Reactions to Utah’s Public School Sex Education in the Early to Mid-1900s, from Medical Professionals and Students

by MARISSA SITTLER

Sex education has been a contentious topic since it was first introduced by the United States government in the early 1900s. However, Utah has been and continues to be stuck on the receiving end of flak from outsiders, as well as its own residents concerning its (lack of) sex education.

What might be defined as “sex education” now, was not the same during 1946-47, when LaMar Holmes conducted a study, The Status of Sex Education in the State of Utah, in which he sought to discover what Utah’s K-12 public schools were teaching its students. Holmes mailed a questionnaire to 435 public school principals listed in the Utah Public School Directory of 1946-47. One hundred seventy-four out of the 435 questionnaires were returned.

In Holmes’s study, he defined sex education as “activities directed toward bringing about the development of wholesome habits, conduct, attitudes, and ideals within the individual to the end that the family will be preserved and home life improved.” (Holmes, 10) The purpose of sex education, in his eyes, was not to teach of sexually transmitted infections or contraception, but rather to teach adolescents to respect the opposite sex, and to build “wholesome” relationships.

In Holmes’s study, there was not an official sex education curriculum for Utah’s public schools that was mentioned. Instead, offerings at schools varied. One example was a unit of instruction called “sex education” that was administered in tenth and eleventh grade physical education. Another school’s principal simply said that sex education was part of the health education program in his school. Perhaps the most comprehensive curriculum mentioned in the study was that of a home nursing class, which included a one-hour period for lecture and informal discussions about each of the following subjects:

“1. Anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system. 2. Physiology and hygiene of menstruation. 3. Conception, growth and development of the fetus, and the birth of a baby. 4. Prenatal care of the mother including social and emotional adjustments. 5. Baby care including collection of layette and demonstration of a baby bath. 6. Brief discussion of the social diseases.” (Holmes, 19)

On the other end of the spectrum were schools where sex education was not integrated into the curriculum. Rather, instruction was given if “problems arose.” (Holmes, 18)

Three decades before Holmes’s study, Utah newspapers were discussing the need for a consistent curriculum and regular instruction of sex education. The Salt Lake Telegram reported on March 5, 1916, that Dr. M. J. Exner of New York said, “Sex education at high school is necessary” because the earlier the education, the better guidance in regards to the topic for high school-aged boys. Exner also commented on the sources of sex education in early years, and that “91.5 per cent said they received their early impressions from unwholesome sources, mostly from older boys; 70 percent said those impressions had aroused in them morbid curiosity, distorted the whole sex question, and led to unfortunate practices.”

On August 11, 1927, the Ogden Standard Examiner covered a meeting of the World Federation of Education. In an address to its health section, Dr. T. W. Galloway of New York, associate director of the department of education of the American Social Hygiene association, stressed “the need of greater sex education in home and school, particularly among junior high school students.” In addition, Galloway said the current state of sex education did not include enough information about biology, anatomy, hygiene, or venereal diseases.

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The Utah State Capitol building, circa 1920. Used with permission. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

In a May 5, 1948, Daily Utah Chronicle article, another medical professional added her two cents to the sex education discussion. Dr. Bernice Moss, of the physical education department, believed that even those who had already been taught or trained on the topic of sex education could benefit from further instruction.

An article in the Salt Lake Telegram on May 23, 1938, noted that Dr. William Cary, a gynecologist and obstetrician, said “too many college courses are being taught by people who have had no personal experience” when it comes to sex education classes and that the teaching of such curriculum needs to be better.

A sex education conference in 1948 sponsored by the Adult Education committee, Board of Education of Iron County School District, and Parent-Teachers Association was held in a public school auditorium and was regarded as highly successful with good attendance. Miss Winifred Hazen, the consultant in family life education for the State Department of Public Instruction, was the conference leader. In a February 12, 1948, Iron County Record article, she stressed “the need for accurate knowledge of sex behavior, and fundamentals to proper training of every child, and also the responsibility of teacher and parent in giving proper information.”

It was not, however, only medical professionals who recognized the need for expanded teaching of sex education in Utah’s public schools. Students, also, voiced their opinions in favor of the matter. Several Utah newspapers chronicled stories on students’ reactions. As the Utah Daily Chronicle reported on March 2, 1939, “Sex education should no longer be a matter to be whispered about, a large majority of American college students believe.” Sixty-two percent favored making courses on the principles of sex mandatory, according to a nationwide study done by the Student Opinion Surveys of America.

The Salt Lake Telegram reported on April 8, 1948, that more students had been interested in a course on sex education than any other class offered in adult education curriculum of the Salt Lake City schools, according to Ralph V. Backman, head of the division.

On December 10, 1948, the Telegram reported that college students did indeed want more education about sex. According to surveys, about 99 out of 100 of people of all ages said they learned “practically nothing from courses in high school or from parents! Appalling!”

Despite considerable support for improvement upon sex education from medical professionals as well as students themselves in Utah’s public schools, currently the status of Utah’s public sex education is abstinence-only. Senator Frances Farley introduced the idea of teaching abstinence in 1988 into schools’ core curriculums in response to the AIDS crisis then. However, what Farley did not introduce was an abstinence-only stance, but the curriculum has since become that.

A February 16, 2017, Salt Lake Tribune article reported that Utah Democratic representative Brian King tried to introduce two bills to update Utah’s sex education curriculum. Both failed because people view sex education as the parents’ role. King’s bills intended to create a more comprehensive sex education for students, as the current curriculum for Utah’s public schools forbids the teaching of contraception, in addition to many other things.

The Trump administration has threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, an external source of sex education for what is not taught in schools. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan created a bill to eliminate health care for millions of Americans, which included Planned Parenthood centers. Neil Gorsuch recently became the Supreme Court Justice, and his history of interference with reproductive health and rights is concerning to Americans who need basic access to reproductive health care at centers such as Planned Parenthood.

Marissa Sittler is a sophomore at The University of Utah studying communication, with an emphasis on journalism.

Sources

Albert E. Wiggam, “College Students Seek More Sex Education,” Salt Lake Telegram, December 10, 1948, 8.

“Sex Education Conference Draws Good Attention,” Iron County Record, February 12, 1948, 10.

“Sex Education Popular,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 8, 1948, 8.

Jean Bruno, “Sociology forum urges early sex education,” Utah Daily Chronicle, May 5, 1948, 2.

“American Students Favor Sex Education,” Utah Daily Chronicle, March 2, 1939, 1.

Ruth Millett, “Doctor Suggests Improvements In Sex Education,” Salt Lake Telegram, May 23, 1938, 4.

“Sex Education Need Stressed,” Ogden-Standard Examiner, August 11, 1927, 3.

“Sex Education In High Schools Is Urged,” Salt Lake Telegram, March 5, 1916, 5.

The Tribune Editorial Board. “Sex ed is ed,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 16, 2017, 10.

Holmes, LaMar L. The Status of Sex Education in the Schools of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, 1948.

 

 

 

The Media’s Role in Citizens’ Perceptions of Topaz, the Japanese Internment Camp in Utah

by Elizabeth Fields

The media have always played a role in our history. More than simply relaying the news, media dictate which stories deserve our attention, whether or not we are aware of it. Sometimes subtle and sometimes not, the media mold our values and opinions through careful choice of language and selection of which stories to tell. In the case of the Japanese internment facility located in Delta, Utah, the media’s influence over the public proved to be no different. Through the alienation of Japanese-American citizens and normalization of internment facilities, Utah media placated its citizens and prevented them from being able to recognize Topaz as being inhumane and unjust.

Described as being “one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history,” the upheaval and relocation of many Japanese-American citizens during World War II was set in motion on February 19, 1942, when President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. (history.com) This order authorized the creation of military zones along the West Coast and stipulated that individuals who were considered a threat to national security could be relocated to internment facilities located farther inland. The order soon was used to justify the removal of Japanese-Americans who were suspected of having an allegiance to Japan. Forced to put their jobs and education on hold and to give up their homes and most of their possessions, more than 120,000 citizens were sent to internment camps in states including Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado, where they were closely monitored to ensure that they could not assist the enemy. The Central Utah Relocation Center, more commonly known as Topaz for the mountain to the west, officially opened on September 11, 1942. By the time it closed, it had housed more than 11,000 detainees. (topazmuseum.org)

American citizens who did not have ties to Japan had been primed by the media to distrust and dislike Japanese culture, both domestic and abroad, since the beginning of America’s involvement in WW II. In the months leading up to the opening of Topaz, Utah citizens were exposed to hateful, racist terminology degrading their perception of the Japanese. On January 6, 1942, the Salt Lake Telegram reported that American soldiers were “killing the cocky little invaders like flies,” quite literally dehumanizing the foreign enemy. On January 5, 1942, the Salt Lake Telegram relished the thought of American allies writing “in rivers of Japanese blood.” This violent rhetoric set the stage for internment camps to open without question or opposition from the American public. It is important to note that Utah media consistently referred to the Japanese enemy as “Japs” in nearly any article written about the progress of the war.

In September 1942, when Japanese-American citizens began arriving at Topaz, the media also referred to these camp residents as “Japs.” On September 27, 1942, the Millard County Chronicle published an article under the headline, “WRA Officials Arrive to Take Over Jap Camp.” In the same issue, a separate article advertised cheap labor provided by internees and provided details about “how the Japs can be got, the regulations, and other information.” In this particular story, the language is eerily reminiscent of historical articles advertising slave labor. Utah media did not even bother to differentiate between the Japanese enemy and the Japanese-American citizen. Instead, the media lumped the two populations together using the same racial slur. Immediately, citizens living outside of internment camps differentiated the Japanese-American citizens as being in a separate category from themselves and associated them with the enemy. In some cases, citizens may not have even made a distinction between citizens and the enemy because the two shared the same epithet.

To further Utah’s ignorance to the injustice at play, Utah media completely normalized the Topaz internment camp by publishing mundane, day-to-day happenings at the camp, none of which included any of the harsh realities of life at Topaz. One of the most insulting articles was published in the Salt Lake Telegram on December 30, 1942, with the headline, “You Wouldn’t Trade Places.” It suggested that those living outside internment camps were actually experiencing some kind of envy. The article observed: “There are all sorts of rumors—that the Japanese evacuees from California live there in style, that they are being fed far better than most Americans.” The article described the minimalistic lifestyle of internment camp, but then assured readers, “Certainly they are being treated decently … the food is wholesome…. Although not being pampered, they are being very fairly treated.” It even claimed that the Japanese-American citizens enjoyed the work they did at the camp, saying, “Work becomes desirable as a pastime.” In reality, life at Topaz was anything but fair. According to the Densho Encyclopedia,

“Many of the apartments were not finished when inmates arrived. The prisoners had to endure especially cold conditions until gypsum board was installed on the walls and ceilings… Ill health was common at Topaz… Several prisoners reported how this … traumatized them and prevented them from ever feeling fully secure in camp.”

On December 17, 1942, the Millard County Chronicle published an article detailing the plans for a Christmas party to be held at Topaz: “This will be a large scale operation, purposed by the WRA [War Relocation Authority] to promote good will, [and] to show the proper Christian spirit.” The brief article clearly applauded the righteousness of the WRA and completely dismissed the fact that internees could not be in their own home with their friends and extended family to celebrate. Many of the internees were not Christian and did not even observe Christmas as a holiday. This article reinforced the concept that they they were comfortable and happy, perhaps even lucky. This complete misconception of the reality of living in an internment camp prevented Utahns from recognizing the injustice of the situation.

The last and perhaps one of the most significant elements in keeping Utah citizens silent was the Espionage Act. This act prevented anyone from publishing material conveying “anti-patriotic” sentiments. More than an act of censorship, the Espionage Act reflected a deep-rooted fear that citizens of Japanese descent felt a stronger alliance to Japan than to America that would cause them to betray their country. On May 28, 1942, the Millard County Chronicle wrote,

“What shall we do with Japanese aliens to prevent possible espionage and sabotage?… Many of the Japanese, especially those of American birth, were loyal to the United States. But their fathers and mothers were aliens. It was to be expected that a considerable number of these would be tied to Japan by bonds of race and nationality.”

The Espionage Act only encouraged feelings of distrust toward the Japanese and furthered the media’s contempt for them. To write in opposition of Topaz would be to risk interrogation or even detainment. Simply put, it was unsafe to openly protest Topaz. Had it not been for the Espionage Act, perhaps Utah media would have exposed the truth about Topaz and the public would have had the ability to resist.

As Americans when we think of World War II, we think of bravery and sacrifice. We think of the grainy, black and white footage of victorious soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima. We think of Rosie in her red bandana, proudly pulling her denim sleeve across her flexed arm and proclaiming, “We Can Do It!” We think of the famous photograph of a young soldier home from war, in the streets of New York kissing a stranger out of pure elation. We do not think of an American Japanese family leaving their home in San Francisco to be locked away in an internment camp in Utah. We do not think of a young American Japanese student, forced to halt his education to be unjustifiably imprisoned. We do not think of thousands of people uprooted from their homes, careers, and aspirations to satiate the racism of a fearful country. We do not think of it, but we should. Through alienation, false justification, and writing within the boundaries of the Espionage Act, Utah media placated citizens and manipulated them to believe that Topaz and facilities like it were just and necessary.

Today still, our country faces prejudice every day that is perpetuated by our media. With the understanding of the injustice of Topaz, we are better able to critically analyze the sources we rely upon and protect those who our media would wrongfully have us fear.

Elizabeth Fields is studying strategic communication at The University of Utah.

Sources

 

“They Fought Like Demons,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 5, 1942, 8.

“The Japs Take a Beating,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 6, 1942, 6.

“The Story of 112,000 Japanese in America,” Millard County Chronicle, May 28, 1942, 8.

“WRA Officials Arrive to Take over Jap Camp,” Millard County Chronicle, September 27, 1942, 1.

“Utah County Wants Topaz Jap Laborers,” Millard County Chronicle, September 27, 1942, 8.

“To Hold Xmas Festivities at Topaz,” Millard County Chronicle, December 17, 1942, 1.

“You Wouldn’t Trade Places,” Salt Lake Telegram, December 30, 1942, 6.

“Japanese-American Relocation.” History.com, http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/japanese-american-relocation.

“Topaz.” Densho Encyclopedia, http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Topaz.

“Topaz Camp.” Topaz Museum, http://www.topazmuseum.org/topaz-camp.

 

The Edmunds Act of 1882

by JENNA DAVIS

In the 1800s, polygamy practiced by Mormons in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created complications between the Mormons and non-Mormons in the state of Utah. Polygamy is when a man has more than one wife at the same time. Non-Mormons urged Congress to pass an act making polygamy illegal. In 1882, Congress passed the Edmunds Act, also known as the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act, which barred members of the LDS Church from practicing polygamy and created punishments by law for those found guilty of it.

It is important to know the history of plural marriages in Utah in order to understand why the Edmunds Act was passed. According to the LDS Church’s website in an article titled “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah,” Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, claimed to have had a revelation from God that instituted plural marriage among the members in the early 1840s. It is believed that Smith received this revelation and made sense of it through the readings in the Book of Mormon, specifically in Jacob 2:30, where the scripture reads of God commanding followers to increase the number of children born into the gospel covenant and to “raise up seed unto me.” Mormons believed God ordained their practices, but non-Mormons didn’t agree with this and this created opposing opinions in the Utah Territory.

The question of whether Congress should interfere with the church’s practices and punish polygamy by law was debated in the newspapers. On January 1, 1882, the Deseret News quoted an article that was published in Century magazine that observed that the “Mormon problem was a local disturbance and nuisance and not a national difficulty.” Referencing the Edmunds Act that was about to be passed, the author argued that the punishments of conviction were unfair. He said it was unfair to bar all people who believed in polygamy or practiced it from serving as jurors in polygamy trials. The author claimed this was “a packed jury,” meaning it was an unfair selection and gave no chance to the person being prosecuted.

Although some viewed the passing of the act as unfair, most non-Mormons in the Utah Territory thought it was just. According to the Ogden Herald on January 4, 1882, the practice of polygamy in the Utah territory divided the Mormons and non-Mormons and created much tension. It was believed that if the practice was stopped, there could be greater peace and harmony in the territory.

The Salt Lake Herald reported another example of an opposing opinion on January 24, 1882, claiming that the act was denying rights and privileges that all citizens deserved and was singling out one religion in punishment. The Salt Lake Herald noted that “denying them privileges of citizenship seems to be a hobby with a good many anti-Mormons” and added, “we believe the suppression of polygamy will prove a sorry failure, should it pass.” But, regardless of the opposition, the Edmunds Act was soon passed.

The Salt Lake Herald reported on January 24, 1882, that the Edmunds Act consisted of three characteristics. The first was that it made it easier to find evidence to convict someone of practicing polygamy. Officials only had to demonstrate that there was more than one woman living with a man in the same house. The act also was explained in the Ogden Herald on January 26. The Deseret News reported on February 2 that the main purpose of the act was to “simply put Utah into political control of the minority.” The exact wording of the act is,

“Every person who has a husband or wife living, who in a Territory or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction hereafter marries another, whether married or single, and any man who hereafter simultaneously or on the same day marries more than one woman, in a Territory or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction, is guilty of polygamy, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 and imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.”

The act was passed to create a punishment for those practicing polygamy with the goal of ending it completely. But, as one scholar points out, the provision that denied polygamists the right to vote had consequences for women. Mormon women who cohabited were disenfranchised after being granted the right to vote in 1870 by Utah’s territorial legislature. (Finkelman, 322)

After the act was passed the members of the church had to figure out how to deal with their existing relationships, possessions, and offspring and learn to live a monogamous lifestyle. It was a hard transition for them and some continued to practice for a while, which exacerbated the animosity in the state. The Salt Lake Herald reported on May 7, 1882, that polygamy was prevailing in spite of the laws of the US Congress and that “open violation of authority of this government has frequently occurred.” The article stated that non-Mormons viewed the Mormons as intolerant, wrangling, and that they ultimately had “weakened the authority of the United States.” Though persecution still raged against Mormons who were trying to deal with the transition, eventually the church strongly forbadd its members from continuing the practice of polygamy.

According to the church’s website in the article titled, “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah,” in 1890, eight years after the Edmunds Act was passed, Church President Wilford Woodruff issued a “Manifesto” declaring his intention to abide by the law forbidding plural marriage. He said he would use his influence to convince the members of the church to abide by the law as well. Then, in 1904, the LDS Church strictly prohibited any new plural marriages and since then, polygamy has been forbidden among the members of the LDS Church.

According to a transcript of a talk given in General Conference on the LDS Church’s website titled “Do Not Practice Polygamy,” former LDS President Gordon B Hinckley, who served from 1995-2008, said that if any members were caught practicing polygamy, they would be excommunicated from the church. Excommunication means that their records are taken away from the church, they are no longer recognized as a member, and are denied all privileges of membership.

Even though it took many years after the act was passed, the Edmunds Act was the final law against polygamy that had a lasting influence and greatly impacted the acceptance of Mormons throughout the world. The Huffington Post reported on February 18, 2016, that 51.41 percent of Salt Lake County residents identified as Mormon. Neighboring Utah County was 80 percent Mormon. By following the laws of the land, this immense number of Mormon people can live more peacefully and without opposition and resentment from the government and others in their community. To that end, the LDS Church disavows the “fundamentalist Mormons,” a sect not affiliated with the church that still practices polygamy because members believe it “brings exaltation in heaven.”

Jenna Davis graduated from The University of Utah in 2017 with a major in journalism and a minor in French.

Sources

“The Debate,” Salt Lake Herald, May 7, 1882, 2.

“Anti-Mormon Legislation,” Deseret News, February 2, 1882, 8.

“The Edmunds Bill,” Ogden Herald, January 26, 1882, 1.

“Local News,” Salt Lake Herald, January 24, 1882, 4.

“A Polygamy Bill,” Salt Lake Herald, January 24, 1882, 1.

“Another Crusade,” Ogden Herald, January 4, 1882, 2.

“Legal Aspects of the Mormon Problem,” Deseret News, January 1, 1882, 8.

Finkelman, Paul, ed. Religion and American Law: An Encyclopedia. London: Routledge, 2000.

Harrison, Mette Ivie. “Do Mormons Still Practice Polygamy,” Huffington Post, February 18, 2016. http://huff.to/1ULs8U9.

Hinckley, Gordon B. “Do Not Practice Polygamy,” transcript, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://bit.ly/2lSphyz.

“Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://bit.ly/2mq7dtw.

“Sister Wives family appeal polygamy ruling to US Supreme Court.” Fox News, September 13, 2016.

 

Utah’s Role in Nuclear Testing During the Early 1950s

by ZACH CARLSON

The early 1950s were a tumultuous time for the United States of America. The Red Scare was well into effect, the Korean War was raging on, and Soviet Russia’s nuclear capabilities were looming on the horizon. These issues carried into 1951, marking the beginning of the new year with nuclear testing in what is now known as the Nevada Proving Grounds. The Proving Grounds are 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. On January 27, 1951, the United States began dropping nuclear bombs to test the effect of them.

NTS_-_Warning_handbill

The U. S. Atomic Energy Commission distributed handbills such as this one before the first series of tests was conducted. The public is advised that there is “no danger” to individuals living outside the testing area. The Downwinders of Utah Archive, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

On January 4, 1951, the Iron County Record published an article stating, “We must pull out of Korea completely and stop useless sacrifice…. The A-bomb should be used if it will help our forces in Korea.” These lines tell us how local community members felt about the political situation then. Later in the article it is stated that “not a single letter expressed actual terror at the thought of another war and the possibility of A-bombs being used against us. War … is better than attempted appeasement of aggressors.” The local citizens would rather be exposed to the effects of nuclear radiation than roll over to the enemy. Little did they know, they got what they wished for.

In late January 1951, nearly a dozen nuclear bomb tests took place. The Salt Lake Telegram published an article on January 29, 1951, discussing how the 10th and 11th atomic blasts had affected locals. The bombs rattled casinos over 60 miles away in Las Vegas. The newspaper also reported on the wide number of complaints from citizens: “Citizens generally were not pleased. The police department got four calls per minute for a half hour.” Beyond this general grumble and discontent from Las Vegas and Utah residents, public fervor died down for a while.

A conference was held at the University of Utah in May 1951 on the subject of nuclear testing and specifically how Americans had been kept sheltered from just what nuclear bombs and energy could do when compared to other countries. An article published in the Salt Lake Telegram on May 19 discussed how the United States had recently declassified and made public a large amount of nuclear information. The author rightfully draws a connection between this now-public knowledge and citizens, especially Utahns and Nevadans, having such an up-close experience with nuclear bombs.

fig1

This image was published in a February 1955 information booklet produced by the AEC for people who lived near the Nevada test site.

Later in 1951, multiple nuclear tests were delayed because “light winds” could spell death and disease for local residents of Utah. The Salt Lake Telegram reported in November that “the postponement was the third in as many days.” This tells us just how common and deadly these light winds could be.

In April 1952, the United States began testing the effects of nuclear fallout on troops. The Salt Lake Telegram discussed how from 10 miles away the heat from the blast singed the hair off of people’s faces. The heat was described as a “blast furnace.” The soldiers had dug fox holes only 4 miles away from ground zero, subjecting themselves to extremely unhealthy doses of radiation.

For over a year, the continued nuclear testing didn’t receive much attention, as it just became a part of day-to-day life except for when it caused a much greater inconvenience. In May 1953 residents of Cedar City and southern Utah, specifically St. George, were asked to stay in their homes and not leave or drive anywhere. The problem lasted longer than one would expect; the radiation lingered in the air days after the nuclear test. The levels of radiation were deemed safe by the Atomic Energy Commission. The Iron County Record reported on May 21, 1953, that “the levels of radiation produced outside the test control area were in no way harmful to humans, animals or crops.”

Poisoning from radiation takes time to rear its ugly head in the form of cancer, birth defects, and other unfortunate symptoms. Janet Burton Seegmiller writes in The History of Iron County that:

Relatively few Iron County residents were aware of or concerned about nuclear testing when the first mushroom-shaped cloud rose into the western skies and drifted to the northeast in 1951, but the cloud figuratively remains over southern Utah and Nevada to this day. Residents live with every day what the cloud left behind that the eye could not see. There are no southwestern Utah neighborhoods or communities that have not been touched by the tragedy of cancer or birth defects or lingering bitterness over human and financial losses.

These people had been promised by their own government that they would be safe throughout the nuclear testing. They had been lied to. Seegmiller discusses that declassified documents show even back in the late 1940s it was painfully aware to scientists that this was hazardous to human and livestock.

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) proceeded to continue with the tests, anyway. Sheep began to have burns on their faces and miscarry fetuses that had deformities. Those that survived to birth would often die due to other deformities. Everyone still believed the government when it reassured the citizens that everything was fine. In 1984, the United States District Court ruled in Allen v. United States that “fallout caused human deaths and the federal government was negligent in failing to warn residents.” But the government won a reversal on appeal on the grounds of national security. On May 11, 1984, the New York Times reported that a federal district judge ruled that ”the Government was negligent in failing to warn residents who lived in the path of fallout plumes about the danger of radioactive contaminations.” The government again appealed the decision. In Utah, The Right Place, Thomas G. Alexander writes, “Although they knew or suspected the danger from the fallout, they did not tell the people… that they stood in risk of cancer or leukemia. Rather, AEC officials publicly lied about the danger.”

In 1990, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act was passed. The government apologized to its very own citizens, now known as the Downwinders, and established a compensation program to help individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases. On March 2, 2015, the Department of Justice reported that it had awarded more than $2 billion in “compassionate compensation to eligible claimants” under the act.

Zach Carlson is a student at The University of Utah. He is pursuing a degree in communication with an emphasis in journalism. Zach is an avid consumer of movies, video games, and books, and loves dogs.

Sources

“Let’s Hear from the People,” Iron County Record, January 4, 1951, 2.

“Nevada Area Braces for More A-Blasts,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 29, 1951 3.

“The Big Question,” Salt Lake Telegram, May 19, 1951, 4.

“Storm Delays Atomic Tests,” Salt Lake Telegram, October 26, 1951, 7.

“Wrong-Way Wind Postpones Nevada A-Test” Salt Lake Telegram, November 17, 1951, 2.

“Mighty A-Bomb Slams Troops,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 22, 1952.

“Plan ‘Most Daring’ A-Bomb, Troop Maneuvers,” Salt Lake Telegram, May 26, 1952, 3.

“Atomic Winds – Fall-out,” Iron County Record, May 21, 1953, 2.

Alexander, Thomas G. Utah, The Right Place: The Official Centennial History. Salt Lake City, Utah: Gibbs Smith Publishers, 2003.

Peterson, Iver. “U.S. Ruled Negligent in A-Tests Followed by Nine Cancer Deaths.New York Times, May 11, 1984. http://lib.utah.edu/services/geospatial/downwinders/

Seegmiller, Janet Burton. A History of Iron County: Community Above Self. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998.

Horse Racing at the Utah State Fair and Pari-Mutuel Betting

by HALIE BERRY

The Utah State Fair has been a cornerstone of Utah history even before Utah became a state in 1896. The original development of the fair was to promote “self-sufficiency” within agricultural production. The first fair, known as the “Deseret Fair,” was held in October 1856 under the supervision of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society.

After its opening, the fair received little financial help from the Territorial Legislature and moved to various locations. Nevertheless, it was able to persevere as an annual event and in 1902 the Legislature purchased 65 acres for the purpose of assisting the local community. (Utah State Fair History)

In this pursuit, the fair had become a favored part of the horse racing industry in Utah. Horse races were featured on a new track and a covered grandstand welcomed spectators dressed in their best attire to enjoy the event. By 1909, horse racing in Utah developed similar rules and regulations to that of other organizations around the country and continued to gain increased popularity. Despite the success of the horse racing industry, there was rising opposition against it. Track owners were considered biased in the handling of wagering and during that time bookmakers were hired by the track. Utah had no state agency to oversee and/or regulate bookmaking of the horse races. (Westergren, 7)

By 1913, the belief of “dishonesty” within horse racing clouded the industry and the Salt Lake Herald and the Deseret News wrote lengthy editorials in 1909 and 1913 about the problems horse racing caused and why it should be banned. Westergren summarizes the reasons they offered, including: “The ‘fixing’ of races by dishonest horse owners and jockeys who ‘fleeced the public’ rather than providing, good, honest sport; the loss of spectators’ money in wagering at the track, depriving honest local merchants of sales and profits; the rise in crime that generally accompanied racing meets; and the moral impact of horse race gambling on individuals and families.” By February 17, 1913, Governor William Spry signed an anti-racing law initiated by Charles R. Mabey. The legislature passed the bill after a month-long “acrimonious debate.” (Westergren, 8)

In February 19, 1925, the Salt Lake Telegram reported that Representative Charles Redd had proposed a bill to the Legislature to legalize pari-mutuel betting and horse racing under a new state horse racing commission. Redd believed that horse racing was “the sport of kings” and should be re-established in the Utah industry. The bill proposed that the governor appoint a three-member committee to control the pari-mutuel betting system under new regulations by the commission. The bill gained traction among the legislature, but in March 1925, according to the Salt Lake Telegram, Sen. Herbert S. Auerbach considered the races “to be the most vicious forms of gambling and would bring into the state the worst riffraff of its kind.” This quote came after Auerbach admitted to not being “strait-laced” and dipping his hand in betting on a few races at the track.

State_Fair

A large crowd ventures to the Utah State Fairpark to watch horse racing in 1907. Shipler Commercial Photographers Collection, Mss C 275, Utah State Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.

Despite some pushback, the House Legislature passed the proposed bill on March 7, 1925, by a vote of 41 to 4 with ten members absent and by March 11, 1925, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 12 to 5 with three absent. The law was signed by Governor George Dern and became effective on May 12, 1925. For the first time in twelve years, the horse racing industry was revived and the pari-mutuel betting system was now legal. Many who approved the bill believed horse racing was a “clean” and “respectable” sport and that the new law would encourage breeders to produce competitive offspring, bringing in a renewed source of revenue into the state. (Westergren, 8-9)

By April 1925, the fairgrounds needed improvements. Fred Dahnken and William P. Kyne, well-known men in the horse racing industry who conducted successful races in Phoenix and Reno, proposed a deal with the state fair board and were approved for a $60,000 track deal to develop horse racing over the next ten years at the Utah State Fairgrounds. According to the Salt Lake Telegram, this agreement included improvements to the existing grandstand, paddocks, jockey room, horse stalls, and fences.

Utah_State_Fair_Association___Trotters

Two racers wait outside the fairgrounds in 1908. Shipler Commercial Photographers Collection, Mss C 275, Utah State Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.

As opening day drew nearer, things were in full swing to prepare for the event. The Salt Lake Telegram reported on June 6, 1925, that a new chute would be added to the track, extending the length of the race to run up to a three-quarter-mile. Artisans put final touches on the barns, pari-mutuel booths were set up, and jockeys and exercise boys warmed up horses on the track. On June 8, the Salt Lake Telegram announced the program of the State Fair’s “Inaugural Day” and informed readers that July 2 would kick off the horse racing season with a $1,500 purse.

The Salt Lake Telegram reported on July 1:  “Several carloads of horses, in prime condition, arrived at the track today and yesterday and still more are due this evening which will swell the number of equine nobility to participate in the coming meeting to a full 400 head.” C. B. Irwin, owner of at least 21 thoroughbreds at the races, believed his top horse that he called the “route-goer,” Lizette, would be the one to beat. “He would run her from the car to the track, that’s how good he thinks Lizette is,” observed the newspaper. At last, July 2, one of the most anticipated days of the year, arrived and the Utah State Fair officially opened the races under the new Horse Racing Commission. A large number of people ventured to the track to take in and bet on some of the top thoroughbreds competing.

The new system controlled the odds of the race; no jockey, bookie or horse owner could “fix” the race ahead of time. The minimum wager was $2.00. Bettors could choose from three types of tickets to place on a horse: win, place, or show, similar to other races. According to Westergren, “This ticket system was universally used at all tracks where the pari-mutuel system was functioning. The rules placed no limit on the number of tickets a bettor could buy. He might put down money on every horse in the race if he chose. However, payoff came only if the participant held a ticket for a horse that finished in one of the first three positions.” Tickets purchased from a pari-mutuel betting machine were cashed in to verify receipt of the wager amount. Odds were based on the wagers at the track and the money collected from their bets, rather than fixed, random odds by a bookie. Therefore, bettors wagered against themselves. Once expenses were paid to the state and licensed track owner, the remainder of the pool was divided among those with winning tickets. (Westergren, 12, 10)

The Salt Lake Telegram reported on July 3, 1925, “Women dressed in their fine summer clothes added a touch of color to the scene. The pari-mutuel machines received a good play, a fact which testified by the clicking one constantly heard as wagers were made.” The day was considered an overall success, according to William P. Kyne, the general manager of the State Fair races. On July 3, 1925, the Salt Lake Telegram highlighted, “Running strongly to the front, Lizette never placed the issue to doubt and ran to victory with more than two lengths to spare,” living up to Irwin’s expectations. It was estimated that between 3,500 and 10,000 attended opening day, including Heber J. Grant, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Governor George H. Dern, Salt Lake City Mayor C. Clarence Nelsen, and several other government officials. (Westergren, 14)

Overall, the races were financially successful as they hoped; from May 12, 1925, through the end of 1926, it was reported that racing brought in an additional $129,646 in total revenue. Business and community support was at an all-time high. But by February 1927, public concern with ethical issues of horse racing and betting affected support for the sport. Just two years after the passage of Representative Redd’s bill, pari-mutuel betting would again be banned by the Utah Legislature after accusations of corruption. (Westergren, 15)

Utah_State_Fair___P_26

Horses and buggies race to an exciting finish in 1904. Shipler Commercial Photographers Collection, Utah State Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.

In March 1992, the Davis County Clipper reported that Utah horse breeders had filed a petition to get pari-mutuel betting on the ballot, which would give counties the right to decide whether or not they would approve pari-mutuel wagering at horse races in their jurisdiction. According to the article, “The funds collected in the pari-mutuel wagering will be used to support the public, promote economic growth and reduce taxes.” Even though the bill made it on the ballot, late opposition from the LDS church prevented the bill from passing.

It’s been 90 years since pari-mutuel horse race betting has been legal. However, the positive impact it had on Utah’s economy shows the progressive role it can play today. It’s reported that the Utah State Fairgrounds is in a state of distress. Brian Grimmett of KUER reported on March 27, 2014, that an audit by the Utah State Auditor found the Utah State Fair Corporation is highly subsidized compared to similar state fairs around the country: “The legislature has given the fair more than $6.8 million since 2004. Meanwhile, attendance has decreased almost every year since hitting a peak in 2008.” Many of these concerns are due to the crumbling infrastructure. Legislative auditors are concerned if a plan to update and improve fair park facilities isn’t in place, the State Fair will be destitute in a few years, reported Judy Fahys of KUER.

The horse racing/breeding industry is an established sport in Utah. Allowing pari-mutuel betting or a similar system would be an incentive for members of the community to get involved, support the races and generate a year-round source of income to update and maintain current buildings at the state fairgrounds. Pamela Wood of the Baltimore Sun reported on March 18, 2016, that a new track deal allowed off-track betting at the Maryland State Fair all year. It was projected to generate upward of $500,000 per year in revenue for the Maryland Jockey Club, horsemen, and building upkeep and maintenance. Passing a similar bill here in Utah would allow the state fair to create new sources of revenue while continuing the tradition of the fairgrounds for future generations.

Halie Berry graduated in May 2017 from The University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication with an emphasis in sports broadcasting.

Sources

“Huge Throng Thrilled as Lizette Wins Feature of Opening Day,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 3, 1925.

Track and Equipment is Ready for Opening Event,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 1, 1925.

Program Announced for the First Five Days’ Racing,” Salt Lake Telegram, June 8, 1925.

“Fair Grounds Race Track to Have ‘Chute Added,’” Salt Lake Telegram, June 6, 1925.

“Fair Grounds Track Deal is Made,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 15, 1925.

Senate Overrides Dern’s Veto of McCarty Election Measure; Utah Horse Racing Bill Passes,” Salt Lake Telegram, March 12, 1925.

“Solon Revives Horse Races in House Measure,” Salt Lake Telegram, February 19, 1925.

Horse Breeders Want Pari-Mutual Vote,” Davis County Clipper, March 31, 1992.

Our History.” Utah State Fair, http://utahstatefair.com/history

Fahys, Judy. “State Fair Park’s Future Remains Uncertain.” KUER, June 19, 2014, http://kuer.org/post/state-fair-parks-future-remains-uncertain#stream/0

Grimmett, Brian. “Utah State Fair Under-Attended and Over-Subsidized.” KUER, March 27, 2014, http://bit.ly/2pm6r2R.

Luhm, Steve. History of Horse Racing in Utah.” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 2, 2006http://bit.ly/2plUp9n.

Westergren, Brian N. “Utah’s Gamble with Pari-Mutuel Betting in the Early Twentieth Century.” Utah Historical Quarterly 57, no. 1 (Winter 1989): 4-23.

Wood, Pamela. “Community, state fair reach deal on off-track betting at the fairgrounds,” Baltimore Sun, March 18, 2016, http://bsun.md/21ALmMz.

 

 

Brigham Young University Athletics “blind-cited” by National Women’s Law Center on 25th anniversary of Title IX

by MICHAEL CHARLES WATERS

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding.

Twenty-five years after it was enacted, Brigham Young University found itself in trouble with the federal law. The law was signed in 1972 by President Richard Nixon to give equality to women in programs that provide education. The law states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” (United States Congress)

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on March 2, 1997, that BYU claimed its athletics program had given varsity status to sports in which female athletes had shown interest and ability to compete. BYU women’s athletic director Elaine Michaelis said BYU had what it needed for quality programs, but that there were some areas that needed improving. She also pointed to progress with upgrading women’s locker rooms, ensuring that practice facilities were equal, and adding a women’s soccer team to increase the number of women’s scholarships. But, in order to afford scholarships for women’s soccer, BYU had to shift money from the men’s sports. One of those sports was men’s wrestling.

The Deseret News reported on March 11, 1997, that BYU wrestling was on the bubble and was close to discontinuation. Head wrestling coach Mark Schultz was having a difficult time recruiting athletes to BYU, because scholarships were scarce due to BYU’s continued efforts to comply with Title IX. Funds were being taken from wrestling and reallocated to other areas, and Schultz was told his position would be adjusted to part-time status. Athletic director Rondo Fehlberg, who was an All-American wrestler at BYU in the early 1970s, had mentioned that his preference was to add sports instead of dropping them. But if it became necessary for gender-equity, he would drop wrestling. Per former U.S. Department of Justice policy advisor Jessica Gavora:

“…No men’s program is exempted, no matter how successful or established… Brigham Young University eliminated its top-10-ranked men’s gymnastics team and its top-25-ranked wrestling team.” (53)

BYU’s head track coach Willard Hirschi also had some troubles with Title IX. Hirschi said in an interview with the Deseret News on March 13, 1997, that the men’s team was only allowed 12 scholarships for 19 events, while the women’s team was awarded 18 scholarships. Part of the reason women had more track scholarships than men is that an imbalance is created by the large number of football players awarded scholarships. The total number of financial awards allocated to other men’s teams is then adjusted accordingly. This didn’t sit well with Hirschi.

The Deseret News, BYU’s own Daily Universe, and The Salt Lake Tribune reported on June 3 and June 4, 1997, that the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed complaints against 25 schools, including BYU, stating that the institutions were not in compliance with Title IX. The complaint alleged that female varsity athletes were not receiving the same benefits by way of scholarships as the men were.

R. J. Snow, vice president for advancement at BYU, said in an interview with the Deseret News on June 3 that the institution was making considerable advancements when it came to women’s collegiate athletics. He also said that the motivation behind the complaints directed at BYU and other institutions, including Utah State University, was mainly for publicity and that the NWLC went to the media first before contacting the listed schools. In a statement to the Deseret News, NWLC co-President Marcia D. Greenberger said female athletes were putting forth a lot of effort, but were getting the short end of the stick when it came to getting scholarships.

The Daily Universe reported on June 4, 1997, that the complaint’s purpose was to have the schools in violation work with the Office of Education for Civil Rights. According to what Michaelis told the Universe, BYU had been doing just that for the past three years. The Universe also reported that the claims requested that women’s teams have equal locker space, the same quality of media guides and the same room and board opportunities as male athletes. After a random audit two years prior to the claims from the NWLC, BYU completed a new women’s locker room that provided more space. But Michaelis said the national scene was changing and BYU needed to look further at improving the women’s program. Otherwise, BYU would lose all federal funding.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on June 4, 1997, that the BYU student body was made up of 52 percent women, but that women only made up 38 percent of the school’s varsity athletes. They also reported that the women’s varsity teams only received 30 percent of the school’s monetary awards in athletic-related student aid. This was an infraction of Title IX.

On June 7, 1997, The Salt Lake Tribune published another story stating that it was odd to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Title IX by filing complaints to just 25 schools. Per Star-Telegram writer Andy Frielander, there were 305 Division I schools in the National Collegiate Athletics Association in 1997. The Tribune’s article reiterates the complaint that the 25 schools should offer the same number of scholarships between women and men as well as a standard that the percentage of woman in the student body should equal the percentage of female varsity athletes. The author also quotes Title XIV as it pertains to athletic scholarships:

“To the extent that a recipient awards athletic scholarships or grants-in-aid, it must provide reasonable opportunities for such awards for members of each sex in proportion to the number of students of each sex participating in interscholastic or intercollegiate athletics.” (U.S. Department of Education)

Frielander added that institutions of higher learning should strive for gender equity in both participation and scholarship awards.

On June 20, 1997, syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman wrote in the Deseret News that Title IX has not equalized opportunities for women in sports.

“In 1972, Title IX was passed in the name of fairness. Why pay the tax dollars so our sons could play but not our daughters? But the playing field is not yet truly level. There is barely a school in the country in which the proportion of women athletes matches the proportion of women students.”

Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune reported on December 9, 1997, that Michaelis said that Title IX has helped women gain many opportunities in sports. Female athletes were starting to get more of what the men got.

On December 11, 2011, the Daily Universe reported that the playing field for women in sports was leveling out. But there is still a problem for some men’s teams, because football is included in the scholarship count.

“There are 4.5 scholarships given to the men’s tennis program and 8 to the women’s, 9.9 to the men’s swim and dive team compared to the 14 women receive, and 12.6 for the men’s cross country/track and field team, whereas the women’s squad gets 18 at BYU. As a result, the fairness of Title IX continues to be debated among those affected by it.” (Ellett)

This shows that BYU was making progress toward total compliance with Title IX, regardless of lack of scholarships for male athletes not playing football.

On August 8, 2012, The Daily Universe reported that the decision to cut men’s gymnastics and the wrestling team further helped BYU be compliant with Title IX: “That decision has helped BYU to better meet the standards set for Title IX and allow the university to use its resources in the best ways possible.” Janie Penfield, BYU associate athletic director, also said in the article that schools are only checked occasionally to make sure they meet Title IX requirements. If schools show little to no progress, they will be penalized.

A committee charter from 2013 illustrates that BYU continues to push for full compliance with Title IX.

Michael Charles Waters is a junior at The University of Utah majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism. He has worked for Salt Lake Community College, where he had his own sports talk show for school radio and television, and interned with the Utah Jazz in video production. He currently works at The University of Utah filming and creating highlight videos for the teams as well as supply play-by-play analysis and color commentary for some of the teams.

Sources

Joe Baird, “Bridging the Gap; Utah Schools Pleased With Progress on Gender Front; Local Schools Like Their Progress,” The Salt Lake Tribune, March 2, 1997, B1.

Jeff Call, “BYU coach wrestles hard times,” Deseret News, March 11, 1997, D7.

Doug Robinson, “BYU’s Hirschi believes Title IX is hurting track and field,” Deseret News, March 13, 1997, D3.

Jeff Call, “BYU, USU among 25 to be cited,” Deseret News, June 3, 1997, D4.

Dan Egan, “BYU and USU Both Caught Off Guard By Group’s Charge; TITLE IX: Catches BYU, USU Off Guard,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 4 1997, B1.

Kathryn Sorenson, “BYU under fire for discrimination,” The Daily Universe, June 4, 1997.

“Pay to Play—Equally,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 1997, A10.

Gordon Monson, “Michaelis Loves ‘Purity of Sport’ (And Winning); Michaelis Leads Cougs To the Final 16,” The Salt Lake Tribune, December 9, 1997, D1.

“Brigham Young University Title IX Compliance Committee Charter,” Brigham Young University Compliance, http://bit.ly/2p9sDMU

Ellett, Carlie McKeon. “At 40, Title IX has leveled playing field at BYU.” The Daily Universe, December 11, 2011. http://bit.ly/2oAlmb6

Frielander, Andy. “UTA meets Title IX standards – University ranks high in recent gender study,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 30, 1997, 1.

Gavora, Jessica. Tilting the Playing Field: Schools, Sports, Sex and Title IX. San Francisco, CA: Encounter Books, 2002.

Goodman, Ellen. “Title IX has yet to level the playing field for women.” Deseret News, June 20, 1997, A11.

Houghton, Jared. “Title IX: Helping or hindering college sports?” The Daily Universe, August 8, 2012. http://bit.ly/2otNvQX

United States Department of Labor. “Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972.” http://bit.ly/24uzmTF

Cornell University Law School. Legal Information Institute. 14 CFR 1253.430, Financial Assistance. http://bit.ly/2p9OCnb

Woman Suffrage and Local Coverage of the 19th Amendment in Utah

by ISSA PENUELAS

There was a time when a woman was frowned upon if she had an opinion on politics and enjoyed the occasional cigar. It seems as though an educated opinion on anything remotely important was a threat to the notion that women were supposed to be satisfied in the domestic sphere. Women have always been placed on a different spectrum than men. The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 was a culmination of a decades-long political struggle for women and required three-fourths of individual states to ratify it. According to The Guardian, Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader in the woman suffrage movement, estimated that the struggle required about 480 campaigns for legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters, 277 campaigns to get state party conventions to include woman suffrage planks, and 19 campaigns with 19 successive congresses. (Adams)

By 1919, thirteen out of sixteen western states had already granted women the right to vote when Congress passed the 19th Amendment. So, why did the West allow woman suffrage prior to the federal amendment? More specifically, why were the western states more progressive and groundbreaking toward the establishment of women’s rights? According to Holly J. McCammon and Karen E. Campbell, the explanation for this is grounded in sociological theories of western social movement success. The authors argue that the combination of gendered and political opportunities worked together with the strategies that suffragists used to convince lawmakers and governors to extend suffrage to women. (55)

Surprisingly enough, Utah granted women suffrage half a century earlier than the nation, but suffrage was revoked and later reinstated. It was allowed first in 1870 by the territorial legislature, but revoked by Congress in 1887 as part of the national attempt to end polygamy in Utah. Both Mormons and non-Mormons wanted to give women the right to vote. Brigham Young, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the time knew that the nation viewed Mormon women as victimized and oppressed because of the practice of polygamy. However, if Utah gave them the right to vote, then society’s perspective on Utah’s treatment of women could change. (Laursen, 3)

Nonetheless, the U.S. has come a long way since 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granted women the right to vote. This was an incredibly historic moment in U.S. history because it represented the culmination of the 72-year-long woman suffrage movement.

Women_Suffrage_Leaders_P_02

A group of woman suffrage leaders met in Salt Lake City in May 1895 to discuss issues concerning women’s rights. Image courtesy of Utah State Historical Society, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

It’s important to recognize why local coverage of the 19th Amendment is so significant. Why is the amount of news coverage of the movement in Utah specifically relevant? Like almost everything in history, the combination of thorough research and analysis of historical moments tells a story. In this particular case, the following discussion will highlight the local coverage of the suffrage movement and develop a hypothesis of gender roles and woman suffrage. Was the culmination of local coverage an indicator of where Utah stood on women’s rights? Or could there have been more significant coverage of the 19th Amendment by the local papers? My research will explore the role that journalism plays as a voice of advocacy in the modern day.

On August 17, 1919, Abby Scott Baker, the political chairman of the National Women’s Party, arrived in Salt Lake City, where she was set to have a conference with the governors. Her plans were to ask again for the cooperation of the voting women of the West to help the suffrage movement one last time. A story about it was published in The Salt Lake Tribune the following day. This demonstrates which meetings local papers were recognizing as newsworthy.

The Salt Lake Herald also did an exceptional job of covering senators who were advocating for woman suffrage. Uarda McCarty reported on August 17, 1919, that Miss Margaret Shuler was especially enthusiastic to meet Utah Senator Reed Smoot, a Mormon who supported women’s right to vote. Smoot, who came to be known as “one of the godfathers of the federal amendment,” did everything he could to ensure that there was political equality in the country. McCarty wrote that Shuler, along with three other members of the national suffrage association, were in Salt Lake to meet with governors attending a special session. The women hoped to secure their support for the amendment. McCarty highlighted in an August 19 article which governors had followed suit and pledged to call special sessions of their legislatures. The Herald article also reported that Louise M. Garnett and Margaret Z. Cherdron were making arrangements for an active local campaign for woman suffrage. Not only do these articles illustrate the local coverage that was happening at time, but they also show the local support that women voters were fiercely fighting for.

Susan_B__Anthony__national_suffrage_leader

Susan B. Anthony, a national suffrage leader, played a pivotal role in the woman suffrage movement. Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune continued the coverage of woman suffrage by publishing an article on August 20, 1919, on the National Woman Suffrage Association. It also covered the special meeting held by Margaret Shuler at the Utah Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. “Our campaign has been to get to the point where we could work in co-operation with the men, not against them,” she is quoted as saying. The Salt Lake Tribune emphasized how Shuler’s goal in the national association was to carry out the completion of the ratification in time for women to vote in the presidential election the following year.

Also on August 20, the Salt Lake Herald reported that women in Salt Lake were urging the visiting governors to recognize the importance of calling special sessions now that Congress had taken the initiative to further woman suffrage in their battle for political liberty. For the most part, many local papers such as the Salt Lake Herald and Salt Lake Tribune did an explicit job of showing what sort of coverage was being addressed in regard to woman suffrage.

The Salt Lake Herald published another article on suffrage on August 27, 1919. It stated that Utah women had been participating in state elections and would soon have further privileges once the amendment was ratified. This piece reiterated what the previous research has already demonstrated: unlike other states, Utah had favored equal gender suffrage before the amendment’s ratification.

Not long after, The Salt Lake Tribune released a complete text of Governor Simon Bamberger’s message on September 30, 1919, to Utah’s legislature on womqn suffrage. “Utah has gone on record so unmistakably and so frequently in this matter that I feel further comment at this time would be superfluous,” he was quoted as saying. This comment by the governor indicates that Utah was already pushing for suffrage before it was extended to other states.

However, it wasn’t until October 3, 1919, that Utah’s legislature held its first special session. The Davis County Clipper published a brief report on the ratification of Susan B. Anthony’s Amendment to the federal constitution granting women the right to vote. Although the paper gave the illusion that there would be more information about the ratification of the amendment by the House, there was only one paragraph that really demonstrated the local coverage of the topic.

Through my research, I was able to conclude that woman suffrage was not as controversial in Utah as it was in other states where suffrage had never been accepted. The consistency I found between my primary sources and local coverage is that Utah was intentionally progressive in woman suffrage as part of a campaign to prove that women were treated well. Furthermore, national groups took this progressiveness and tried to get support from Utahns on the national suffrage movement. Although there was a substantial amount of coverage by local papers, it was not to the degree that I thought I would find. Perhaps the impact was not as significant because Utah had already given women the right to vote in the state for more than twenty years. The article by McCammon and Campbell pushed me to ponder what led to suffrage success in the West and how gendered opportunities played a prominent role in women’s rights. Furthermore, Rebecca Mead explores in her book, How the Vote Was Won, the successes of woman suffrage and analyzes what women did after the women’s rights movement. The author concludes that equal suffrage in the West was both the cause and effect of progressivism and responsible for the reform legislation passed during this period. (288)

The ongoing battle of women in politics continues to be an issue in many states today. These articles emphasize the importance of using research to interpret historical patterns in U.S. history. For a state that stood by woman suffrage early on, the actual representation of women in Utah’s legislature is surprisingly scarce. According to Christopher Booker, Utah has one of the lowest percentages of women in the state legislature. Although the representation of women in politics today might not show it, these sources demonstrate that Utah was intentionally progressive in woman suffrage and illustrate that, as a state, Utah supported women’s equality.

Issa Penuelas is a junior at The University of Utah. She is double majoring in mass communication and sociology.

Sources

Uarda McCarty, “Woman Lauds Smoot’s Aid to Suffrage,” Salt Lake Herald, August 17, 1919, 17.

“Action Is Urged by Suffragist,” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 18, 1919, 4.

Uarda McCarty, “Suffrage Session in Conference Week, Plan,” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 19, 1919, 3.

“Progress of Women’s Suffrage,” Salt Lake Herald, August 20, 1919, 4.

“Women’s League Aims to Educate,” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 20, 1919, 12.

“The Special Session,” Salt Lake Herald, August 27, 1919, 4.

“Here is Complete Text of Governor’s Message to Utah Legislature,” The Salt Lake Tribune, September 30, 1919, 7.

“Special Session of Utah Legislature,” Davis County Clipper, October 3, 1919, 3.

Adams, Richard, “The 19th Amendment That Gave Women the Right to Vote, 90 Years On,” The Guardian, http://bit.ly/2ps4qB1.

Booker, Christian and Connie Kargo, “Why Does Utah Have so Few Female Legislators?” PBS NewsHour, http://to.pbs.org/2d12f5A.

“19th Amendment,” History, http://bit.ly/1o2cCzb.

Laursen, Amber A. “Woman, Wife, Mother-Saint, Scholar, Patriot: LaVon W. Laursen Papers, A Case Study of Utah Women in Politics” (master’s thesis: Utah State University, 2015).

McCammon, Holly J. and Karen E. Campbell. “Winning the Vote in the West: The Political Successes of the Women’s Suffrage Movements, 1866-1919.” Gender & Society 15, no. 1 (February 2001): 55-84.

Mead, Rebecca. How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868-1914. New York City: New York University Press, 2004.

 

Utah Mountain Meadows Massacre, and the Execution of Ryan Lee, 1857

by SPENCER WILLIAM URE

Between September 7 and 11, 1857, there was a series of attacks on the Baker-Fancher emigrant wagon train at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah. Will Bagley wrote in Blood of the Prophets, “Alexander Fancher’s Party was said to consist of eleven families with twenty-nine children and sixty-five total members, traveling with eleven well-stocked wagons and large herds of cattle and horses.” (63) But why the Baker-Fancher party? It has been speculated that the attacks occurred because of the supplies individuals were carrying for their journey from Arkansas to California, and because the wagon train was passing through the Utah Territory during a time of civil unrest. Bagley quotes John D. Lee as saying, “As this lot of people had men amongst them that were supposed to have helped kill the Prophets in the Carthage jail, the killing of all of them would be keeping our oaths and avenging the blood of the prophets.” (381) Today, said Steven Lund, these series of attacks have come to be known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

According to both Bagley and Lund, Major John D. Lee of the Nauvoo Legion, Utah’s territorial militia, “led a ragtag band of 60 or 70 Latter-day Saints, better known as Mormons, and a few Indian freebooters” in the assault on the wagon train. (Bagley, “Wild West”) The only emigrants who were spared were 17 small children. (Lund)

Bagley writes in Blood of the Prophets, “The murder at Mountain Meadows raise larger questions about the human condition, particularly how decent men can, while acting on their and best firmest beliefs commit a great evil.” (xiii)

The significance of the Mountain Meadows Massacre comes from the scattered facts and myths that have been raised by this event. George Barclay stated in The Life and Confession of John D. Lee, the Mormon, that there is much speculation regarding what was truly the reasoning behind these attacks and what was covered up by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (43)

On August 5, 1857, one month before the massacre, Brigham Young wrote that martial law was declared in the Utah territory. (Proclamation) During this time, there were multiple escalations in the state that likely contributed to the massacre at Mountain Meadows. Most notable was the start of the Utah War. Lund explained that the Utah War is known today as the confrontation that Utah Mormon settlers had with the United States government over disputes in the Utah Territory. Lund states, “In mid-1857, Latter-day Saint leaders heard rumors that the federal government might replace Brigham Young with a new governor of the Utah Territory, who would be backed by large numbers of federal troops.” These facts have shown that through the pressure from the federal government on the newly created Utah Territory, LDS leaders feared that members would again be driven from their home.

It has been said that this attack was an inside job and part of a larger conspiracy within the Mormon church. Barclay wrote in 1910 that the “extermination of these emigrants was duly presented to the priesthood, and was discussed at considerable length.” (Barclay, 40)

John D. Lee, who led the attack on the wagon train, was executed for his crimes two decades after the fact. In 1875 and 1876, he was tried twice and found guilty for his participation in the massacre. During his first trial, there were no witnesses to testify about his crimes. In order to create legal and due process, a second trial was held. Members of the LDS church were able to find additional witnesses who then testified against Lee. (Barclay, 40) A few months later, on March 23, 1877, Lee was executed, though “he denied any intent to do wrong.” (Barclay, 42)

The Mountain Meadows Massacre has many implications for Utah history. The most notable is that the LDS church has taken responsibility for the event. On September 11, 2007, the 150th anniversary of the event, The Salt Lake Tribune quoted a Mormon leader as saying, “What was done here long ago by members of our church represents a terrible and inexcusable departure from Christian teaching and conduct.” Henry B. Eyring offered an apology for the church’s role and said, “We cannot change what happened, but we can remember and honor those who were killed here.”

Spencer William Ure graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in communication studies.

Sources

George Barclay, The Mountain Meadows Massacre with the Life, Confession and Execution of John D. Lee, the Mormon (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Barclay & Co, 1877).

T. R. H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons, from the First Vision of Joseph Smith to the Last Courtship of Brigham Young (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1873).

“Message of the President of the United States to the 36th Congress, 1st Session,” May 4, 1860, http://bit.ly/2mf1oC1.

Brigham Young, “Proclamation by the Governor,” August 5, 1857, http://bit.ly/2lUTrRu.

Bagley, Will. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002.

Bagley, Will. “Wild West: The Legacy of Mountain Meadows,” Wild West, October 2007, http://www.historynet.com/mountain-meadows-massacre.

Lund, Steven E.The Utah War & Mountain Meadows Massacre,” presentation to the members of the Highland Utah Stake in Alpine, Utah, March 10, 2017.

Ravitz, Jessica. “LDS Church apologizes for Mountain Meadows Massacre,” The Salt Lake City Tribune, September 11, 2007, http://bit.ly/2pD7f61.

Printed Voices of the Salt Lake City LGBT Community in the Early 1990s

by BRIAN ROBLES

A newspaper’s success is heavily dependent on the character and strength of the people behind the scenes. This is especially true of the alternative press, including newspapers targeted for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. Without a large group of readers and subscribers, it would make printing and distributing a heavy cost not easily paid. Luckily, there are people who are willing to champion this cause. In recent years, Salt Lake City has become one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the U.S., which contrasts with the city’s conservative image. (Breen) This is in part due to the LGBT community that pioneered for a voice.

Tracy Baim, an award-winning journalist in the gay community, wrote in her book, Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America, that:

There is a reason a gay press was needed. When the media of the previous two centuries were not wholly ignoring everything about homosexuals and the growing gay-rights movement, they were doing far worse: moralizing, demonizing, criminalizing, medicalizing, “repairing,” proselytizing, polarizing, ostracizing and often just pitying those poor, sad, pathetic “avowed” homosexuals. (Baim, 15)

Gay media were able to supply the LGBT community with something that it desperately needed: gay news that was relevant to the community. Because the mainstream media tended to show the gay lifestyle in a negative light, it was important for readers to have somewhere to turn for reinforcement that it was OK to be gay. The gay press was able to provide role models and inspirational authors who were able to help readers find a positive self-image. A study on the effects of media on gay identity states that without these role models there “was a sense of being excluded from traditional society.” (Gomillion and Giuliano, 347) Without the gay press, the LGBT community of Salt Lake City would have found themselves as outsiders with no room for their alternative lifestyle.

The purpose of this project is to illustrate the crucial role that the writers, editors, and publishers of certain Salt Lake City publications played in creating a voice for the LGBT community in the early 1990s. Their staunch support and willingness to represent this minority demographic enabled the LGBT community to have its issues gain public awareness. Highlighted are the attempts by these editors and publishers to draw the lay public into action.

Excerpts from three publications that were published through the early 1990s in Salt Lake City will be presented and interpreted in this article. These publications were: The Bridge, Outfront Review, and The Pillar of the Gay Community. The editors and publishers of these papers reflected on specific LGBT issues at the beginning of each publication, which helped set the tone of that particular publication. Their blurbs, pieces, and publications provided a place for these community contributors to try to bring the LGBT voice of out complacency and to bring the community together as a collective chorus that would assure that their voices would be heard.

The Bridge

Starting in 1990, a monthly publication called The Bridge, and its copublishers Becky Moorman and Alice Hart, brought the call to action and urgency to the Salt Lake City LGBT community. The forceful tone found throughout the publications present LGBT issues that demand to be heard. The Publishers’ Notes varied from introductions of the month’s publication to celebrations of queer culture to short shout-outs to close friends. These Publishers’ Notes are how we see just how deeply invested Moorman and Hart were in their community. According to the note in the second issue of The Bridge, published in November 1990:

Besides being a service to the gay and lesbian communities of Utah, The Bridge is Utah’s watchdog to the arts (and art censors): literary and visual. And if you don’t believe they need guarding; you don’t get out much. America’s art, music, and culture are going to the congressional dogs, and the constitution right along with it.

From the beginning, Moorman and Hart showed a penchant for the political. This was a publication that had publishers who were not willing to let their community be voiceless any longer.

caption

Cover of The Bridge. This publication, and others discussed in this article, are available at the Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

The Bridge was a call to action for the LGBT community. The publishers were not merely interested in presenting alternative news; they wanted to shape their history and society. The editors and publishers of The Bridge believed that involvement was the way to bring change. But that is not to say that Moorman and Hart were solely interested in what affected the LGBT community. In the sixth issue, published in March 1991, Moorman and Hart wrote to their readers regarding pending legislation — The Hate Crimes Statistics Act and Anti-Abortion laws. The Hate Crimes Statistics Act, which was ultimately adopted in 1992, required the state to collect and publish the hate crimes committed in the state. Pro-life versus pro-choice was also a hot topic at the time with the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case discussing abortion. In this sixth issue, the editors were not afraid to show where they stood nor were they afraid to push their readers to action:

“Be sure to voice your support for the Hate Crimes Statistic Bill and to mention how disgusted you are with the new anti-abortion law. Remember to boycott Utah. Cancel your conferences. Encourage everyone you know out of state not to travel here, spend money or do business with Utah companies until the unconstitutional ban on choice is lifted. Gut and burn any cars you see with anti-choice bumper stickers. Or if you’re a republican pro-lifer, bomb an abortion clinic for Jesus. There’s no one in them right now; which makes it less fun, but infinitely safer.”

This use of language — asking the readers to participate in boycotts and the like — was to encourage readers to come out and start taking an active role in their community. While this call for boycotting and law breaking was strong, the idea itself proves to be a radical one and may have perhaps alienated some of the readers of these notes. The other issue with boycotting Salt Lake City as a whole is that it would hurt the LGBT community just as much as the general population. A powerfully emotional, and perhaps too zealous, call to action can prove to be more detrimental than helpful in this case.

As mentioned, not all of the Publishers’ Notes were written in this authoritative call to action, but it was the urge for readers to become one of their community, to shirk their fear of retaliation due to the way they chose to love, that made The Bridge such an important publication. The February 1992 issue featured one of the more powerful calls to raise the voice of the LGBT community:

Love & Hate — this is the month for it! Hate Radio! Hate Crimes! Hate legislation! Homosexuals are the fashionable to-hates. The last sanctioned discrimination. Legislators, churches hide behind silence and exclusion — tacitly financing violence. Stop the straight war on gay love. No one can afford to be a fence-sitter. Violence is everyone’s problem. We can only stop it by saying STOP in as loud a voice as we can. Ask everyone. TELL everyone. They don’t have a right to NOT have an opinion. Don’t be complacent. Don’t let anyone be complacent. They may not like you for it now. Equality is contagious. If you keep on person from being silent – other’s will speak up. Others will listen. Silence is death. There may be blood on your hands for every time you heard gays talked about, joked about, whatever and didn’t say STOP!

Here Moorman and Hart explain that it’s not only a right, but also an obligation to raise one’s voice and to participate. They take a stand against those who don’t walk their talk. Discrimination of any kind is kept in power by the silence of the people who may oppose it in their hearts but never lend their voices to the cause. As a member of a community, one has certain responsibilities. If readers chose to read this particular publication and be a part of the community, it was their responsibility to become an active member to help further the progress of the LGBT movement in Salt Lake City.

Image courtesy of J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Image courtesy of the Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Outfront Review

The second publication of focus is the bi-monthly publication Outfront Review, originally Out Front Magazine, whose editor provided a more unified vision to their readers. Throughout the years, Editor Randy Richardson used a voice that seemed more suggestive than authoritative in the call to arms for the LGBT community of Salt Lake. While reviewing the Editor’s Notes in these publications, it’s found that Richardson spoke more with an appeal to pathos in contrast to Moorman and Hart’s lean to logos.

Like The Bridge, Outfront Review called for the LGBT public to participate in politics in order to gain awareness and make political strides. Outfront Review presented this same line of thinking in November 1992 when Richardson wrote:

“When you VOTE, remember all those who have gone before us and died needlessly because we had no rights. Remember all of those who never had a chance because AIDS was a Gay disease. Do it in remembrance of all those who have fought hard all of these years to get us to where we are today … think of all of our children … what future will they have, what legacy shall we leave them?

“PLEASE VOTE. We know you are out there, and that you do really care!”

This piece shows that appeal to emotion in the mention of children and the dead but its plea is similar to that of The Bridge in that the editor still seeks participation from the community.

The second issue, published in November 1992 discussed the role of the community in politics. The Editor’s Note addressed the need for the community to come together rather than remain segregated into gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender individuals ­— an issue that continues even today. Editor Richardson wrote: “Perhaps we need to look at forming a united gay and lesbian alliance … so that we can discuss things together, in an open forum … and then vote to obtain a majority opinion, speaking with one voice, representative of … and in … the best interest of our desires, goals and objectives as a community.”

The Pillar

Image courtesy of J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Image courtesy of the Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

This brings us to The Pillar of the Gay Community (The Pillar for short), which began publishing in 1993 with a specific demographic in mind — gay men. As The Pillar grew in popularity, it became apparent that the niche it filled could be inclusive to all of the LGBT community. The paper started to expand its role in the LGBT community, which can be seen in the paper’s changing tagline. For example, it started as a publication for “For Utah Mehn,” [sic] then billed itself as being for the “Lesbian and Gay Community” before broadening its focus to the “the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Community” of Salt Lake. The Pillar was the longest lived of the three publications presented in this article and continued publication until 2007. Its longevity may be due to its mix of LGBT news, entertainment, and flat out in-your-face attitude. Here, in the paper’s debut issue published April 1993, the writers set the record straight on what they will contribute to their community — and what the community could expect in future issues:

Why another paper in an over-developed market such as Salt Lake City you might ask? Great Question! We at The Pillar feel that there is a “hole” that is not being filled in the Gay Media and we hop to plug it! With the demise of The Bridge, and the Outfront, a group of us desired to compliment The Womyn’s Community Newsletter by mirroring them in our Mehn’s community. We are not out to offend anyone but get use to seeing Faggot, Dyke, and Queer in print and some outrageous Gay consciousness raising at times. We are firm proponents of the Gay Human Rights and we make no apologies for being homosexually proactive.

As mentioned in the note above, The Bridge and Outfront Review had both closed their doors, leaving a gap for this publication to fill.

The Pillar seemed to combine the best aspects of both The Bridge and Outfront Review. In the premier issue, readers were introduced to what they could expect from The Pillar — an unapologetic, authoritative use of language, which is reminiscent of the pieces published in The Bridge. But then The Pillar also adopted that same desire for unity that The Bridge sought, as seen in the “From The Editor” piece by Kim Russo in the December 1995 issue:

Too many times and on too many occasions when we have had a conflict or could not come to an agreement as an organization, we tended to “eat our own.” Instead of resolving differences or understanding that we can disagree and still function as a group or organization, anger took its turn and we “ate our own.” Torie Osborne coined that phrase and I resolved never to forget it. She said that in gay and lesbian communities around the nation, when conflict occurred, members would turn against each other and tear the other one down. How right Torie is. Therefore, resolve to be fair and not too critical. You know of all communities that should stick together because they have personally experienced their own kind of pain, it is us. Indeed may we stand together through it all.

This piece echoes Richardson’s note from Outfront Review, showing us that there was, and is, still the need for the community to band together.

Conclusion

The Editor’s Notes and Publisher’s Notes are often missed or skipped over for the traditional news and entertainment articles. This is a problem as these notes and additions to periodicals reveal so much emotion in them and provide insight to why the LGBT publications existed in the first place. The stories found between the covers of the publications discussed here held many of the same qualities found throughout great journalistic articles, but these notes presented something similar to a dialogue, which helped make these documents relevant even after nearly two decades. It was like reading a letter from a dear friend. They provided summaries of what had happened, and hopes of what may come, and always pushed readers to be better in their community and their lives.

The efforts by the influential people of the time helped make the LGBT community as strong as it is today. There’s still work to be done and maybe today’s publications, like QSaltLake, will be what The Bridge, Outfront Review, and The Pillar were for the LGBT community in the early 1990s. There’s still a need for gay press to spur the people into action, to inform them of what rights they have (or don’t), and to unite the factions within the LGBT community.

Brian Robles is a senior at The University of Utah. He is majoring in mass communication.

Sources

Kim Russo, “From The Editor,” The Pillar of the Gay Community, December 1995, 6.

Kim Russo, “From The Editor,” The Pillar of the Gay Community, May 1994, 2.

“Premier Issue,” The Pillar of the Gay Community, April 1993, 1.

Randy Richardson, “Editor’s Note,” Outfront Review, November 15-30, 1992, 2.

Randy Richardson, “Editor’s Note,” Outfront Review, November 1-15, 1992, 3.

Randy Richardson, “Editor’s Note,” Outfront Review, July 15-31, 1992, 3.

Alice Hart and Becky Moorman, “Publishers’ Note,” The Bridge, February, 1992, 5.

Alice Hart and Becky Moorman, “Publishers’ Note,” The Bridge, March, 1991, 4.

Alice Hart and Becky Moorman, “Publishers’ Note,” The Bridge, November, 1990, 3.

Baim, Tracy and John D’Emilio. Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

Breen, Matthew. “Gayest Cities in America,” The Advocate, January 9, 2012.

Gomillion, Sarah C. and Traci A. Giuliano. “The Influence of Media Role Models on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity.” Journal of Homosexuality 58, no. 3 (2011): 330-54.

 

 

 

 

 

University of Utah Professor Helped Shape Early Internet

by ABBY M. REYES

David Cannon Evans may not be the first, second, or even third household name one thinks of when considering celebrated communication innovations. As it turns out, Evans was a key player in helping pioneer what came to be known as the Internet. His work is deeply rooted in Salt Lake City’s very own backyard: the University of Utah.

Evans was born February 24, 1924, in Salt Lake City to David W. and Beatrice C. Evans. (Jensen, 1996) His father was the leader of an advertising firm and his family was described to have had generations of involvement in the newspaper business. (Jensen, Evans, Box 104, Folder 35) Evans married Beverley “Joy” Frewin in 1947 and together they had seven children: Anne, Peter, Gayle, Katherine, David F., Douglas, and Susan. (Jensen, Markoff) Shortly after his marriage, Evans graduated from the University of Utah in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. (Jensen, 1996) He later received his doctorate in the same field from the university in 1953. (Jensen, 1996) That year, Evans was hired as a senior physicist and engineering director for Bendix Corporation, where he would spend the next several years. (Evans, Box 1, Folder 2) In just a few years, Evans would engage in government work and academic research that would mark him as a significant contributor to Utah communication history.

As a military defense response to the 1957 Sputnik satellite launched by the Soviet Union, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed a task force of the U.S. Department of Defense named Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), sometimes referred to as DARPA by adding “Defense” at the beginning. (Harvey, 2009) DARPA conducted scientific research in the field of computing and one of its branches, the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), had been specifically responsible for federally funding these projects. (Harvey, 2009) By 1966, a federally funded ARPA network, nicknamed ARPANET, had been conceived to focus on the skill sets of four U.S. Universities. (Harvey, Hauben) Salt Lake Tribune journalist Tom Harvey wrote an extensive article in December 2009 reporting on the history of the Internet. He described ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, as being “a network that would turn computers into communication devices, not just data crunchers.”

Harvey described this network in retrospect but the IPTO ostensibly noticed interesting productions also taking place from within ARPANET. Of particular interest would be the development of electronic communication spaces computer scientists had created — these could be described as the equivalent to early versions of email and chat rooms. However, this early form of electronic communication had been restricted to use on just one computer. (Evans, Box 5) This is why the concept of “time-sharing” was especially relevant. Time-sharing was the idea that electronic communication, such as email, could be extended for use on more than just one computer at a time and was a point of interest for Evans’ early research. (Harvey, Evans, Box 5)

David Evans. Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

David Evans had a talent for communicating his ideas to graduate students, colleagues, and industry leaders. Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Evans joined the University of Utah as a faculty member in 1962, but he had taught previously at the University of California at Berkeley. (Markoff, Evans, Box 1, Folder 2) At Berkeley, Evans had engaged in early ARPA work but he needed support to effectively pursue his specific research interests. (Harvey, 2009) He was fortunate to have gained this support from Ivan Sutherland, a Harvard scholar and director of IPTO in 1964, who helped Evans gain federal funds to sustain ARPANET research. (Harvey, 2009) This was a notable feat, as it would establish a relationship and mark both men professionally as they eventually partnered to found Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation, a private computer research business in Salt Lake City. (Harvey, 2009) Evans would go on to juggle his professional commitments as a faculty researcher and business leader throughout his career.

Evans returned to Utah to found and chair the university’s first Computer Science Department housed within the College of Electrical Engineering in 1966. (Harvey, Evans, Box 1, Folder 2) In December 1969, the department had connected to ARPANET as the fourth and final “node” of the original research network before it later expanded to other parts of the country. (Harvey, ARPANET) It was the only “node” uniquely situated outside of the state of California. The other three claimed their spots at University of California at Los Angeles, University of California at Santa Barbara, and Stanford Research Institute. (Harvey, ARPANET)

Each of the institutions housing the four “nodes” had a particular focus or distinguished branch of the ARPA research. The California schools were selected to study the following respectively: network measurement center (UCLA), network information center (SRI), and Culler-Fried interactive mathematics (UCSB). (Hauben, 2006) The University of Utah’s initial responsibility was to study computer graphics through the network, specifically a technique known as “hidden line removal” — a fitting match to Evans’ expertise and assumable passion for visuals and virtual memory. (Hauben, Markoff)

It appears that Evans was a highly organized scholar and that he established clear research goals for his work. He also had a talent for communicating his ideas with different groups of people. These specific and technical goals can be summarized and condensed into one phrase that Evans included in several of his abstracts, speeches, lectures, and manuscripts — he simply aimed for “improving communication” between machines and people. (Evans, Box 5, Folder 17) Evans presumably strived to allocate more creative control to humans when communicating with machines. He worked on displaying pictures on a computer screen, hence, potentially communicating unique messages depending on the creator and layout. In a 1966 speech to audience members of an educational symposium, Evans referred to John Von Neumann, a 1940s-era computer scholar, and pointed out that efforts for “extending the human intellect” were unsuccessful and should not necessarily be finite but rather a “working partnership” between computers and people could, and potentially should, be improved. (Evans, Box 5, Folder 17)

In addition to large audiences of professionals and academics, it can be said Evans also attracted a loyal group of students benefiting from his mentorship. The same year Utah joined the ARPA network in 1969, John E. Warnock, an engineering student, wrote a technical report on computer image research that was being conducted. In a section near the beginning of the report, before becoming heavily saturated with technical details, the young student dedicated a few sentences to warmly express gratitude for his mentors and supporters, including Dr. Evans. “The many hours [they] have spent with me in discussion have provided the intellectual stimulus required to carry on this research,” Warnock proclaimed. (Evans, Box 89, Folder 7)

Notably, a few of Evans’ graduate students went on to establish successful careers in computer science. They include: John E. Warnock, cofounder of Adobe Systems Corporations Inc. and incidentally the name for one of the two engineering buildings residing on the University of Utah campus; Edwin Catmull, cofounder of Pixar Animation Studios; Alan Ashton, cofounder of the WordPerfect Corporation; and Alan Kay, once a scientist at the Walt Disney Corporation. (Markoff, 1998)

Evans evidently impacted his students and colleagues in the world of academia but it is possible he influenced other industries outside of his field and area of expertise as well. He had captured the attention of business and communication industries outside of computer science and they wanted to speak with Evans about his work. On February 12, 1971, Evans composed a letter of advice to the operations research manager of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in which he related certain aspects of his research in computer graphics as being useful for the automated production of a newspaper such as theirs. He explained how special computer-graphics equipment might make for a more efficient production process as well as give a person more creative control in the layout of the paper, including visuals such as advertisements. (Evans, Box 104, Folder 35) This letter, found in an unremarkable grey box within the Special Collections department of the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott library, could serve as evidence of Evans’ impact on communication history outside of his field. This begs the question as to whether any other industries experienced ripple effects of his ideas and knowledge, and, if so, what were they?

Is it possible that ARPANET researchers could have imagined that their rapidly growing work would stretch beyond their labs to help shape a fluid platform for today’s vast Internet uses? What started out as a secured U.S. Defense project continues to morph into a public resource and medium of discourse for living in the 21st century. Although not everyone is on the Internet and its uses vary, Evans’ early notions of creative manipulation of machines reveals itself in blogs, websites, research, news, and other online communication taking place at every moment of every day.

On October 3, 1998, Evans lost his life at the age of 74 to Alzheimer’s disease — a disease known for potentially consuming a person’s memory, whereas Evans spent his entire professional career studying that of computers. (Markoff, 1998) He was survived by his wife, Joy, and seven children at the time of his death. (Markoff, 1998)

Certainly, Evans could be remembered as a man ahead of his time. It is fair to say he was a visionary, an idealist with heightened intelligence and the acquired skills of an experienced communicator. Essentially, he was an important Utah figure in Internet history who had experimented with language and communication in the form of pictures and computers — a legacy that remains relevant today.

Abby M. Reyes is a senior at the University of Utah. She will complete her Bachelor of Science Honors degree in May 2015 having majored in communication studies and minored in health.

Sources

David C. Evans (1969). Graphical man/machine communications: November 1969 AD708483. University of Utah, National Technical Information Service.

David C. Evans papers, Ms 625, Box 1: Personal Correspondences (1969-1982); folder 2: March, 1973—April, 1974, Special Collections and Archives University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

David C. Evans papers, Ms 625, Box 5: University of Utah and Speeches; folder 1-5: University of Utah, Correspondence (1967-1987), Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

David C. Evans papers, Ms 625, Box 5: University of Utah and Speeches; folder 17-28: Speeches and Lectures (1966-1985), Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

David C. Evans papers, Ms 625, Box 89: United States Government; folder 2: Department of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency, Correspondence (1970-1977), Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

David C. Evans papers, Ms 625, Box 89: United States Government; folder 3: Department of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency, Proposal and Draft (1976), Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

David C. Evans papers, Ms 625, Box 89: United States Government; folder 7-8: Department of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency (1969), Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

David C. Evans papers, Ms 625, Box 104: Affiliated Companies and Customers; folder 35: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (1971), Special Collections and Archives, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The David C. Evans Papers, P0452, Box 1, Manuscripts Division, Special Collections, University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Harvey, Tom, “U. of U. helped give birth to Internet,” The Salt Lake Tribune, December 19, 2009.

Hauben, Michael and R. Hauben. “Behind the Net: The Untold History of the ARPANET and Computer Science,” Chapter 7, Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet (2006).

Jensen, Mark. “Inventory of the David C. Evans papers, 1958-1987,” Northwest Digital Archive (NWDA) (1996).

Markoff, John. “David Evans, Pioneer in Computer Graphics, Dies at 74,” The New York Times, October 12, 1998.

The ARPANET Project,” ARPANET collection, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.