Arlene Francis Sparks Impact; Kingsbury Hall Continuously Fosters Rich Experiences

By Alison Tanner

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Primary Sources

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

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

Old Acquaintance. John William Van Druten. December 1940.

Secondary Sources

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

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


‘Woman Power — Our Great Resource for Progress’ Lecture by Esther Peterson on the University of Utah Campus

By Casey Stevenson


A portrait of Esther Peterson, assistant secretary of labor, taken by a Salt Lake Tribune photographer for a March 1962 issue of the newspaper.

Esther Peterson, a former Utah resident, who made so many significant contributions on behalf of workers, consumers and women in so many diverse areas, including government, civic and business. Peterson was a forceful lobbyist and had been the assistant secretary of labor under President Kennedy. She came to The University of Utah to give a lecture that took place on March 1, 1962, it was titled, “Women Power – Our Great Resource for Progress.” Peterson wrote in her article, “Change and Challenge to Women in Education, “my concern lies with the new needs of students, particularly girls and young women, whose problems are far different from those of their mothers’ generation,” which greatly correlates with her topic for her University of Utah lecture. She was interested in what the people had to say, and any chance she got to get insight on pending proposals she took advantage of. With these traits Peterson had, nobody was surprised when she titled her autobiography Restless.

The Daily Utah Chronicle reported on February 27, 1962, that the talk would be held in the Orson Spencer Hall auditorium, under the auspices of the University faculty women. Her position as the assistant secretary of labor and director of the U.S. Women’s Bureau was mentioned as well as her position as the assistant director of education. The former Utah resident was also was an advisor to the United States delegation at the International Labor Organization Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

On February 28, 1962, the Daily Utah Chronicle wrote about Peterson’s devotion to the labor movement and education, and after 12 years of teaching was appointed director of education for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Formerly she was the legislative representative of the Industrial Union Department of AFL-CIO. She was involved in other abroad experiences including serving in Sweden to study labor market policy and labor management relations.

It was reported by the Daily Utah Chronicle, on March 1, 1962, that Peterson would be presenting that night on campus. It was explained that after her 12-year teaching career, she had several posts with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America from 1939 to 1948. She had been accompanied while abroad by her husband who was a foreign service officer. Oliver A. Peterson was also a labor advisor in the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs.


A photo of Esther Peterson and colleagues, taken by a Salt Lake Tribune photographer for a September 1961 issue of the newspaper.

Again, on March 1, 1962, the day of Peterson’s visit to the University of Utah, the Daily Utah Chronicle wrote another article about Peterson and her position. They reported that her visit is taking place just three weeks after President Kennedy’s first meeting about the newly established Commission on the Status of Women. Peterson’s concern is with women, college women in particular. She was being brought to the University as an example of someone who is a successful wife and mother but who is also quite the intellectual and contribution to society. She is being placed as an example for young women to strive to have an intellectual and meaningful life after she is done having children. The chronicle wrote that average women’s life expectancy after her youngest child is grown, was only 30 years. After their child is grown women are left wondering if she is even useful anymore. Peterson’s example was being portrayed as one to follow for young college women of her time.

The day following Peterson’s visit, March 2, 1962, the Daily Utah Chronicle wrote an article about the event. Peterson emphasized that, “our great resource for progress in womanpower.” She’s trying to explain that college is a huge investment and that she doesn’t want to see women’s usefulness be wasted after they receive their cap and gown. Her lecture was given to a select audience of civic and educational leaders of the state.

An article in the Davis County Clipper, written on January 24, 1964 explains that as Peterson was already one of the most well-known women in Washington, she would soon be the best-known woman throughout the entire nation. She was also the highest government office of her gender at the time and is only getting more popular. She held three major positions one including the position that was previously held by the late Eleanor Roosevelt, executive vice chairman of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. At the time of the article, Peterson had just been assigned by President Kennedy to ensure that the consumers voices are heard and effective in the highest council of the federal government.

Esther Peterson was a successful director of education, assistant secretary of labor, director of the U.S. Women’s Bureau, legislative representative of the Industrial Union Department, just to name a few of her accomplishments and her undeniable personality and care for the people had a huge impact on the people around the country. Her message speaks loud and clear, don’t take your education lightly, it is an investment so don’t waste it. Use this privilege we have to an education and make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Make sure your usefulness doesn’t run out.

Casey Stevenson is a sophomore at The University of Utah. She is majoring in strategic communication.

Primary Sources

Labor Official Sets Talk on ‘Woman Power,’” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 26, 1962, 1.

Woman-Power Topics Labor Official’s Talk,” Daily Utah Chronicle, February 28, 1962, 1.

Former Utahn Readies ‘Power’ Talk,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 1, 1962, 1.

Climate Of Unexpectation…,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 1, 1962, 2.

Jan Peterson, “Womanpower: Resource For Future Progress,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 2, 1962, 1.

Bert Mills, “Esther Peterson Becomes Well Known,” Davis County Clipper, January 24, 1964, 6.

Secondary Source

Peterson, Esther. “Change and Challenge to Women in Education.” Educational Horizon 42, no. 2 (Winter 1963): 52-59


The Pieces of a Bigger Story: How Early Women Penetrated the Male-Dominated Field of Engineering


Margaret Ferron, upper left, and Dorothy Craig are examples of how World War II influenced women in certain fields of work. Ferron is seen here with her drawing board in the mechanical drawing lab while Craig is seen doing some “experimenting.” Used with permission, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

By Eliza Jane Pace

In 2019, according to the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis at the University of Utah, there are a great number of people enrolled in engineering majors. However, there are large discrepancies in the numbers when comparing genders. At a pre-major level for instance, only 3,387 are women while men number 4,290, a whopping 903 person difference. That’s not the only area of difference. In every aspect of every engineering major, pre-major, to bachelors, to doctorate, men outnumber women. This difference is not unusual. The Daily Utah Chronicle has several articles as early as the 1930s talking about the novelty of women enrolled in engineering majors.

The professor and head of the electrical engineering department, Dr. L. D. Harris, was quoted in The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 17, 1961, stating, “We’ve had two women graduate in this field -— both in the 1930s.” In an earlier article it mentions the names of these two women listed as graduating from the engineering program, Dorothy Blades in 1924 and Mary Frances Plumb in 1934 in The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 27, 1935.

Even by 1961, 31 years later, only one or two women decided to take on the challenge of entering the engineering field as stated in The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 17. This article will explore the women who penetrated these fields and how their position as women in engineering fields was treated.

Each of these women have their own reasons for entering the field and their own opinions about women in engineering.


Judy Brown was honored for her achievements in her field of civil engineering by the Associated Women Students. She was one of only two women enrolled in engineering fields. Used with permission, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

A senior in civil engineering, Judy Brown, was a transfer student from the University of Wyoming and used to being the only girl in her classes. She continued as the only woman registered in upper classes in any field of engineering at the University of Utah and was eventually honored by the AWS or Associated Women Students, reported The Daily Utah Chronicle on November 16, 1961, for her accomplishments in her field of study and her 3.92 grade point average.

Despite being told on her first day that the “Frosh English class was across the hall,” Brown laughed. “They finally decided that maybe I belonged.”

Margaret Ferron was highlighted in The Daily Utah Chronicle, February 25, 1943, and chose to enter engineering because it was a family affair.  She said that despite what others believed she was not in the field for attention or to find a man. “My father happens to be an engineer, and so are my two brothers; in fact, I just come from an engineering family, and I decided to carry on the tradition.”

Ferron added, “There’s a lot of prejudice against women engineers at the present time. But I think it will be all dispelled as the war makes it more and more necessary for women to be trained to take the place of men in the engineering field.”

According to The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 27, 1935, Opal Cummings age 16 was the only girl registered in any field of engineering at the University of Utah at that time. A graduate of local West High School, she believed that “women are just as well qualified as men in engineering.”

Each of these women have a story, and represent part of an even bigger story still being told. Women have certainly increased their presence in the workplace since the early to mid 1900s, but the trend of males dominating in engineering fields continue.

Some claim it’s because of the lifestyles women lead, with many choosing to have children or raise a family, lifestyles that are not as conducive to having such an intensive major and job. According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune in June 2013, “Far fewer women study STEM fields at Utah colleges -— just 12% of engineering degrees … go to women.” However, even the language of the articles portrays a difference of societal expectations, as seen in The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 17, 1961, which focused on how the female students would still “find a husband.” It’s hard to tell how much of this large gap in numbers is because of sexism and oppression or if it’s simply the result of a different culture and expectations. But one thing is for sure, these early women who were willing to push beyond any barriers in engineering fields have paved the way for women to come.

Eliza Jane Pace is a sophomore at the University of Utah, majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism and a minor in music. 

Primary Sources

Girl Engineer Dislikes Males,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 27, 1935.

Is Engineering for Males Only? Nope! Ute Coeds’re In,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 17, 1961.

AWS Honors Engie Coed,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, November 16, 1961.

Utah Coeds Go All Out for War,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, February 25, 1943.

University to Graduate 296 Students,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 18, 1944.

Walter Crosby Eells, “Earliest Collegiate Degrees Authorized for Women,” Educational Horizons 39 no. 4 (Summer 1961): 135-37.

Lindsay Whitehurst, “Why are Utah women far behind men in STEM education, jobs?” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 8, 2013.

Secondary Source

Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis, The University of Utah.





The Societal Differences Between the Male and Female Sex in the 1940s

By Brook Williams

The differences between the sexes in the 1940s is extremely prevalent when observing the media and literature around that time. While reading through The Utah Chronicle during the decade of the ’40s, it is evident throughout the ads and articles that women and men had distinct qualities that they were supposed to live up to in order to fit in with society. It was normal for ladies to be seen as objects that played very little roles in the development of the world. Typically, women held little control or power and were constantly being simplified to having no other purposes on this earth than being a beautiful caregiver to her husband and children.

Contrary, men were socially constructed to be a breadwinner, a worker, a gentleman, intelligent, and powerful. They were expected to provide for the women and family and uphold a high standard of manners. Both sexes came with the pressure to be a specific way. Rarely do you see any influence to be authentic to oneself in the 1940s. People had to fit the mold.


Here, we can see the way that women and men were discussed in the ’40s. This is a picture of the “Helpful Hints to College Men” column, published in the Utah Chronicle on November 28, 1940.

Many articles published during the ’40s display these ideas through the language and conversation. One article that especially points this out was in the November 28, 1940, issue of The Utah Chronicle. The “Helpful Hints to College Men” column reported an etiquette book that the Mortar Woman’s Honor Society created called As We Do It. “I know some of us [women] do let things drop on purpose, but even then, you should be gentleman enough to pick them up.” (“Helpful Hints”) As We Do It was published in 1940 by the University of Utah, courtesy of the Mortar Board, which is a select group of female honorary students. It was a guide to help college students with their etiquette, including, style, telephone etiquette and dating etiquette.

An excerpt from the book discusses how women should be a “good sport” on dates and try out activities like skiing, even if they don’t have the desire to. “After your escort has unwrapped you several times from around the pine tree, he’ll probably only be too happy to let you play in the snow. But rest assured he will admire you all the more for your stamina, and will ask you again if you have enough fun to show him you’re a jolly sort.” (As We Do It, p. 21) This excerpt displays the general idea of women pleasing men and the assumption that the woman would fail and be weak during the activity.


This is an image of the original AS WE DO IT booklet of etiquette, written and edited by Mortar Woman’s Honor Society. Photo by Brook Williams, communication student at The University of Utah.

A November 14, 1940, article in The Utah Chronicle includes several different examples of women being continuously referred to with an adjective describing their beauty. For example, “cute Beth,” “she said with a gleam in her lovely brown eyes,” “chimed in blonde Betty,” “petite Betty Lou,” or “attractive Nonie.” Words like dainty, fragile, tantalizing and petite are used to describe all women.

In one Utah Chronicle column called “Keep the Change,” men explained the nicknames they gave their girlfriends. A few of “the prize winners” were, “I call my girl Hinge, because she is something to a door,” “I call my girl Calibre because she is such a bore,” and, “I call my girl Hitler because she is sh-Nazi.” Men publicly spoke of their girlfriends in a condescending way, which in the 1940s was completely acceptable.

An excerpt from As We Do It discusses the fashion of men tipping their hats to other men, and when to do so. The authors suggest tipping hats to most men because “you might be asking him for a job or daughter sometime in the near future.” (p. 24) This further supports the sexist attitude of how men assumed “ownership” of a woman.


AS WE DO IT is a thin booklet containing examples and information for both men and women about socially acceptable mannerisms. Many would be considered derogatory to both sexes now.

Another example of women being portrayed in a certain way is in an Atlantic article written by Megan Garber called, “‘When You Supervise a Woman’: The 1940s Instructional Manual.” This article includes instructional brochures of how to teach women about the utmost basic workplace protocol. Garber suggests that it is condescending and “is both ridiculous and hilarious by today’s standards, they’re also sort of sad: a reminder of how institutionalized sexism and its analogs can be, in the workplace and beyond.”

Not much has changed when comparing the general perception of gender roles from the 1940s to now. Books and magazines about “how to get the man/ woman of your dreams” are constantly being published and brainwashing people into an unauthentic way of living. Hopefully, society can continue with the progressive momentum we have had over the last 70 years, so the next generations can experience complete equality.

Brook Williams is a senior at The University of Utah. She plans on graduating in the spring of 2019 with a degree in communication.


Mortar Board, As We Do It, University of Utah, 1940.

 Helpful Hints to College Men,” Utah Chronicle, November 28, 1940, 7.

Freshman Women Express Views on Fraternities to Reveal Many Startling Conceptions,” Utah Chronicle, November 14, 1940, 5.

Marilla Barlow, “Keep the Change,” Utah Chronicle, November 20, 1940, 4.

Garber, Megan. “‘When You Supervise a Woman’: The 1940s Instructional Manual,” The Atlantic, August 27, 2012.





Elizabeth Hayes and Modern Dance at the University of Utah

By Allison Vernon

On August 26, 1940, the Salt Lake Telegram announced that the University of Utah had hired six new teachers for the upcoming school year, including Miss Elizabeth Hayes for the women’s physical education department. As Dorothy Stowe of the Deseret News reported upon her retirement in 1988, Hayes—the first modern dance teacher at the University of Utah—likely did not realize the profound impact she would have on the department and the university over her 48-year career. Additionally, it would have been impossible to foresee the impacts that World War II would have on the university and on modern dance in general.

Throughout twentieth-century America, modern dance has been heavily influenced by elements of context and history. The multicultural influence that occurred in the United States, particularly related to both world wars, had a profound impact on modern dance education, with many teachers incorporating styles and techniques that they learned from a variety of countries. While the world was at war in the 1940s, modern dance was becoming increasingly popular. During this time of conflict, instructors had to find a balance between preserving the diverse traditions of modern dance and establishing American contemporary dance as a unique entity. (Adams and Adams Strandberg, pp. 19-20)

Elizabeth Hayes Dance Prof

“Behind the Scenes” photograph of Joan Woodbury, Shirley Ririe, and Professor Elizabeth Hayes, “Orchesis Plans Production,” The Utah Chronicle, April 5, 1955, 1.

When Miss Elizabeth Hayes began teaching at the University of Utah, modern dance was still a fairly new concept, and the university was just beginning to incorporate the style into its curriculum. According to an article from The Utah Chronicle on April 24, 1941, Hayes was able to include modern dance as a part of the annual Orchesis performance at the University of Utah during her first year as an instructor, despite the classification of modern dance as a “physical education” course. While opinions of modern dance at this time were varied, on May 1, 1941, John Whitney with The Utah Chronicle called this style a “Worthy Endeavor” and praised Miss Hayes for her innovation and artistry.

On April 8, 1942, Hayes was again heralded by The Utah Chronicle for her work as director in a review of the modern dance program. According to the article, this recital included a piece emulating the plights of the Mormon pioneers, an original folk dance choreographed by Hayes, a repeat of the popular “Age and Youth” number from the previous year, and many short dances choreographed by the students themselves. In this program, Hayes made it clear that modern dance was about using art to portray emotions and experiences, both as a method of exploration and education, which aligns with Adams and Adams Strandberg’s analysis of modern dance as an educational tool. According to an article in the Salt Lake Telegram on April 16, 1942, not only was this program educational for the dance students themselves, but also for the audiences who had not experienced this technique before.

The impact of the war was often shown in the choreography of Orchesis programs during these years. According to The Utah Chronicle on March 24, 1943, the group put on a performance that incorporated dramatic interpretations of poetry, including one piece about “the Nazi murder of the inhabitants of … Lidice.” As explained by Gottlieb in The Kenyon Review, this technique of utilizing stories to inform movement is a hallmark of modern dance, as is the incorporation of current events. (pp. 149-150)

As the war became increasingly impactful on the University of Utah, Elizabeth Hayes and the modern dance department became involved in the effort. As reported by the Salt Lake Telegram on September 10, 1945, Hayes was made a faculty member of the ROTC training program on campus. Members of the University of Utah faculty from all departments were recruited in order to utilize their various areas of expertise, and her experience as a health and fitness professor made Hayes an ideal instructor for the program. Whether it was through defiant choreography or participating in training naval recruits, Hayes and her dancers were not left untouched by the conflict overseas.

According to Stowe in the Deseret News, one of the biggest challenges Hayes faced at first was this physical education classification because she was forced to focus on the fitness aspects of her education rather than creativity. In 1966, Hayes was able to move the dance program to “fine arts,” and by 1974, students could focus on either teaching, performing, or choreographing. Hayes was incredibly passionate about teaching, and although she could have boasted of her impressive record in the modern dance department, the meaningful connections she made with her students were what meant the most.

Elizabeth Hayes Photo

Photograph of Elizabeth Hayes, Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 15, 2007.

Elizabeth Hayes left a lasting legacy at the University of Utah, both in her actions as a professor emerita and as a modern dance educator. According to her obituary in The Salt Lake Tribune (2007), throughout her career Hayes contributed to the creation of a dance major at the University of Utah, the implementation of a high school modern dance certification program, and the development of modern dance programs in schools across the country. Hayes understood that modern dance was an ever-evolving art form that must be in conversation with the context of its time. To quote Hayes herself: “The technique may have changed, but the basic philosophy, that dance is an art experience to which everyone should be exposed, has not changed. Students should learn to love movement, and recognize its communicative possibilities.” (Deseret News, 1988)

World War II had a profound impact on the world, and modern dance was no exception. Where some educators struggled to find a balance between preserving tradition and pursuing innovation, Hayes was able to build the University of Utah’s modern dance program from the ground up with an understanding of the past but an eye for the future.

Allison Vernon graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies.


“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.

Women Workers in World War II

By Riley Spear

women working2

Women in World War II performed men’s jobs. Used by permission, Utah State Historical

Women played a large role in helping the United States throughout World War II. With men being called from every home to come serve on the battlefields, it allowed women to enter the labor force and have opportunities in the military. The New York Times, on November 23, 1942, said, “Women want a real role to play in the planning of tomorrow.” Not only did they give their time in the home, but abroad as well.

Prior to the women’s commitment to serve in the workforce and military, The Utah Chronicle on November 25, 1942, stated there would be university classes offered to teach women certain techniques in case they were ever needed for combat. These classes included rigorous training such as wrestling, crawling through barrels, and other conditioning activities. This class excited and prepared women for their future job opportunities. Many superiors were thrilled at the chance to teach this class because it was a step toward changing the gender stereotype. Pathfinder magazine reported training classes continued to be held across the states for women in their late teens, to early forties. The training preparation classes were receiving positive feedback, and genuinely helping women in their future job roles they would pursue to help the war cause.

women working3

Women worked in the military air force in World War II. Used by permission, Utah State Historical

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a moment in history where all citizens had to come together as a team in order to survive the war, and women were prepared to give their aid. The Utah Chronicle, on December 3, 1942, reported that the war was asking for University of Utah women with scientific training such as engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics and accounting. The need for help was dire, and it was urgent women were made aware of their need. The War Manpower Commission posted an advertisement that read, “Longing won’t bring him back sooner…GET A WAR JOB,” in order to encourage women to help. Posters such as these motivated women to serve their country and also help their men. Women responded, coming to serve in the country as industrial workers, and abroad filling the gaping hole in the U.S. labor force.

In San Diego, CLICK Magazine reported on February 1, 1944, “Women were becoming letter carriers, bus drivers, high altitude window washers, milk deliverers, and office workers.” An assortment of positions were left vacant and women were fulfilling them without hesitation. The American Magazine wrote an issue in January 1943 on a young women named Dorothy Vogley. When the war called for women employees she seized an opportunity at Timken Rolling Bearing Co. as a testing machine operator. “At first,” noted the article, “the strange hours put her at odds end with the world, but now she believes working in the war industry has made her a new, more self-reliant person.” (p. 11) The war was able to offer women a chance to prove their worth, and spread awareness that women were capable. In some cases, such as Vogley’s, it was also a realization and an inspiration to other women.

working women

Women working alongside each other in hard hats and overalls. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Women’s involvement in the war was a huge turning for the United States, and in gender stereotypes. “The war may have demonstrated to employers that women could function well in jobs that had previously been male domains,” wrote Claudia D. Golding in her research article “The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women’s Employment.” After the war, and when men returned, many women were forced out of their jobs. However, within five years the percentage of women in the labor force increased dramatically. Golding’s data prove that during wartime 24.7 percent of the labor force participation rates were made up of women, and by 1950, five years after the war had ended, it increased to 26 percent. This demonstrates the determination and perseverance women continued to strive for during and following the war.

The Utah Chronicle on December 3, 1942, reported, “Women are needed, and the time is past stereotypes.” It is hard to see light in horrible sequences of events such as war. However, women took it by the reigns and demonstrated their worth, and value. The U.S. would have suffered greatly without the hard work women gave in all fields of occupations. The recognition deserved for their performance is endless. “This is a women’s war as well as a man’s,” said Oveta Culp Hobby, director of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, in the 1942 New York Times story.

Riley Spear is a senior at the University of Utah. She is studying journalism and will graduate in spring 2019.


Advertisement for women workers, Office for the War Manpower Commission, 1944.

San Diego: A Woman’s Town,” Click, February 1, 1944.

Girl on the Midnight Shift,” American, January 1943.

Amazons of Aberdeen,” Pathfinder, July 1942.

“7,000,000 Women Workers Seen in War Plants before Peace Comes,” New York Times, November 23, 1942, 1.

“Coed Commandos Out to Win War and Men,” Utah Chronicle, November 24, 1942, 4.

“Dean of Women Lists Coed Opportunities,” Utah Chronicle, December 3, 1942, 3.

Golden, Claudia. “The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women’s Employment,” American Economic Review 81, no. 4 (September 1991): 741-56.

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,”

Elaine Cannon: The Feminist LDS Leader Who Got Her Start at The Utah Chronicle

By Alaikia Miller

with camera

Elaine Cannon at the KSL television studio, where she hosted a weekly program for teenagers as reported in the October 7, 1949, issue of The Bulletin.

Elaine Cannon, born Elaine Anderson, graduated from the University of Utah in 1943 with a degree in sociology. During her time at the university, Anderson contributed light commentary pieces to The Utah Chronicle. She went on to write for The Deseret News, authored over 50 books, and became the eighth president of the Young Women organization in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a position she held from 1978-1984. Cannon, who died in 2003, is remembered for her dedication to her family, to the church and to young women and youth around the globe. (“Elaine Cannon Dies”)

Interested in writing early in life, Anderson started a school paper while attending junior high. She also launched a weekly paper following high school graduation. (Woodger, p. 183) The Salt Lake Telegram reported on March 6, 1939, that the Red and Black, the paper Anderson helped start for West High School, would be the first “home-printed paper” at that school.

During her time at the University of Utah, Anderson wrote for The Utah Chronicle, the school’s independent student paper. Her contributions to the Chronicle were light commentaries on current events, both general and campus specific. In an October 1940 issue of The Utah Chronicle, Anderson is listed as the assistant women’s page editoran achievement that isn’t mentioned in the various publications about Anderson’s life and work.


One of Elaine Cannon’s earliest articles in The Utah Chronicle, which appeared in the October 10, 1940, issue.

The fifth page of The Utah Chronicle was dedicated to articles written by and for women attending the University of Utah. The “Women’s Page” was established in September 1935, first appearing in the September 26 issue. In one of Anderson’s earliest articles published in The Utah Chronicle, “College Transfers Give Opinions on U. of U.,” she shared the opinions of University of Utah students who transferred from other institutions. Anderson noted that young women who joined the university appreciated the number of tall men and the dancing styles on campus. Throughout her student writing career, Anderson would offer comments on campus fraternities and advice for freshman women. She also contributed a recurring column called “Campus Ramblings.”

group cannon

Elaine Cannon with her husband, James Cannon, during his 1964 campaign for governor, as published in the June 25 issue of the Vernal Express.

Anderson also wrote for The Salt Lake Telegram while attending the university and would eventually become society editor for the Deseret News, where she wrote under her married name, Cannon. (Woodger, pp. 183-84) Throughout her career, she wrote numerous articles for various publications, including Seventeen. (Woodger, p. 178) Anderson, who wed in March 1943, also briefly hosted a local weekly television program for teenagers, which was announced in the October 7, 1949, issue of The Bulletin, a small publication for residents of the Sugar House neighborhood. Cannon also contributed articles and served as society editor.

At the time of her appointment as Young Women president, the women’s liberation movement was in full swing. Cannon’s appointment was very near groundbreaking, as she became the first president who was employed outside of the home. She balanced the duties of being a full-time mother of six, her work as a writer and her duties to the church. Cannon spoke often about the balance of her duties and how she was always looking for ways her career could help serve the church. (Woodger, p. 175)

While she herself worked outside of the home, her focus as Young Women president was still on advocating for a woman’s duty to her family, as this was a priority of church leadership at the time. She noted that while having a family and a career was an option for her, all women are different. What was fine for her life might not work for someone else. (Woodger, p. 176)


The cover of Elaine Cannon’s book, which was published in 1987 by Deseret Book Company.

When ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) began in 1971, the LDS church struggled to form a conclusive opinion. Leadership seemed adamant that the bill was vague and unnecessary. Cannon agreed with the opinions of church leaders. However, the bill still inspired her to make efforts toward providing security and empowerment to women in the church. In response to the discussion over the ERA, Cannon helped create a separate magazine for youth in the church, restructured the Young Women General Board, implemented a Sunday class specifically for young women and established the first LDS women’s meeting. (Woodger, pp. 181-83)

Cannon wasn’t just dedicated to serving young women, but all youth. In 1955, Seventeen magazine provided Cannon an award for her support of teen activities and she served as a delegate at the 1959 White House Conference on Youth. (“Elaine Cannon Dies”)

Elaine Anderson Cannon’s writing career began early and carried on throughout her entire life. However, her work as a writer and leader within the LDS church barely scratches the surface. Cannon had a brimming life, marked by her dedication to her faith and her community.

Alaikia Marielle Miller is a senior at the University of Utah and is set to graduate in May 2019 with a B.S. in communications and journalism. Alaikia is currently a senior staff writer for The Daily Utah Chronicle and can be found across all platforms under @mariellerrrr.


“West High Will Celebrate First ‘Home-Printed’ Paper,” Salt Lake Telegram, March 6, 1939, 10.

“The Utah Chronicle: List of staff members,” Utah Chronicle, October 24, 1940, 4.

“Women’s Page,” Utah Chronicle, September 26, 1935, 5.

Elaine Anderson, “College Transfers Give Opinions on U. of U.,” Utah Chronicle, October 10, 1940, 5.

Elaine Anderson, “Freshman Women Express Views on Fraternities to Reveal Many Startling Conceptions,” Utah Chronicle, November 14, 1940, 5.

Elaine Anderson, “Scribe Ponders Resolutions; Submits Advise to Frosh,” Utah Chronicle, January 9, 1941, 5.

Elaine Anderson, “Campus Ramblings,” Utah Chronicle, January 16, 1941, 5.

“Television for Teen-Agers” The Bulletin, October 7, 1949, 3.

Elaine Cannon dies at age 81,” Church News, May 22, 2003.

Woodger, Mary Jane. “Elaine Anderson Cannon, Young Women General President: Innovations, Inspiration, and Implementations,” Journal of Mormon History 40, no. 4 (Fall 2014): 171-207.

Image Sources

“Group at Dine A Ville Motel,” Vernal Express, June 25, 1964.

Cannon, Elaine. Adversity. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1987.

Elaine Anderson, “College Transfers Give Opinions on U. of U.,” Utah Chronicle, October 10, 1940, 5.

“Television for Teen-Agers,” Bulletin, October 7, 1949, 3.

WAVES and SPARS: Women go to War in 1943

By Matt McPherson

At the height of the second World War, university students across the nation were forced to withdraw from school and join military forces. First the men, but with a high demand, women also became part of the war’s history. Women not only entered the workforce, but they broke gender barriers by joining military forces. In 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and the SPARS (United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve). Historian Roger D. Launius discussed women’s impact on the war saying, “Not only did women enter the workforce in a big way, but many of the other traditional sexual boundaries were eroded by the war.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.36.37 AMAs reported by the Salt Lake Telegram on Tuesday, January 11, 1943, Lieutenant Tova L. Petersen, a recruitment officer for the WAVES and SPARS, arrived in Salt Lake City to interview applicants. Just one month later the first Utah women would enlist in the military.

The Utah Chronicle reported on February 25, 1943, that twelve women from the University of Utah were assigned and enlisted to make up Utah’s first contingent of the WAVES and SPARS by the Navy Recruiting Station in Salt Lake City. In order to enlist, women had to be between the ages of 20 and 36, some schooling was required, and they could not be married to a man in the same military branch. The women had to complete four months of training of which nine participants were WAVES and three were SPARS. Following their training, they were assigned to active duty around the United States, or sent to schools for “technical training by Navy experts.” Utah continued to enlist women to reach a quota; to do so, the naval officer from San Francisco remained in Salt Lake City to approve applications.

A brochure titled Facts About the WAVES and SPARS addressed the importance of women joining the armed forces. The author wrote, “Never in history has there been such an urgent need for American women to serve their country. This is total war — a war in which every woman as well as every man must play a part.” The brochure gave complete instructions on how and where to apply, what living situations would be like, and the basic requirements to enlist as WAVES or SPARS.

On March 19, 1943, the Sugar House Bulletin shared an image with a brief description of women in training, titled, “Future WAACS, WAVES, SPARS Start Training.” The trainees are shown doing jumping exercises on a springboard.

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.35.30 AM

On March 8, 1943, The Utah Chronicle published a letter from Florence Henrichsen, a WAVES member and former University of Utah student. Henrichsen wrote from Massachusetts to her sister and told her of her daily life. There was no more staying up late and no more everyday clothing, which she referred to as “civies” — only uniforms were allowed now. Henrichsen did not express any resentment for her decision and seemed quite happy. She wrote of her meals and the training she partook in. She ended the letter to her sister with a little encouragement: “Come and be a WAVE with me – you would love it.”

Reporting for KSL in August 2014, Peter Rosen shared the story of Utah’s own Kathryn Klaveano who served in the Navy WAVES. Klaveano wanted to be a part of the action. She is quoted as saying, “I told them I will go AWOL before I would be a secretary.” And she was more than that. Klaveano was a flight orderly on domestic military flights “from Newfoundland to Miami and to Hawaii.” Another Utah woman, Ora Mae Hyatt, actually served outside of the U.S. and made her way to Okinawa. Unconcerned with her surroundings, Hyatt said, “We were young. We didn’t dwell on the danger we were in.” (Rosen)

World War II brought an urgency upon the United States and called for young men and woman to help fight. President Roosevelt’s establishment of WAVES and SPARS gave women the opportunity to join the war effort. In February 1943 the first twelve Utah women were given the chance to help shape America’s future military and they did just that.

Matt McPherson graduated from The University of Utah in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication.


“Future WAACS, WAVES, SPARS Start Training,” Sugar House Bulletin, March 19, 1943, 3.

“From Former U Coed—Now WAVE,” Utah Chronicle, March 8, 1943, 3.

“First WAVE, SPAR Unit Accepted,” Utah Chronicle, February 25, 1943, 3.

“Women Wanted in WAVES, SPARS,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 11, 1943, 18.

Advertisement/image of U.S. Army announcement, Utah Chronicle, January 14, 1943, 2.

Facts About the WAVES and SPARS,” n.p., 1943.

Rosen, Peter. “Utah Woman at War: Stories of Service in WWII,” KSL, August 28, 2014.

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


Images provided by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

Wanted: Airline Stewardesses for United Airlines

By Stella Lee

United Airlines was looking for young women with an interest in flying the nation’s airways as a stewardess, according to an advertisement published in The Utah Chronicle on January 10, 1946. There were some qualifications that applicants needed to meet. The women had to be between 21 and 26 years of age, stand between 5’2” and 5’6”, weigh no more than 125 pounds, be unmarried and in good health, have good vision, be a United States citizen, and have completed two years of college or be a registered nurse. The title of stewardess, or flight attendant, is a job aimed at airplane passengers’ comfort and safety. In the middle of the 1900s, people preferred the description flight attendant rather than stewardess because the latter had a negative connotation and meant “flying waitresses.” (Bean-Mellinger)


Photo by Shipler Studio. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

The first flight attendant had appeared when passenger air travel began in the early 1920s. At the beginning, they were generally the sons of businessmen who had financed the airlines. However, as airplanes became public transportation, airlines needed official employees as flight attendants for passenger safety and service. Ellen Church, who was the first female stewardess hired in 1930 by United Airlines, opened the door for women stewardesses even though the atmosphere in 1930 was not favorable for women flight attendants because the ability of women was always in question. (Latson)

However, working as a stewardess—despite the pay, prestige, and adventure—was actually not as great as it seemed because the women were strictly controlled. (Harris) For example, they were not allowed to marry and most airlines had strict criteria for their height, weight and appearance. Victoria Vantoch, author of The Jet Sex: Airline Stewardesses and the Making of an American Icon, writes that applicants had to meet draconian airline beauty requirements, which embodied America’s mainstream ideal of beauty.


Group photo of airline employees at the Salt Lake City Airport. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

This naturally led to beauty-based gender inequality, sexism and increased gender bias. Some stewardesses were not hired, even when their ability was outstanding, due to appearance. Airlines also discriminated against Black women. Ruth Carol Taylor, a journalist and registered nurse, broke the color barrier in 1957 after filing suit against Trans World Airline. (Van Houten)

Fifteen years later, two White Eastern Airlines flight attendants took the company to court on charges of discriminatory weight and grooming regulations. The organization Stewardesses for Women’s Rights was subsequently founded to address gender discrimination and advocated for reform until 1976.

Due to these efforts, problems with gender-based inequality were moderated and regulations were put in place. Nowadays, gender bias for flight attendants is mostly resolved, but society still requires our attention.

Stella Lee graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication from the University of Utah.


Advertisement for United Airlines stewardesses, Utah Chronicle, January 10, 1946, 3.

Latson, Jennifer. “Hired for Their Looks, Promoted for Their Heroism: The First Flight Attendants,” Time, May 15, 2015.

Harris, Tom. “How Airline Crews Work,”

Bean-Mellinger, Barbara. “What Is the Difference Between a Stewardess and a Flight Attendant?”, June 29, 2018.

Van Houten, Matt. “Taylor, Ruth Carol,”

“Women in the Skies: The birth of the Stewardess”,, September 16, 2014. 1-2

Vantoch, Victoria. The Jet Sex: Airline Stewardesses and the Making of an American Icon. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.