Chronicle, October 8, 1942, 4.

Powell, Allen Kent. “Utah and World War II,” Utah Historical Quarterly 73, no. 2 (Spring 2005): 108-131.

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.


“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.”


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.


Skull and Bones,” Wikipedia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Hugo Vaca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Utah Traction Company Gets Going So You Can, Too

By Ezri Staheli

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The History of Cadet Nurses and Their Struggle for Veterans Rights

By Catherine Simmons

In the years leading up to WWll, jobs were in short supply. However, once America entered the war, that all changed. Because so many men signed up, employees of every kind were desperately needed. Nurses were perhaps needed most.


University of Utah–Cadet Nurses War Vets. Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection, Utah State History.

In 1943, Frances Bolton introduced a bill to create a governmental program to recruit and train nurses. (“Short History”) It passed just a few months later. This led to a countrywide mass recruitment, particularly in universities. The University of Utah formed a club for all Cadet Nurses and even practiced drill with other ASTP, or Army Specialized Training Program, students. They often got in uniform and stood in formations and even ran practice exercises. (Cutler) There were numerous advertisements calling women to join the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, similar to the advertisements calling men to join the service. At one point, 80 percent of nurses in the United States were part of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. (“Short History”)


St. Marks Hospital Cadet Nurses. Salt Lake Tribune Negative Collection, Utah State History.

Their 30-month training was rigorous and demanding. There was a lot of school work as well as training, not to mention the strict curfews. (Bergman) But they all said they felt an obligation to help the young men and their country.

One nurse, Eunice E. Smolak, was assigned to Bushnell General Hospital where she treated wounded servicemen and prisoners of war. She wrote about how difficult it was, emotionally and physically, to care for those wounded soldiers, and that she would never forget those experiences. (“We Remember”) Each nurse was greatly affected by what she saw and heard in those hospitals. It was not an easy job. It was physically, emotionally and psychologically demanding. However, despite the hardship each cadet nurse faced, they were not considered veterans.

Numerous pleas have been submitted asking to change the status of cadet nurses to eligible veterans. A wave of activism has swept across the country. Former cadet nurses are sending letters and calling all their cadet friends and acquaintances, letting everyone know what they are trying to achieve. Letters were sent out begging for signatures on their petition. Cadet nurses and their families have sent letters to the editor in newspapers all over the country, including the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune, asking for recognition of their efforts and sacrifice. The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps is, in fact, the only uniformed force that has not received veterans status. That means they do not qualify for any of those benefits and services. (Karins)

On February 6, 2017, H.R. 1168, the United States Cadet Nurse Corps Equity Act, was introduced to Congress. It states that any member of the United States Nurse Corps who served between July 1, 1943, and December 31, 1948, is qualified to full veteran status, including all benefits, although those benefits won’t be back-paid. (Lowey) Seventeen representatives cosponsored the bill. However, despite all the effort put in by so many, nothing has come of it. Almost two years later and it has still not passed in the House of Representatives.

Thousands of women sacrificed so much of their time and energy, just doing their duty to their country and their fellow Americans and the least we can do is give them what they are owed. If we wait much longer, there will be no nurses left to recognize.

Catherine Simmons is a Utah resident who has a degree in communication from the University of Utah. She is married with a beautiful puppy.  She loves history and reading and dreams of becoming an author. 


Robert Cutler, “Campus in Crisis,” Utah Chronicle, November 4, 1943.

Belcher, David. “Cadet Corps Seeks Congressional Recognition: World War II Nurses Petition Congress for Veterans’ Benefits, Honors,” American Journal of Nursing 103, no. 3 (2005): 130-31.

Doona, Mary Ellen. “Cadet Nurse Corps,” Massachusetts Report on Nursing 11, no. 1 (March 2013): 6.

Karins, Jessica. “U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps members seek veteran status,” Columbia Daily Tribune, August 20, 2018.

Bergman, Julia. “All but forgotten: Cadet nurses reflect on service during WWII,” The Day, November 3, 2018.

Rep. Nita Lowey, H.R. 1168, United States Cadet Nurse Corps Equity Act.

Alissa Sauer, “Overdue Recognitions for WWII Cadet Nurse Corps,” Veteran Aid, April 3, 2018

Short History of Military Nursing: U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps,” Ebling Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, August 18, 2017.

“We Remember: Eunice E. Smolak,”

Edwin Evans and His Influence on Art Education in Utah

By Hannah W. Peterson

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Role of Cigarettes in 1940s University of Utah Campus Culture

By Emerson Oligschlaeger

In January 1943, Utah Chronicle columnist Bette Pomerance penned an op-ed titled “Scribe Finds Weed Vices Common at the U.” Pomerance neither condemns nor defends the prominence of cigarette smoking on campus; her point is limited to chronicling students’ commitment to the vice. When contextualized against local and national historical resources, Pomerance’s column allows us to understand tobacco’s cultural role in the university community of the 1940s.

The article mentions “restricted areas” — campus venues where smoking is banned — and students’ “flagrant violations of the ‘no fagging’ rule.” Pomerance cheekily notes students’ unflagging devotion to tobacco, writing that offenders chastised for smoking in restricted areas “swear… to never do it again — and get caught.”


The College Inn in 1937. Used with permission of the Utah State Historical Society.

Pomerance also records a few epicenters of campus tobacco culture, including the university game room and the College Inn, an off-campus restaurant that once stood on 200 S. and University Street. “One could hardly write an article on smoking without mentioning the College Inn,” she writes, calling it “the best place to obtain a non-average report card, tubercular lungs and stomach ulcers.”

In the Summer 1997 issue of Continuum, the University of Utah’s official magazine, alumnus Rod Decker recalls visiting the College Inn as a 10-year-old to find it full of college students smoking cigarettes and “fleeing supervised wholesomeness.” The non-smokers tended to eat in the Union cafeteria where smoking was prohibited, Decker writes, while tobacco users congregated at the campus-adjacent eatery.


Ellis Gangl Leonard poses in her husband Leo Leonard’s military cap while an unidentified woman smokes a cigarette. Both soldiers and women contributed to the prevalence of tobacco on campus in the 1940s. Used with permission of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Decker and Pomerance’s recollections reflect national trends in tobacco usage. The early 1940s saw one of America’s sharpest spikes in per capita tobacco consumption, and more women took up smoking during the ’40s than any other decade. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014) Pomerance’s column notes the prevalence of smoking among university co-eds, writing of “the entire male population and half the female with a weed in his or her face.”

The presence of servicemen also contributed to the clouds of smoke on campus. Tobacco played a significant role in military culture. A July 1943 article from the Davis County Clipper titled “Smokes and the Soldier” detailed the ways that cigarettes “play a prominent part in many phases of the life of a soldier.” A January 1943 issue of the Vernal Express includes a write-up on care packages assembled by the local Red Cross chapter, which necessarily featured cigarettes. As rationalized by The New York Times during World War I, “tobacco may not be a necessary of life, in the ordinary sense of that term, but it certainly lightens the inevitable hardships of war as nothing else can do.” (Brandt, p. 52).

A letter to the editor published in a February 1943 edition of the Chronicle directly addresses the issue of servicemen smoking on campus. In response to complaints about soldiers smoking in buildings and areas where it is prohibited, the writer acknowledges that servicemen should follow the rules, but takes issue with critics’ tone.

“This note, then, is directed not to the validity or invalidity of the ‘no-smoking’ rule, but to one who, in times of war and stress, when the very life of our country hangs in the balance concerns himself with trivial things like smoking in school buildings. Let me say that we service men are concerned with affairs far more momentous,” he writes.

Another letter to the editors of the Chronicle chastised students for failing to properly dispose of their cigarettes, creating fire hazards and cluttering campus. “Just a little effort on the part of each of you can make our campus something to be remembered by the numerous visitors who come here,” wrote Marian R. Jones in 1949.

A 1941 Utah Chronicle article by Frank Allen, “Scribe Gets Hot Under Collar Over Paper’s Cigarette Ad Problem,” addresses an ongoing debate over the absence of tobacco advertising in the student paper. According to Allen, the Chronicle printed a number of letters to the editor alternately praising and decrying the paper’s decision not to advertise cigarettes. Throughout the 1940s – and indeed, to this day – the Chronicle remains an important venue for discussion of student smoking practices.

Tobacco use, on college campuses and elsewhere, has steadily decreased since the 1960s. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014) In 2018, the University of Utah declared itself a smoke-free campus, sparking another wave of Chronicle op-eds. The first sentence of Pomerance’s 1943 column  —  “each year about this time someone starts a debate about the use of nicotine on our campus” — still rings true. While university nicotine culture has changed dramatically, some things never do.

Emerson Oligschlaeger graduated from the University of Utah in 2018 with a degree in mass communication. Emerson currently works for KSL NewsRadio and plans to pursue a career in community journalism.


Frank Allen, “Scribe Gets Hot Under Collar over Paper’s Cigarette Ad Problem,” The Utah Chronicle, February 6, 1941, 4.

Bette Pomerance, “Pomerance Says: Scribe Finds Weed Vices Common at U,” The Utah Chronicle, January 21, 1943, 2.

“Local Red Cross to Make 275 Comfort Kits,” Vernal Express, January 28, 1943, 1.

 S/Sgt. OES., “Upholds Soldiers,” The Utah Chronicle, February 11, 1943, 2.

“Smokes and the Soldier,” Davis County Clipper, July 23, 1943, 6.

Marian R. Jones, “Battered Campus, Untidy Lawns Cause Greater Tuition Costs,” The Utah Chronicle, October 12, 1949, 2.

Brandt, Allan. The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2007.

Rod Decker, “Campus Hangouts Throughout the Years: A Cautionary Tale” Continuum,(Summer 1997): 24.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US) Office on Smoking and Health. “The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General.” Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US), 2014, Chapter 13, Patterns of Tobacco Use Among U.S. Youth, Young Adults, and Adults.