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.

 

 

University of Utah’s Contribution to the War in 1943

By Kyung Rin Kim

fighting

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.

ad

“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.

Sources

“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

 

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

By Ileana Brown

ecker2

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.

Sources

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, JacobBarlow.com.

Haws, Julie. “Gudrun Kristine KaalstandEcker,” Findagrave.com.

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

Perry, Judyth Christensen. “Peter Sand Ecker,” Geni.com.

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 Heritage.com.

Peter S. Ecker,” Alf Engen Ski Museum.

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

 

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.

 

 

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.
 
Sources

“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.

Sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skull and Bones History at the University of Utah

By Bianca Velasquez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

Skull and Bones,” Wikipedia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Hugo Vaca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russian Leader Visits Campus

By Chase Thornton

Kerensky

Alexander Kerensky in 1917. Public domain.

Alexander Kerensky led the beginning of the Russian Revolution. He was a lawyer who pioneered the first wave of the Russian Revolution in the year 1917. He was noted as a very influential political leader in Russia and spent many of his later years traveling to other countries and states to give informative and educational speeches about policy and influence in the political system. (Whitman)

Alexander Kerensky made one of his stops at the University of Utah campus to give a speech to students, faculty and the general public about his experiences as a political leader. Kerensky, during a two-day visit to Utah, discussed “Russia and the International Situation.” Kerensky also held meetings for faculty members and students to answer questions and further discuss other topics related to the Russian condition. Kerensky was president of the Russian Democratic Provisional Government. (Utah Chronicle)

Alexander Kerensky would travel all across America teaching the general public of Russian policy and international affairs and discuss briefly of his time spent pioneering the revolution in 1917.

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Kerensky at the National Press Club in 1938. Public domain.

After many years of war and despair among the Russian people there, Kerensky was able to give a vision of sight to the people of Russia escaping political turmoil and senseless violence that ensued. The Russian people celebrated on Easter Sunday, April 15th, during one of the most religious holidays for the Russian people. This signified a new era of hope and renaissance for the future generations of the Soviet Union. (Frazier)

However, it wasn’t an easy transition from war to peace, the people of Russia battled internally whether or not they will be safe from the tyranny of war. Debates of whether Russian was going to stay into the war invoke a response in the Russian Government. A telegram was sent out depicting that the war efforts will continue with all of the given treaties at hand. This telegram broke out to the public and the trust of the Russian Authorities was no longer intact, until the forceful resignation of the war minister and foreign minister.

Kerensky did not have 100% support of all people, and even had some rather outlandish ideas about communism causing the death of millions of people in Russia. He believed that concentration camps would be utilized to demolish a great number of innocent people. (Safire)

Kerensky eventually became the new Supreme Commander of the Russian Army. However, throughout his political career, he continued to support the war efforts being made which again made him considerably unpopular among his people. He ultimately decided that he needed to gain the leftist support so he rebranded his platform by including more socialists and more Mensheviks revolutionists. This was an unsuccessful attempt and never gained control or support of his people. (Simkin)

Sources

Whitman, Alden. “Alexander Kerensky Dies Here at 89,” New York Times, June 12, 1970.

“Russian Leader Visits Campus,” Utah Chronicle, February 15, 1945, 1.

Frazier, Ian. “What Ever Happened to the Russian Revolution?” Smithsonian, October 2017.

Simkin, John. “Alexander Kerensky.” Spartacus Educational, November 2017.

Safire, William. “Ghost at the Summit: The Lessons of Alexander Kerensky,” Chicago Tribune, April 2, 1993.