The Clara M. Clawson Shop was a clothing store for women located at 57 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City. Mrs. Clawson’s advertisements are found all throughout magazines and newspapers during the late 1930s, the 1940s and into the 1950s. The store was the passion project of Clara and was managed by her husband Seldon Clawson after it began to be recognized as a high-end clothing shop in Salt Lake City.
The Clawsons took out a number of advertisements during this time throughout different publications in the Utah Valley, including The Salt Lake Tribune and Utah Chronicle. The advertisements really gave a sense of the individuals who ran the shop and their connection to the community.
In a congratulatory ad published in the May 28, 1942, issue of the Utah Chronicle, the text states that “Mrs. Clara M. Clawson offers sincere congratulations to the graduates.” The couple tried to demonstrate they were there to help the graduates who needed them rather than trying to sell them anything. The ad gains more strength because everything around it is listing products that should be purchased, such as suit coats and new materials for schoolwork. This friendly congratulatory message is different from the surrounding ads and draws the reader of the newspaper into wondering who these people are and why their ads look so different.
The Clawsons clearly made a consistent effort to make themselves known in the community as a friendly place. Published advertisements show that the couple was dedicated to the store that featured high-end clothing with a friendly, welcoming feel. Many of the ads are tailored to reach out to specific people during certain times. For example, an advertisement published in The Salt Lake Tribune around Mother’s Day in 1950 states that patrons should bring their mother into the store to pick out what she wants for her holiday gift. This is another subtle ad that invites a specific group into the store to meet those friendly individuals who are trying to curry favor with the community.
The Clawsons took out a number of advertisements around the 1930s to 1950s, each working to build their image as a “Mom and Pop” store dedicated to their community and creating a friendly presence. Many of the advertisements were written in a way to make their readers feel like they were welcome there, which could be a reason why the Clara Clawson Shop was open for more than 65 years even during times of war and economic downturn.
The Clawsons were very committed to helping their community, whether that was through Clara’s work as the treasurer of the Service Star Legion, a group for mothers in wartime, or Seldon’s work for the building of the Latter-day Saints church. The couple owned a business that they worked to build but they also loved their community. This was evident in their one-of-a-kind personal advertisements. The Clawsons are the type of people who cared and helped others, which was a huge benefit to their community, especially during WWII.
Porter L. Anderson is a senior at the University of Utah studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. He is very passionate about web content creation including writing articles for different online outlets as well as web design. Anderson hopes that he will be able to use the experience and education he has gained at the University to find a way to use online resources to help others.
“Selden Irwin Clawson and Clara Isabella Morris Clawson,” FamilySearch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Advertisement, Salt Lake Tribune, May 14, 1950, 3.
Advertisement, Salt Lake Tribune, February 26, 1945, 8.
Advertisement, Utah Chronicle, May 28, 1942, 3.