Culture Clash and Accommodation
Frederick S. Buchanan

Chapter 3
“Home Ability for Home Affairs”
The Administration of D. H. Christensen, 1901-16

[p.57]In spite of the struggle between Mormons and non-Mormons, the school district was not made moribund. The city was becoming an economic center of the Mountain West, and with economic growth came population expansion and the enlargement of the school system. The public high school became more a necessity as industry left fewer and fewer jobs for a young work force.

By the end of Christensen’s tenure, the two schools that would eventually evolve into two West and East High Schools competed with the private Mormon high school. The public high schools reflected the national concern that some students be prepared for college and others for various “probable destinies.” Although considerable energy was put into manual and industrial education, by 1917 Salt Lake lagged behind similar cities in vocational course enrollment. Apparently, among the students at least, the manual arts and domestic science classes were perceived as rounding out one’s life rather than as preparation for the world of work.

In 1913 the National Educational Association chose Salt Lake City as the site of its annual convention, a concrete example of the way in which the city’s schools were regarded as “regular American” institutions. The visit of Dr. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskeegee Institute in Alabama reinforced the perception that Salt Lake was a progressive educational city Washington saw great affinity between the histories of African-Americans and Mormons, and his focus on vocational education, reflecting national concerns for a trained work force, dove-tailed into the Mormon penchant for practicality

[photo: p.58]

D. H. Christensen

D. H. Christensen, 1901-16

Other national concerns shaped the programs of the city’s schools. The [p.59]perennial “back to basics” movement belied the common perception that schools were student-centered, activity-oriented, “embryonic communities” of John Dewey’s making. Some of this found its way into the Salt Lake schools, but the main focus was still upon teacher-centered, subject-oriented institutions securely insulated from any real concern with the larger world—except perhaps, as they reflected an overweening concern for efficient, scientific management.

In spite of talk about Mormon accommodation to secular society in this period, as late as 1916 there were still considerable degrees of political, social, and cultural tensions. While the Mormon accepted the public schools in a manner unthought of two decades before, they were still anxious to be in full control of their children’s schooling. They wanted schools to reflect Mormon culture, if not in teaching religion then certainly in making sure that teachers and administrators upheld Mormon values. Just as strongly, gentiles made sure public schools were independent of the control of the Mormon church.

Policy Follows Election Returnsome

During the election campaign of 1898, the Mormons, who had come out on the losing end, warned that future elections would be fought on a clear Mormon/ non-Mormon basis. Non-partisan pleas were expressed during the election of 1900, but as in the past, these never went much beyond rhetoric. In the same issue of the Deseret News that announced the formation of a nominating committee for “non-partisan” school elections, the editor challenged the old notion that the Church interfered in school politics. When non-Mormon “sectarian religionists” spoke out on issues, according to the editorial, they were not regarded by the non-Mormons as exercising religious interference: “[B]ut let an active ‘Mormon’ engage in a similar task and the air is rent with cries of horror, and the prejudices of non-‘Mormons’ are worked upon, and the screws are applied and the lash is [unleashed], until weak people are terrorized and made to believe that something awful is going to happen if they support a ‘Mormon’ candidate [for] any office.”1 Denying that the Mormons wanted to promote sectarian division, the News warned antagonists that should such division occur “it would not be to their profit, they may rest assured.” The latter reference seems to say that when, eventually, the Mormons would become a deciding factor on the board, they would promote their own interests in spite of opposition. The editorial concluded that the issue of “home ability” should be given a “free chance” in the upcoming election.2

Three precincts during the 1900 election saw very little controversy, partly because they were safe seats for the incumbents: the Second and Third were safe for the Mormons and the Fifth for the gentiles. However, in the First Precinct, which over the years had increased its Mormon vote, the nominating committee pitted the incumbent, Democrat non-Mormon E. W. Wilson (who was also chairman of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party), against Republican Mormon and [p.60]bishop’s counsellor L. Frank Branting, whose nomination was seconded by Mormon educator J. H. Paul. Paul believed that Wilson had been responsible for sabotaging Paul’s appointment as superintendent the previous year.

In the Fourth Precinct, Mormons launched a different strategy to defeat incumbent H. P. Henderson, a gentile, Presbyterian, Free Mason. Joseph Geoghegan, a successful Irish Catholic businessman, the father of eleven children who enjoyed good relations with his Mormon neighbors, was nominated by the “nonpartisans” to oppose Henderson. Geoghegan said he was induced into running “as a protest against narrow-mindedness and bigotry” which had led to Mormons and Catholics being denied positions in the schools because of their religious orientation, a rationale denounced by the Herald as a smoke screen for “the active agency [i.e., the Mormon church] at work to secure [Geoghegan’s] election.”3 He was viewed as a “church” candidate, even though he was a practicing Roman Catholic. Rumors surfaced that Father Dennis Kiely, the Vicar General of the Salt Lake Diocese, was making a house-to-house canvass of Catholics in order to ensure defeat for Henderson and that he knew of specific instances in which Catholics had been denied positions because of their religion. Kiely denied both reports, although he did say that he believed that both Mormons and Catholics were discriminated against in the schools. The Herald quoted the Vicar General as saying, “It was not the Catholics who nominated Mr. Geoghegan, but the Mormons.”4

Some Mormons, however, countered the reports that Geoghegan was the “official” candidate of the Mormon church. Brigham S. Young (Brigham Young’s grandson), who was then serving with Henderson as a representative of the Fourth Precinct, stated his unequivocal support of Henderson and vehemently denied that religious discrimination played a part in the selection of teachers. A letter to the Herald from another Mormon who planned to vote for Henderson also denied that the election in the Fourth Precinct was actually a Mormon/non-Mormon contest. In the inflammatory rhetoric of turn of the century politics in Salt Lake City this was not likely to persuade many voters. Both sides were already convinced that the election was a clear-cut competition between Mormons and their sympathizers and the anti-Mormon element in the city.

On election day the Deseret News’s front page headlines claimed that of twenty-six teacher applicants from the University of Utah, only seven had been hired by the Board of Education. The article lauded Oscar Moyle’s long-time policy to increase the proportion of Utah-trained teachers in the city’s schools. Conversely, the News charged that E. W. Wilson consistently opposed the hiring of Utah teachers.5 The message to people in the First Precinct was clear: to increase the number of local teachers, Wilson should be replaced by Branting.

Admonishing their readers to “Re-elect the Old Board” (made up of six [p.61]non-Mormons and four Mormons) the anti-Mormon Herald praised board members for their commitment to good education and asserted that the schools would benefit if they were all returned. Geoghegan’s candidacy was based on an “airy, unsubstantial fabric of discrimination against Catholics”; they were surprised that a man as “far-sighted and keen-witted” as he would allow himself to be so used. The main issue in the school elections was, for the Herald, the domination of politics by the Mormon church. This domination was clearly evident in the Mormon’s success in making Utah, normally Democratic, Republican at the last general election. At that time the Church, it was claimed, had influenced the state vote, turning it from supporting Bryan to giving its electoral votes to McKinley by a small margin.6

To back up its contention, the Herald published accounts of LDS bishops urging their flocks to vote for Branting and claimed that a flyer had been distributed at a Mormon Mutual Improvement Association meeting in the LDS Second Ward publicizing Branting’s candidacy on the Sunday before the election. While such activities were not beyond the pale of probability, in this instance the flyer was actually one announcing Professor Evan Stephen’s annual Christmas concert and offering a prize of $20 to the Sunday School class which had most members in attendance at the concert. Given the charged atmosphere it was easy, however, for contestants to read ulterior motives into every move.7

On 5 December, a rather light turnout of voters (only one twelfth of the electorate) led to both non-Mormon incumbents being defeated by considerable margins. For the first time in the history of the board the non-Mormon majority was clearly waning. Although the Mormons did not have an absolute majority in this election, they did achieve parity through the concerted efforts made to replace Wilson with Mormon Branting. If Catholic Geoghegan was elected, as appears to have been the case, by “churchmen,” then the Mormon vote on the board could be considered 6–4.8 The Mormons now had a block they could use, if they wished, to promote their own agenda, especially if the non-Mormons ever split on an issue.

Friction between Mormons and gentiles was no where near an end. One of many instances following the election came at a board discussion about the naming of a new school (later named Lafayette) at the board meeting of 7 May 1901 when Cooper’s resignation was accepted. A number of names were discussed by the board Utah educators such as John Park and Karl Maeser ‘among them. When the name of “Kimball” was suggested, board member Critchlow asked which Kimball was meant. When told Heber C. Kimball (Brigham Young’s counsellor) who had owned the land on which the school stood, Critchlow snorted: “Oh! What in [hell?] did he ever do for education?”9

“Home Talent” at Last

[p.62]The Herald accurately complained that the election of 1900 was a victory for those “demanding the employment of more Utah and home-educated teachers.” This focus on hiring local teachers coincided with the claim that Cooper’s vacated superintendency should go to a competent local person—i.e., a Mormon. Some thirteen persons from across the country applied for the position, but as the Herald noted in its headline of 8 May 1901: “No Utah Man Applies.”10 However, a telegram dispatched by Oscar Moyle to D. H. Christensen in Chicago produced a “Utah Man” in very short order.

David Henry Christensen was born in Manti, Utah, in 1869, the son of Danish immigrants. In 1870 his father, Herman J. Christensen, was excommunicated from the LDS church for “selling goods in Manti in opposition to counsel” and consequently young “D. H.” attended the Presbyterian Mission School in Manti until the age of twelve. His earliest ambition was to prepare for the Presbyterian ministry, influenced to some degree by his Scottish teacher, Mrs. McMillan, wife of the Rev. Joseph S. McMillan. When he was fourteen he affiliated himself with the LDS faith, but throughout his life he paid tribute to the influence his Presbyterian Mission School experience had on his educational development.

In 1887 Christensen entered the Normal Course at the University of Deseret, graduating in 1890 as a teacher. He later received a BA after the institution became the University of Utah. In 1890 he received an appointment at the age of 21 to be principal and teacher in Payson’s schools, a position he held concurrently with the superintendency of the Utah County School District from 1893 to 1897. For approximately a year he also served as a member of the Utah State board of education prior to serving a mission in Germany for the LDS church.

While in Europe he intended to study the educational system of Germany and make comparisons between the American and German schools. Accordingly, at the conclusion of his mission he enrolled at the University of Goettingen, where he attained a “creditable record” in the study of psychology, anatomy, physics and “Ueber das Gedachtnis” (thought processes) between October 1900 and March 1901. In the spring of 1901 he decided to return with his wife Catherine and children to the United States where he immediately made plans to enter the University of Chicago’s Ph.D. program in education. While preparing to take the Chicago entrance examination he received Moyle’s invitation to accept the superintendency of the Salt Lake City schools.

Christensen travelled to Salt Lake to be interviewed by the board, which questioned him cordially but carefully about his “experience and scholastic training.” Recounting the event, Christensen felt that his recently completed mission “was not a contributing factor in my favor.” Much to his astonishment, however, the board elected him to the superintendency by a vote of 7 to 2. All of the Mormons on the board voted for Christensen, joined surprisingly by two Free Ma-[p.63]sons: Simon Bamberger and Matthew H. Walker. Perhaps the fact that he had been educated in a Presbyterian school, had studied pedagogy at Goettingen, and had an excellent record as a teacher and administrator in Utah County schools, made non-Mormon board members less wary of Christensen’s religious affiliation. The board of education on 2 July 1901 made his election unanimous and offered him a salary of $2,800 per year. At age 32 he became the first member of the LDS church to hold the superintendency. He served a year of the unexpired term of Frank Cooper and was subsequently elected to seven two-year terms, ending his tenure in 1916.11 The Mormons saw his selection as vindicating “home ability for home affairs.”12

Schools in the Context of Culture and Politics

If J. F. Millspaugh in the 1890s laid the foundation for a modern school system in Salt Lake City, D. H. Christensen built the walls and put on the roof. The history of city school systems since the early decades of the twentieth century has, in the words of David Tyack, “been in large part an unfolding of the organizational consequences of centralization.”13 Christensen and the men and women he appointed to work with him played a major role in the unfolding process as it took place in Salt Lake City in the early years of the twentieth century.

The more society changed from a simple, personalized organization to a complex, depersonalized entity, the more public schools changed and responded to the demands placed upon them. The school in the twentieth century began more and more to assume some functions traditionally placed upon the family, the small community, and the church. These institutions had always played a dominant role in social control. The expectation that schools should play a similar role increased rapidly as the other institutions declined in importance. During the early decades of the twentieth century, school and society became inextricably joined to each other under the banner of “Progressive Education” as more than ever society viewed schools as the “balance wheel of the social mechanism” Horace Mann had envisioned in the 1840s.

In this atmosphere of progress, Utah was integrating into the national political and economic scene. Accommodationism, a survival strategy, came to pervade all aspects of life in the “Beehive State,” although there was never a complete disavowal of Mormon values and practices. Consequently, the political, cultural, and religious tensions of the 1890s, although sometimes muted and submerged, certainly did not entirely dissolve. The city might now have a com-[p.64]petent Mormon superintendent, but the old antagonisms persisted, including the supposedly non-partisan contests for the board of education. D. H. Christensen fell heir to this community divisiveness. It is something of a tribute to his political skills that he stayed at the helm for as long as he did. Eventually, much tension eased and the overt Mormon/gentile conflict was muted (at least in public debate) towards the end of his tenure.

A major symbol of Christensen’s success in building an effective school program was the decision of the National Education Association to hold its annual convention in Salt Lake City in 1913. D. H. Christensen played a major role in Salt Lake’s selection and he must have felt honored when thousands of educators converged on Salt Lake to celebrate the Fourth of July and to honor public schools’ roles in building America—and Utah.

Welcoming the assembly, Governor William Spry touted the fact that in 1913-14, Utah had used 86 percent of its tax revenues in support of education—a figure so “astounding” that he had it double checked for accuracy This had led to an even more astounding figure: 88.1 percent of the state’s revenue was actually earmarked for education. The other welcome address came from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, A. C. Nelson. He illustrated the city’s “cosmopolitanism,” with the fact that the city’s teachers came from more than one half of the states. The cordial atmosphere even invited jokes about delegates swimming in the Great Salt Lake, where “you will have all your sins washed away and become fit subjects to dwell in Zion—if you repent.” The editor of the Journal of Education, A. E. Winship, praised Utah for not only entering the educational mainstream, but for being leaders of educational progress. This stood out in stark contrast to Winship’s criticism in 1886 that the Mormons had a stranglehold on educational progress in Utah.14

Before such accolades resounded at the NEA convention, however, Salt Lake City’s schools had remained the battleground for a continuation of the protracted struggle over control of the public schools. Indeed, as part of the NEA meeting in Salt Lake, Sunday, 5 July, had been declared Educational Sunday, the sermons preached throughout the city still echoing past disputes. One given at Immanuel Baptist Church was entitled: “The Two Bulwarks of Liberty: The Free Church and the Free School.” At the Congregational Church, the Reverend Elmer Goshen, an ardent critic D. H. Christensen and of Mormonism in general, preached on “The Cost of Liberty” The city’s schools may have been showcases for pragmatic pedagogy at the NEA convention of 1913, but the years leading up to it were characterized by political confrontations between Mormons and gentiles.

Politics kept entering the picture partially because some groups did not believe that Mormons had really given up the practice of plural marriage as promised in the Manifesto of 1890; nor had they, it was widely held, given up their [p.65]control over almost all aspects of life in Utah. Local Protestant ministers stopped Democrat B. H. Roberts from being seated in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1898 because he was a polygamist. Similar objections were raised about seating Republican Reed Smoot in the U.S. Senate in 1903. There ensued a three year investigation of Smoot’s suitability for membership in the Senate because he was member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and belonged to a church that embraced polygamy theologically even as it disavowed the practice. In Smoot’s case, however, the Senate ultimately voted to accept him.15

These non-educational circumstances were reflected in the schools when the new American Party appeared on the Utah scene. This party consisted of a “coalition of anti-Mormon ministers, businessmen and professional people” who questioned the loyalty of the LDS people and the legitimacy of the church’s claims to having given up plural marriage. In 1904, the anti-Mormon American Party elected its first candidate when Joseph Oberndorfer, a Free Mason in the Fifth Civic Ward, defeated Dr. Gilbert Pfoutz, a fellow Free Mason but also a “non-partisan” candidate, perceived as under the thumb of the Mormon hierarchy Obern-dorfer had only a plurality of 62 in the 1904 board election, but in 1905 the American party elected the mayor and six of the city’s councilmen. As might have been expected, the dominant theme of the election campaign was that the LDS church controlled the city’s politics. In 1907 the American Party once again gained control of the city by electing a former Democrat as mayor over the attempts of both Democrat and Republican parties to forestall further American party gains. In spite of a large Mormon voting bloc among the Salt Lake City electorate, the American Party exploited the fact that the Mormon vote was split between Democrat and Republican candidates. Their ability to raise the specter of church domination worked in their favor for a number of elections. Nevertheless, when the city adopted a commission form of government and elections became (supposedly) non-partisan, they lost their electoral advantage.16

In spite of considerable American Party success in the municipal elections and although they ran complete tickets against the much criticized non-partisan ticket, the Americans never elected any more than one or two of their candidates to the school board. Ironically, the reputedly non-partisan Mormons increased their numbers on the board, finding an ally in the Catholic Church’s Intermountain Catholic, which denied the Americans’ assertion that the Mormon church controlled the schools. According to the Catholic newspaper, “there are a good many more Gentiles than Mormons teaching in our public schools.” The opposition to the Mormon influence in Salt Lake City’s public schools, according to the Intermountain Catholic, was based on secular prejudice against religion: simply having a majority in Salt Lake City did not necessarily mean the schools were, as [p.66]charged, sectarian. Some Protestant teachers were using their position to debase the Catholic religion in the eyes of Catholic children.17

In the election of December 1906, the Tribune inveighed against the “agencies of a corrupt, lecherous, criminal priesthood” and called for an American victory on the school board.18 Numerous cartoons on the front page of the Tribune during this election attacked reputed LDS influence: lecherous looking board members asked a trim young teacher: “Are you prejudiced against polygamy?”; a spindly Joseph E Smith hurtled a bowling ball of a “non-partisan ticket” down an alley toward the ten pins (the board) saying “I think I’ll make a strike this time.”19 The non-partisans listed at the primary conventions, the Tribune claimed, “read very much like the roster of a ward priesthood meeting.” It warned its readers that if the Mormons gained control of the school board, LDS Religion Education Classes (then a part of many public schools in Utah’s rural areas) would be introduced in Salt Lake. It trusted the “enlightened public of Salt Lake” to see through the “malevolent hypocrisy” of the non-partisan ticket and sweep them all from office.20

Opponents of the non-partisan approach may have over-reached themselves and created something of a backlash: the election results were reported by the Herald as victory for the non-partisans, while the Tribune somberly announced that “Mormon Church Controls Schools”—”Six Members of Board Will be Mormon Elders.” Including Professor Byron Cummings of the University of Utah, considered a “Jack Mormon” supporter, the Mormon majority on the board could be viewed as 7, while the non-Mormons had 3, two of whom were Free Masons. In the Tribune’s view the landslide was “attributed to Gentile apathy and to Mormon activity. Every Mormon bishop in Salt Lake, and practically every block teacher, were at work for the non-partisan ticket.”21 The Mormon-supported ticket even overcame the American majority in the First and Second Wards, giving the Mormons their first majority since the public schools were established in 1890. The Mormon bowling ball may not have commanded a “strike,” but it had produced something of a “spare” perhaps; the 6-4 status persisted through most of D. H. Christensen’s tenure as superintendent.

So too did the Tribune’s attacks on the Mormon-dominated board. In 1908 the paper expressed keen disappointment that the “fraudulent, ‘non-partisan’ sectarians will retain control of the schools as heretofore, in the interests of the Mormon Church.” Unfortunately, the editorial complained, the majority voting in a very light election were willing to have “Mormon partisanship and Mormon sectarianism in charge of public schools. And as long as they wish it so, there is nothing more to say. But some day the public is liable to have a rude awakening, when it is too late.” In this particular election four Mormons were elected, and [p.67]the composition of the board continued with 6 Mormons and 4 non-Mormons (2 of whom were Masons). The Deseret News saw the results as a clear statement that the schools “shall remain without the pale of party politics.” The Intermountain Republican interpreted the election as repudiating the American party, which it termed “professional agitators exploiting their people with the unworthy gospel of hate, for their own selfish ends.” The election had left the Americans where they should be: “standing humiliated and alone,” and the newspaper hoped for an end to the use of religion as a determinant of worthiness to serve the community as a member of the board of education.22

Once again, cartoons derided the Mormon leadership for interfering in the schools: in the Tribune of 30 November 1908, a gargantuan Joseph F. Smith, portrayed as the school board, had his hand firmly wrapped around a public school and was saying: “We must continue to have a ‘non-partisan’ board.” In spite of vigorous warnings about Mormon dominance in the face of American control of the mayor and city council, the American party failed to gain a majority on the school board. Mormons, when not split by party affiliation, were still the largest group of school patrons. In reality, Mormons themselves were divided along a continuum of liberal to conservative (as were the gentiles) and coalitions were as likely to be formed as much on the basis of political as on religious ideology. Also, apparently many people were apathetic and simply did not get exercised over the issue of Mormon control of schools. The significant degree of apathy during board elections may simply mean that the schools were satisfactory to most patrons.

Masons and Mormons:  A Reprise of the 1890s

Notwithstanding the rhetoric about Mormon control of Utah politics and education, the early decades of the twentieth century witnessed a concerted effort on the part of Mormon leaders to minimize institutional interference in local affairs. This may explain why Salt Lake City public schools did not pray at the beginning of the school day, although this was a common practice in many county schools; nor was there any reading from the Bible. Although the Mormon church adopted its released time seminary program in 1912, this program did not become an accepted part of the Salt Lake City schools until the early 1940s. Obviously, Mormon influence did have some boundaries within which it had to operate.23 In school affairs, for example, the church’s power was effectively checkmated by the existence of a vocal non-Mormon minority with deep economic and social roots in the community—the Free Masons. One of the most co-[p.68]hesive groups outside the Mormon church itself, the Masons felt morally obliged to counter the Mormon majority. In the 1890s the Free Masons had made up one third of all persons elected to the board, and in the first two decades of the twentieth century they continued to play a major role.

During D. H. Christensen’s years as superintendent, almost fifty percent of the school board belonged to the Salt Lake City Masonic Lodge. Members of the Masonic fraternity also represented mining, banking, mercantile and other business interests—groups that have traditionally dominated school boards throughout the United States. While tension had existed between Mormons and Masons in Utah for years, the persistence of Masons on the board of education was less an expression of anti-Mormon sentiment than an expression that the public schools should be secular. Because of this commitment, from 1890 to the 1960s there was at least one Mason (and usually more) on the board.24

The Masons were a persistent reminder that if Mormons were to participate in the emerging pluralistic culture of Utah, they would have to accommodate the values of corporate America. Their support of public schools and their willingness to work with Masons and other non-Mormons indicates that they were able to do this. The success of the schools implies that there must have been considerable mutual respect between the two groups.

While various charges over school politics and religious influence filled the Salt Lake papers in the early twentieth century, it appears that both sides were making a point of principle: on the part of the Mormons that community schools should not be directly antagonistic to Mormon culture, and on the part of non-Mormons that the separation of church and state should be strictly observed. Other than these values, the public schools seemed to have been little influenced by the controversies which captured the headlines between 1900 and 1916. Nor is there evidence that D. H. Christensen became involved in controversial elections campaigns. He instead focused on meeting the needs of the burgeoning population in a new industrial era. A “scientific” administrator, he tried to transcend partisan politics. Realistically, of course, anyone in a position of shaping and implementing public policies can never be fully detached. Although neither board members nor Christensen left any personal account of the election campaigns during his administration, one intriguing personal note has survived. In it a former board member, Professor Byron Cummings of the University of Utah, wrote to Christensen from Germany congratulating Christensen and the board on making progress in the schools. He added that he was also aware of “some of the things you have to nag at and annoy you still; and I hope the Good Lord will some day in the near future be sufficiently merciful to you to relieve you of some of your sehr hochgeboren, hochgeehrten Mannes [high born, highly respected men]. For the sake of the boys and girls of Salt Lake, I hope that may come before the fine new $500,000 high school on the east bench is occu-[p.69]pied.”25 Cummings may have referred to Christensen’s conflicts in 1911 with board members McMullen and Sullivan, who openly criticized some of his decisions. However, his prayer for relief from the “snob” element was not answered during Christensen’s tenure.

“The Mormonizing Process” Challenged

In spite of testimonies to the lack of direct Mormon church involvement in the schools, the active presence of such a group made it inevitable that religious bias would be read into almost any action. For example, around 1911–12 D. H. Christensen persuaded the board to fire his Supervisor of Primary Schools, Rosalie Pollock, whom he considered incompetent for the position. Pollock gave the Tribune a statement claiming she had been released because of pressure from the “mysterious influence” (i.e., the Mormon church). Her complaint was followed by an editorial claiming the case was an instance of “sectarian management of the public schools.” It also accepted Pollock’s contention that the six votes cast against her reflected the Mormon alignment on the board.

An indignant Christensen drafted a denial that the board originated the movement to dismiss Pollock, claiming that responsibility for himself. He explained that his decision was based on the reports of teachers and principals who had expressed no confidence in Pollock. Christensen asserted that he had never on any occasion “been approached either directly or indirectly by any person representing any sect or other organization as to my official or personal duty towards such sect or organization or towards any of its members.” Nor, he added, had he ever sought, hinted at, or even desired such advice.26 Pollock was replaced as Supervisor of the Primary Grades by Lizbeth Qualtrough, a non-Mormon educator who had come to Salt Lake in 1890 as one of Millspaugh’s competent corps.

Of course, given the fact that many teachers were Mormon, that the board did have a Mormon majority, and that most students were the children of Mormon parents, there was a “Mormon influence” in the schools. However, the extent to which this pervasive cultural influence shaped policies is difficult to ascertain with any degree of precision. One charge levelled often was that Mormons had influence via the curriculum. In 1909 the Tribune reviewed Apostle Orson E Whitney’s history text The Making of a State, then used in the city’s schools. The text, approved by the “Mormon ‘non-partisan'” board of education, [p.70]was viewed as a “pretty raw piece of business.” Whitney, according to the Tribune, ignored the Mormon leadership’s failure to abandon polygamy after publicly disavowing the practice. Consequently the paper characterized the book as “[i]ngenious, evasive, smooth and plausible. But utterly ignoring the core of the whole matter.” The text proved that Mormons were foisting apologetic and sectarian interpretations of historical events on the public schools. Ironically, the State Textbook Commission took Superintendent Christensen to task four years later for his own negative evaluation of the same text.27

Another instance of supposed Mormon domination occurred in 1911 when “D. H.” appointed a “ruralite” from Utah County, George N. Child, as the supervisor of Salt Lake’s grammar schools. According to the Tribune, Child succeeded the late John S. Welch—”an educator of national reputation”—solely because Christensen wanted a Mormon in the position. Christensen had allegedly passed over Salt Lake principals and hurried the appointment through before any opposition could develop. For the Tribune such instances resulted from “packing … the school board with six Mormons, out of a total of ten members, when the Mormons are in fact a minority in the voting population of this city” This “imposition upon the non-Mormons and upon the schools themselves” led to graft and covering up attempts to investigate such activities. Inquiries had been “hushed up on account of sectarian influence,” claimed the Tribune. If this “Mormonizing process” persisted, the Tribune predicted, voters would rise up and “sweep the whole sectarian gang out of power.”28 Of course, Christensen denied that he had made the appointment on other than educational grounds.

While Superintendent Christensen seemed to have been rather even handed in his appointment of assistants, given the large number of Mormons in the state’s normal schools, it would have been something of a miracle if local Mormon influence had not been felt. When Ellwood P. Cubberley examined the city’s schools at the end of the Christensen era he not only found too few teachers, but too many who were inexperienced and were from the “immediate neighborhoods, and with purely local outlook and training.” In spite of efforts to increase the amount of tax money available for schools, teacher salaries were not enough to attract “the better class of young people” to the profession. This may explain why only local people were being attracted to Salt Lake in 1914 in contrast to trained professionals from other parts of the country, who had flocked to the city in the 1890s. To remedy the situation, Cubberley and his associates recommended that one hundred new teachers should be added to the district and the salaries should be increased by some forty percent.29

“Estimate of Teachers”

[p.71]If no rigorous system of teacher evaluation was in place in the early years of the twentieth century, neither was evaluation entirely random. Principals and supervisors reported their opinions regularly and on this basis raises or decreases in pay were made. For example, at Riverside School in 1900, Charine P Moffet was evaluated as “Industrious, judicious, talented, Remarkable improvement. Recommend increase in salary.” The following year she received the increase, going from $40 per month to $45. On the other hand, one of her colleagues was evaluated only as a “Fair” teacher because of “lacking in force and judgement. Her manner is affected, not winning. There is a looseness in her teaching.” “No increase” was the terse comment added by M. A. Holton, the Primary Supervisor.

While most comments about teachers often fell into routine expressions of minimum praise, one noticeable exception was the evaluation process of Washington School’s Lizbeth Qualtrough. Her comments reveal a deep knowledge of her teachers and a keen sensitivity to the value of positive reinforcement. For Helen Burbank she wrote: “Think a raise would encourage [her] for she is trying.” Burbank’s monthly salary increased from $62.50 to $65.00. A. Z. Woodson had “grown wonderfully during year. Gets excellent results.” Her salary increased by $5.00. In fact, it appears all of Qualtrough’s teachers received increases. Of Retta Cassady she said, “[Her] services can not be paid for in money” Already getting $70 per month, the following year she received $2.50 more. In a letter to Frank Cooper she praised her teachers as “loyal, faithful, kindly workers” who had borne her shortcomings “patiently and kindly” Describing herself as having “thorns, self-opinionated and over emphatic,” she concluded that “when a body of teachers gets along with me without much friction, it speaks well for the teachers.”30

Cubberley and his associates never thought to discuss the obvious disparity between amounts earned by women teachers compared to men. A cursory examination of teacher rating sheets for this period indicates that female teachers received less than males and elementary teachers of both genders received less than their high school counterparts. According to official tables the average monthly male salary was $101.36 with women receiving an average of $69.62. While some of this difference may be accounted for by the fact that many men had more formal university training, most of it was simply gender discrimination, in spite of the fact that Utah’s legal code clearly stated that female teachers with the same level of training and doing the same work should receive the same compensation.31

During Christensen’s years the forms for evaluating teachers became more precise, requiring teachers to be ranked with points: Excellent=95–100; Very Good= 85–95; Good=75–85; Fair=65–75. Below 65 was considered Unsatisfactory. These “grades” were used to rank the teachers in terms of their knowledge [p.72]of subject matter, children, methods, discipline and application. These ratings give the impression that most teachers were in the Good to Excellent categories with only an occasional “F” or “U.” In 1902, principal David A. Nelson summed up his entire staff at Riverside School by writing across the bottom of the evaluation sheet: “These are the best lot of teachers I have ever known.” It was not all sweetness and light, of course: Principal J. O. Cross at Wasatch School evaluated one teacher as “G” and “VG” in all the required categories. However, at the bottom of the sheet he wrote that her “manner is unfortunate, in that she antagonizes pupils and patrons. More complaints come to me concerning her than any other teacher.” Needless to say she was recommended for “No increase,” as was another teacher who “lacks vigorous personality, and on this account is the weakest teacher in the Wasatch corps.”

D. H. Christensen kept close watch on teachers’ salaries, making notations in his personnel directory. As Christensen visited schools, which he often did, he could, for example, see at a glance that Rose Howard, typing teacher in Room 90 at West High, was receiving a salary of $700; the principal, L. M. Gillian, was receiving $3,000, while J. Leo Fairbanks, the art teacher, had a salary of $1,400. This personal involvement indicates that salaries were arrived at through personal negotiations with the superintendent. Alga Mills, seventh and eighth grade teacher at Whittier School, wrote Christensen in 1915 thanking him for the “influence exercised on my behalf” in securing her an increase in salary, awarded to her in the middle of the school year. When former acting-superintendent of Salt lake City schools, Adelaide Holton, asked him to favor the appointment of her niece as a teacher in 1913 she forthrightly requested: “Please give her $700 if possible, because she will be a college graduate.”32

“Substantial and Marked Growth”

In his first report as Superintendent, Christensen used a phrase that epitomizes the history of education in the twentieth century: “The past year has been one of substantial and marked growth, viewed from any viewpoint.”33 As the city grew, so too did the schools. The city’s population in 1890 was 44,843 and by 1900 it was 53,531, an increase of 20 percent. During this period the number of school children went from 6,368 to 12,979, an increase of 103 percent. By 1910 the city’s population had increased to 92,700; by 1930 to 140,267. The city’s school population stood at 27,168 in 1920. In addition to natural increase, other factors abetted the school explosion. Among them were enforcement of compulsory education laws; increased parental commitment; a broadened sense of curriculum designed for a diverse population; and the expansion of the common [p.73] schools into secondary education.34 During this period of sustained growth the public high school became a prominent feature of the educational skyline.

As discussed in Chapter Two, the Salt Lake High School was characterized by survival rather than aggressive development at the turn of the century. Visitors were puzzled by the incongruity of Salt lake City’s modern elementary school system compared to the high school, which was “relegated to the middle of a block, on an obscure alley, abutting the back doors of several noisy business concerns.” In “a blessing in disguise,” the district was released from the ten year lease on the Pierpoint Street property in September 1901 when a fire in the basement of the Oregon Short Line building worked its way into the high school floors. From Pierpoint Street, the high school moved to the old University of Deseret/ University of Utah building on Second West and First North.35 Inadequacies were still present, however; the lack of an assembly hall and laboratories required the board to rent the facilities of the Deseret Museum, a block away.

In spite of much rhetoric about the need for education, Salt Lake citizens were apparently not enthusiastic boosters of expanding the common schools to include the high school. As yet there was no constitutional provision for the public support of secondary schools. Also, the Latter-day Saint University offered a competing high school program. James Clark has estimated that at the turn of the century only eleven percent of Utah’s secondary school population attended non-Mormon denominational schools; 41 per cent attended public schools, and 48 percent attended private Mormon secondary schools. Salt lake City probably reflected a similar configuration. For example, in 1902-03 the public high school had 848 enrolled, while the LDS High School had 1231. In the 1907-08 school year, there were 1,225, while 1,384 were enrolled in the LDS High School.36 As noted earlier some Mormons, including Brigham Young’s sons, opposed expanding the public high school in 1897, citing the existence of a private LDS high school in the city As late as 1915 the president of the LDS church, Joseph F. Smith, criticized the increased taxation for the high school’s expansion. At the church’s October Conference he said, “I believe we are running education mad.” At the same time, however, another Mormon leader, Anthony Lund, enthusiastically favored expanding the high schools. Pluralism had come to Zion. The waxing and waning of support probably had as much to do with personal dispositions and local economic conditions as it had with a particular religious or political ideological stance.37

With or without community boosters, however, population pressures shaped educational policies, and in September 1903 the Salt lake High School established a branch known as the “East Side High School” at the Bryant School. [p.74]With 150 students and six teachers, the curriculum was limited to first-year high school work; students finished their program at what was referred to for convenience as the “West Side High School.” In 1904, the principal of the East Side High School, W. J. McCoy, promoted the establishment of a separate high school to serve the needs of students east of Main Street, warning that parents would send their children to “other institutions,” probably referring to the LDS High School (also known as the Latter-day Saint University).38

George Eaton, principal of the Salt Lake High School initially supported the idea of a branch on the east bench, but later argued against it. His rationale included a lack of continuity between the two schools, the difficulty of supervising two physical plants, segregation of the student body, cost, and the threat of some parents to send their children to LDS High. Paradoxically, the Mormon school was used to support both the establishment and curtailment of an additional public high school. By 1905, Eaton’s views prevailed, and in spite of petitions signed by almost 400 parents, the board voted to consolidate the two schools.39

Ironically, in the same year the board decided to amalgamate the schools, Superintendent Christensen decided that a city of Salt Lake’s size actually required two high schools. The renewed movement was stymied in 1908 when the electorate refused to amend the state constitution to allow a special tax for the support of high schools. However, in 1911 Utah voters approved an amendment allowing the creation of a high school fund, giving “secondary education a remarkable impetus throughout the state.”40 With support from the superintendent, pressure from patrons, a shift in the constitutional status of the high school and the creation of a “high school fund,” the goal of two high schools in Salt Lake City was realized in 1915 when East High School was erected on Thirteenth East.

Even though two schools now existed, the long-time principal of the Salt Lake High School, George Eaton, could not bring himself to regard the two schools as separate entities. He hoped the school colors, red and black, would be the common property of both schools or that future distinction “could easily be brought about by the adaption of a different shade of red for each.”41 New principals were appointed for the new East High and the Salt Lake (later West) High and Eaton became “Supervising Principal” of both schools.

“The People’s College”

American high schools of the nineteenth century tended toward being rather selective preparatory schools for those students who would be able to attend col-[p.75]lege. However, some significant changes began to occur in the rationale for the high school in the early years of the twentieth century, preparing the way for the comprehensive American high school that has marked the American educational landscape ever since—viewed as a bane and a blessing by educational commissions and educational reformers.42

As the twentieth century progressed, high schools increasingly came to be seen as “the people’s college.” This role was in large measure shaped by the 1892 “Committee of Ten” (discussed in Chapter 2). In the words of Salt Lake’s George Eaton, the new high schools were to teach Americans from age 14 to age 20 “how to live.”43 According to Principal W. J. McCoy of the short-lived “East Side High School” in 1904, when less than half of high school graduates go on to college, the high school should focus on work useful to the “mass of students.” McCoy’s words identify him as a progressive administrator of the era.

Broadening the curriculum’s appeal, then, met the republic’s need for good citizens. If America’s young people dropped out of the system, the nation would be weakened. Ironically, at the same time the high school was being touted as all-inclusive, questions arose about the problem of standards in a school designed to meet multiple needs. With “fast and slow” students in the same school the need to differentiate between them became more urgent, not simply because “slower” students could not keep up “with the progress made by the strongest and brightest,” but also because those unable to keep pace with the fastest would become prime candidates for the league of “drop outs.” McCoy recommended, instead of culling out the unfit, that extra time be allowed to prevent students from becoming humiliated or discouraged and subsequently dropping out of school.44

Keeping as many students in high school as was possible was a top priority with Salt Lake administrators. Still, a few suspected that high school actually educated some people above their natural station. George Eaton in 1907 said that “many a good farmer or merchant had been spoiled by trying to make a lawyer or engineer out of him” as well as causing problems for the professions they are “forced” into.45 In spite of such reservations, Eaton believed that those who continued on to high school should realize that education has a dual function: providing courses that would contribute to their occupational pursuits, as well as offering general mental training.

[p.76]Perhaps Ellwood Cubberley had these issues in mind when in 1909 he indicated that the changing American schools reflected the social and industrial changes in society at large. “Our city schools,” he said, “will soon be forced to give up the exceedingly democratic idea that all are equal, and that our society is devoid of classes.” He believed schools would have to “begin a specialization of educational effort along many new lines in an attempt to adapt the school to the needs of the many classes in city life.”46

Manual Training at the People’s College

While there had been emphasis on the work ethic in nineteenth-century American common schools, it was not until the early twentieth century that manual training was identified as the most effective way of transmitting the so-called Protestant ethic to the rising generation. Much as Japan supposedly offered the best educational model in the 1980s, German practices were much admired in the early 1900s. D. H. Christensen had observed German models first hand during his residency at Goettingen in 1900. No doubt he drew on that experience to establish the Manual Training Department in the Salt Lake District in 1902. Such a program, it was believed, would promote the productive power of the nation and dignify manual labor for boys. It would also convince girls of the science in cooking and art in sewing: “[T]he truly cultured woman should know something about each.”47 In addition to fulfilling a social need, manual training attracted a larger, more differentiated student population by appealing to broader interests. Education for George Eaton in 1901 was much more than abstract studies in mathematics and language. He urged more attention to motor and manipulative studies such as biology, geology, physics, and chemistry, and argued for the inclusion of physical education and athletics as part of the school curriculum. These, he complained, had been merely tolerated rather than actively encouraged.48

Along with increased attention to manual training came charges that the curriculum was being weakened by “non-academic” subjects, Advocates countered that honed motor skills would make students more well-rounded. The concept even spilled over into the elementary grades. Grace Frost, principal of Onequa Elementary School, said manual training classes captured the interest of boys who had been irregular in attendance, but who now could not be kept away from school.49 Shop work enjoyed so much popularity that two boys broke into Washington School on a Saturday so they could work.50

Of course, proponents claimed manual training was on a par with academic disciplines and was actually an aspect of liberal education. Unfortunately for [p.77]those who saw manual training as a ladder of opportunity, evidence suggests otherwise. Gaining competence in “joinery, carving, lathe work, mechanical drawing” had more to do with future occupations than broadening the horizons of young people.51 Accordingly, “manual training” eventually became interchangeable with the term “industrial courses.”

When the decision finally to establish two high schools was made around 1910, the board of education agreed that the “Westside High School” would specialize in “industrial and commercial courses,” while the “Eastside High School” would focus on “general studies.” The development of the industrial courses was viewed as an important factor in “determining the future industrial and commercial possibilities” of Salt Lake City.52 With the new East High School under construction in 1911-13, the “west side High School’s” “technical building” added a forge room, a foundry, and a machine shop. J. T. Hammond, President of the Board, reported that the “new high school [East] shall be the classical and the present one [West] the technical school.” In other cities, he noted, when “strong manual training, domestic science and commercial courses” were included in high schools, there was a “marked increase in the attendance, showing that many boys and girls had formerly failed to attend high school because its course did not meet their needs.” No geographic boundaries divided the two schools. Students could attend either depending on interests or inclinations.53 Assisting students realize their “probable destinies” seems to be what D. H. Christensen had in mind when he noted in 1915 that the West catered “more and more to the manual and commercial type while the East school will maintain its academic stamp.” This, according to the superintendent, was “the ideal outcome.”54

Whether this was, in fact, “ideal” is problematic. The city’s businesses and industries no doubt wanted the greater emphasis on manual training. However, increased attention to manual arts notwithstanding, in 1914 only three students (all boys) graduated from the high school’s mechanic arts course, compared with 16 in the classical course, 28 in the scientific course, and 36 in the commercial course (mostly girls).55 As a practical program, actually preparing young people for the marketplace, manual arts training may not have attracted as many students as was hoped. Still, there can be no doubt that the program grew: at the beginning of Christensen’s tenure the district employed no manual arts instructors, while fifteen years later eleven male teachers and two female teachers were employed as full-time instructors in manual training.56

Christensen’s successor as superintendent, Ernest Smith, complained in 1917 that Salt Lake City lagged behind other areas of the country in the number of students taking “industrial education” classes. In 1917 only 177 out of 1213 boys were enrolled in such work—a mere fourteen percent. The growth in num-[p.78]bers of instructors without commensurate numbers of students taking manual training may indicate that the program had become a part of general education rather than a program producing workers. Ironically, this had been manual training’s original aim.

Ultimately, in the words of historian Harvey Kantor, manual education’s main outcome was to transform “conflicts over the organization of the economy and the nature of American society into policies aimed at proper socializing; and this narrowed debate about the nature and meaning of work, as well as altered educational practices.” Given the paucity of evidence that, for most students, industrial training made a significant difference in the work they did, Kantor concluded that “vocational education appears to have been an illusory solution for the economic, social and educational ills that accompanied the industrial transformation of work.”57 For African-Americans and for lower-class white students, vocational education promised them more in the way of economic, social, and educational advancement than it could possibly fulfill. Many were disappointed when their status in the workplace and in society did not materially improve.

The decline in interest in Salt Lake City may have been due to this type of parental class consciousness. One 1919 study observed that many Utah parents “are not anxious that their boys should learn trades.” High school, many parents seemed to believe, was to enable boys to be more prepared for “‘dressed up’ jobs rather than to engage in that pursuit which necessitate the wearing of overalls.”58 Whatever else may be said of them, manual or industrial arts courses were never perceived as a way to increase one’s social standing in the community.

Illusory it may have been, but vocational education served as a major rationale for expanding the school programs in Salt Lake City’s public schools. Not even the traditional Western and Mormon antipathy towards the federal government prevented expansion of school programs backed by the largesse of Washington, D.C., in the form of financial assistance through the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. Nor were Mormons immune to adopting the traditional American faith that education could solve problems actually rooted in political, social, and economic conditions. Even in the last decade of the twentieth century it is difficult to accept the fact that in the absence of social and industrial policies that promote the creation of jobs, no amount of tinkering with public school curriculum and slotting students into vocational classes will create employment opportunities.

Booker T. Washington Endorses Utah’s Technical and Industrial ROGRAM

An interesting moment in the history of manual education in Salt Lake City [p.79]involved the prominent African-American educator, Booker T. Washington. D. H. Christensen’s faith in the manual arts led him to visit Washington at his Tuskeegee Institute in Alabama in February of 1911. For Washington, African-Americans’ success in American society lay in becoming indispensable skilled workers. In his famous address at the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, 18 September 1895, Washington said that the “greatest danger” facing former slaves was the failure to recognize “the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands” and that they must “keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labor and put brains and skill into the common occupations in life. … No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”59 With emphasis on the useful over the ornamental, on physical labor as a means of obtaining recognition, it is no wonder that Washington struck a spark of interest in the Mormon superintendent of Salt Lake City The Mormons shared more than an ample portion of Dr. Washington’s values.

Washington visited Salt Lake City in March of 1913 at Christensen’s invitation, where he addressed the ideals behind the Tuskeegee Institute at the First Methodist Church, the Salt Lake High School, and the Latter-day Saint University (actually a high school). His lecture at the University of Utah on the “Industrial Development of the Negro Race” was attended by state education officials and almost all the general authorities of the LDS church.60 The noted educator was serenaded by University of Utah students singing “old plantation songs,” and given a special organ recital in the Mormon Tabernacle. His theme during his visit was the relationship between education and the progress of the “negro race” since the “Emancipation Proclamation.” As might be expected, the emphasis was upon practical education.61

Commenting on Washington’s perspective on education, the Herald Republican approvingly noted that he “owns no burning desire to make his race prominent or powerful; his wish is that its members will be useful and self-supporting. The future holds no visions for him of eminent negro doctors, lawyers, judges [p.80]and scientists. … Because the negro character often lacks the practical, he has made it his life work to inculcate that attribute, to educate the young of the race along practical lines.”62 With such a benign (and, for such critics as W. E. B. DuBois, an essentially flawed) social outlook for his race, it is no wonder that Washington was popular among the dominant white majority in America. While much of Washington’s theory is rooted in what he perceived to be the needs of former slaves, in a very real sense he also echoed a common notion that many students (of whatever race) should be channelled into practical education rather than academic. As noted above, channelling students into their “probable destinies” was a theme of the so-called progressive era. In retrospect, Washington’s focus on vocational education proved to be a chimera. Instead of advancing racial justice it stereotyped African-Americans as only fit for manual skills. Nevertheless, he was widely applauded for his “progressive” views and nowhere more loudly than in Utah.

In reflecting on his visit, Washington drew parallels between the history of African-Americans and Mormons: both had been “inhumanely persecuted” and grossly “misrepresented before the world.” He praised Mormons for their health, cleanliness, progressive perspective, and attachment to farming. Like the Negro, “the Mormons are suffering, because the people from the outside, have advertized the worst concerning ‘Mormon’ life.” He praised Mormon schools as “first class” and noted that “they are pushing the matter of technical and industrial education to a stronger degree than we are in the south among the colored people.” At the University of Utah he was astounded to see pictures of his own Tuskeegee Institute’s industrial departments displayed in one of the classrooms. The university teacher informed him that Tuskeegee was used as a model for their instruction in vocational education. According to Washington, the Mormons told him that they had “learned their methods for the most part from Hampton, Tuskeegee and similar institutions.” He spoke at some length with Mormon bishop John M. Whittaker and received from him “some mighty interesting information [about the Mormons] that ought to prove of value to our race.”63 His visit not only gave Mormons much sought after “good press” but also assured D. H. Christensen he was on the right track with his emphasis on vocational education.

Curriculum for “Home Problems”

As might be expected, superintendents’ annual reports frequently reflect the masculine gender bias in society at large. However, females were not entirely neglected in the curriculum. Domestic science was promoted as an essential component of the public school program and “cooking, preservation of foods, dietetics, nursing, sanitation, laundering and needlework” were viewed as equal to boys’ courses such as “mechanical drawing, carpentry, molding, forging and [p.81]machine work.”64 The domestic science curriculum for girls was proposed as a solution to the “home problem,” although the term was never precisely explicated. Apparently the American home at the beginning of the twentieth century was adjusting to the new demands of industrial society Principal George Eaton was positively ebullient as he contemplated the results of girls’ instruction in the science of domesticity. “It is,” he exulted, “an inspiring sight to see a class of refined American girls in white aprons with sleeves rolled up busily engaged in solving the mysteries of the culinary art.”65

For Eaton, the courses based on “domestic science” and “manual training” met the needs of females and males respectively in a “natural” manner. Similarly, the scientific courses were dominated by males, while English and “Normal Preparation” (teacher education courses) were dominated by females. In Eaton’s words, “[t]he segregation of sex by courses is, after all, natural and logical.” Paradoxically, Eaton complained that not enough males were going into teaching: only two males had done so in nine years compared to hundreds of females.66

Domestic science also entered the elementary schools. Lizbeth Qualtrough, for instance, used cooking classes as an example of the kind of class that ten-year-old girls found relevant: “Nothing has ever before been introduced which has been so universally and so immediately liked. The cooking hour has been the joyful anticipation of the entire week.”67 A few girls upset expected roles and took manual training classes. Frances Grant Bennett reported that she enjoyed being the only girl in a woodworking class at Whittier School (around 1912) and was proud of having made a breadboard.68 Nothing indicates, however, that Frances was preparing to become a carpenter. The principal of Jefferson School, W. J. McCoy, argued that boys should not only be taught how to make an ironing board, but also to press their trousers.69 In spite of McCoy’s support, no record shows boys enrolling in such a course.

In spite of adjusting the curriculum to meet student needs, schools frequently had a difficult time holding males through to graduation. Oscar VanCott, principal of Wasatch Elementary School, reported that almost 52 percent of his school was male, compared to only 40 percent of the graduating class, a condition he said prevailed also in the high school and university This arose, he explained, from too much “effeminacy” in the curriculum—water coloring, modelling, and weaving every day—while more “masculine” activities involving saws and planes were only taught once each week. Reflecting a common perspective of the era, VanCott said courses should be gender-differentiated because the aims of education for males and females are essentially different: “I believe that school should render unto the boy the things that are his and unto the girl the things that are hers. In this way only can we provide for the true function of [p.82]citizenship in manhood and womanhood.”70

The School as Social Center

Another progressive notion influencing national as well as Salt Lake City schools viewed educational institutions as a social center that would “empower citizens to play a greater part in shaping their own destinies.”71 This was another in the long line of aims at making the public school a panacea for social ills. In Chicago the notion took the form of Jane Addams’s “Hull House” in which immigrants were taught how to become a force for the regeneration of their neighborhoods. While Salt Lake City certainly did not have the large scale immigrant population of Chicago and other urban centers, the city’s schools began to assume roles beyond the traditional “three Rs” as the curriculum became more inclusive, even under the direction of relatively conservative leaders.

According to Superintendent Christensen, the public school should be the “social center of the community” Evelyn Reilly, principal of the Lincoln School, concurred with his perspective. For her, although some questions had been raised about the paternalistic role of the school, “all thoughtful people are coming to the conclusion that the school must supplement and direct the work of many homes and do anything that the home cannot or will not do.”72 The school should even supplement children’s diets, according to Rosalie Pollock, who asked for an appropriation in 1910 to provide bread, butter, jam, and milk for Salt Lake kindergartners. Foreshadowing the social programs of the 1970s, Pollock referred to the kindergartners as “a walking famine”: they were ever in need of food. Investing money in food, she claimed, would prevent children from becoming “dull and stupid.” She also suggested that cots be supplied so children could take naps.73

Taking her cue from what she knew of conditions in large congested urban centers, Pollock’s successor as Supervisor of Primary Grades, Lizbeth Qualtrough, continued the theme of attending to the needs of the “whole child.” In her first report to Christensen in 1913, according to Qualtrough, the teaching of the three Rs was secondary to attending to children’s physical needs. In some places, she said, the “simple laws of sanitation and civilization should precede the laws even of English grammar.” Pedagogically and financially, she continued, it makes little sense to pay teachers eighty or ninety dollars a month to “develop the mind of a child whose stomach is calling for food. There are localities where a bath tub and a warm lunch at noon would be vastly more effective in the creation of good citizenship than twice the amount spent on any kind of textbook.” Christensen himself drew attention to children who were harmed educationally because they lacked proper nourishment, whether due to “shiftless home conditions or poverty” For Christensen, providing nourishing meals was in the interests of all: “[O]nly those properly fed can successfully cope with the requirements of carefully organized and effectively directed class work.” According to Christensen, the problem in some parts of Salt Lake City was greater “than we might wish to believe.” Accordingly he recommended to the board of education that a low-cost, or even free, meal for students should be provided.74

In the fall of 1914 the Riverside School established a soup counter where students could purchase a bowl of soup and two slices of bread for two cents. The operation was under the direction of the domestic science teacher, Elva Scott, and served as a model for other schools. In this day of efficient management, “receipts covered all expenses,” but some parents whose children did not have school lunch options complained that they were subsidizing lunches for the poor. Christensen countered by asserting that all students, “regardless of their station in life, will be better nourished and will work better with a warm lunch at the noon hour.”75

Another “progressive” innovation saw school children combatting dirty streets, unclean meat shops, and other breeding places for flies and mosquitoes. Clean-up brigades typified the notion that schools should promote an improved social environment. At a Parent-Teacher’s Association meeting in Salt Lake City in 1914, George Eaton, Principal of the Salt Lake High School, reiterated the idea that the school should be a “social center, a debating ground for questions involving the welfare of home, school and community—a nonsectarian, nonpartisan meeting place for all.”76

Such a view, of course, radically departed from the traditional conception of academics, but was a basic ingredient of the progressive vision. Whether schools actually became such social centers is open to question, but there can be no doubt that many educators thought in these terms and that curriculum was modified by these expectations.

Progressive era education dictated that instruction traditionally given in the home was now assumed to be the proper function of the public school. Instruction in “contagious diseases, sanitation, sex physiology, nutrition and first aid to the injured” would become the “new basics” of the twentieth-century school. Correcting “false beliefs and practices” benefitted individuals, homes, and communities. Changes in one aspect of the school inevitably led to others. For example, physical education led to sweaty children, which, in turn, led to showers and expanded facilities to prevent smelly classrooms.77 Not that all these additions were accepted without question; “hysterical agitation” for and against sex education had, according to George Eaton, an adverse affect on such instruction nationally, but he recommended that it be included in the Salt Lake District’s cur-[p.84]riculum. He further suggested that the district employ a male and female physician to give instruction in sex hygiene.78 By 1921 an MD was appointed to supervise the health of the children, but only one was listed as a health instructor.79

As is usually the case with changes in the school, the rhetoric of reform loomed larger than the reality. Certainly, the idea of the school taking over parental responsibilities may have been enough for some people to raise questions about expanded curriculum. Ironically, even as progressive measures were being recommended as necessary components of the modem school, there were calls for removing “fads and frills” from the curriculum. In 1915, the slogan of the Utah Education Association was the perennial “Back to the Basics.” And a perspicacious observer of public schooling might be forgiven if he or she asked with some incredulity: “What—again?”80

“Fundamental Subjects” and an Expanding Curriculum

In addition to making school governance supposedly non-partisan, adding manual and vocational education to course offerings, and focusing on the school as a social center of the community, educators of the Progressive period were obsessed with making education “scientific.” These educators did not, however, perceive science in narrow technocratic terms; they interpreted it as “the latest authoritative knowledge flowing from philosophy, psychology and pedagogy,” which could be used “in the development of more humane and effective instructional methods and more efficient and economical administrative techniques.”81

For Christensen, efficient schools were means to the end of an effective school experience for children. In spite of expanding the curriculum to include social service and manual arts, Christensen believed school work should focus on the “fundamental subjects.” Given this orientation, he could point with some pride to the measured achievements reported by the Cubberley survey, conducted by national experts. The survey found Salt Lake schools successful in teaching the basic skills and ranked “high among cities of her class, in each of the five studies in which tests were given”—spelling, composition, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Spelling in particular was praised as “being 16 per cent above the standard.”82

Although some criticism concerned the quality of the teaching corps, the success in teaching fundamental skills was attributed to the close supervision by Christensen and his supervisors. In the words of a national school publication, they had “succeeded in making unusually effective use of a corps of teachers which is not very promising in its qualifications.” Many principals reported to the Cubberley team that “they felt under constant pressure from the superinten-[p.85]dent to be efficient principals and to make a success of their work, or else run the risk of being removed from their positions.”83 The Superintendent apparently knew what he wanted accomplished and did not mince words when setting out his priorities. As recounted by his son, Christensen’s philosophy was summed up in a statement he made to the Salt Lake City elementary teachers: “I told them, I didn’t ask them, I told them, each one of you teachers are going to do four things for each child in your rooms. You are going to teach each child arithmetic, spelling, reading and writing. If you don’t teach these things I will put someone in your place who will.”84 The survey of 1915 confirmed the superintendent’s emphasis had productive results.

The Business of Schools

Adding so-called “frills and fads” to the curriculum made demands on teachers and administrators, as well as on the general taxpayer. Salt Lake’s education budget had increased markedly since 1890, from $203,594.80 in 1890-91 to $1,143,858.20 in 1915. Educating all of the city’s children required a significant investment of public funds.85 Such increases make it understandable that pressures were exerted on boards and superintendents to make the schools more efficient.

As if to forestall any criticism that the schools were wasting public funds, the 1915 Cubberley survey claimed that Salt Lake City schools were being administered very efficiently. However, the experts from Stanford did not ignore the fact that compared to fifteen other Western cities, Salt Lake City was rated second lowest in per capita spending for its children ages five through fifteen. The remedy, of course, was to raise taxes. Cubberley concluded that in 1915 it was “very evident that Salt Lake City can afford large families”; given the city’s large per capita wealth, Salt Lake should have been able to support schools more than it was.86

Although Salt Lake City had a greater percentage of school age children than any other Western city, it levied a lower tax rate. Unless serious increases were made in the city’s investment in its children, Cubberley concluded, “It looks as though even more serious cramping and crowding of the schools, and the employment of more cheap and inexperienced teachers, with little or no development, would be the inevitable result.” Much of the blame, however, was laid more on the state legislature than on citizens: “Recent editorials in the leading newspapers regarding the schools and their support would lead one to feel that they, the people, are willing to go even further and support the schools even generously It is the people of Utah, as represented in the state legislature, who stand in the way.” The legislature had imposed on school districts a “maintenance tax-[p.86]limit so small as to make really good schools for the future entirely out of the question.” In Ellwood Cubberley’s opinion this was neither “justice nor sound public policy.” If a community wanted to tax itself more to improve its schools, it should be allowed to do so.87 Cubberley suggested that “[t]he people of Salt Lake City as a body scarcely realize how inadequately their schools are supported, or what a handicap they labor under by reason of the restrictions laid upon them by the laws of the state.”88

Cubberley’s recommendation—a model law giving the district much more power over financing—was never enacted. In time, however, legislation did extend the amount of state money flowing to each school district, although there remained a legal limit on how much districts could raise by means of mill levies.89


Efficiency was the watchword of early-twentieth-century American society, making the time required to do a task synonymous with success. Taking its cue from innovations in industrial efficiency, American public schools applied Frederick W. Taylor’s principles to the burgeoning school “industry”90 The profession of “educational administration” developed in tandem with the emphasis on scientific measures of child development, curriculum cost, and teacher effectiveness. Once again, Utah’s “local culture” fit in with the national drive. In 1903, well-known economist Richard T. Ely asserted that Mormon organization “is the most nearly perfect piece of social mechanism with which I have ever, in any way, come in contact, excepting the German army.”91

The drive for educational efficiency had another dimension; now administrators were viewed as producible on demand through university training. A major tenet of the new profession was “Centralization of authority and responsibility for effective lay control in the board; and for professional and business management in the staff.”92 The national efficiency movement coincided with D. H. Christensen’s tenure as superintendent. His reports indicate not only that he was aware of national trends, but that he focused his considerable energy and leadership skills on making himself and his immediate staff the professional team upon which the board was obliged to rely.

This professionalization of administrative roles removed boards of education [p.87]from the influence of local “special interest” groups (often religious and ethnic minorities). Boards were to understand that their election did not give them the necessary expertise to manage day to day school affairs. If education were to be conducted on scientific principles, lay intervention could no more be tolerated, it was argued, than herbalists and folk medicine practitioners could intrude on the scientific physician. A survey of the nation’s leading superintendents, conducted by Arthur H. Chamberlain of the University of California, supported this strengthening of the superintendent’s authority at the expense of lay boards of education.

Although Christensen seemed in line with most of the nation’s superintendents, he differed over whether boards should be elected at large or on a political ward basis. He was one of only two superintendents out of fifty participating in this survey to favor the ward method. In large urban areas superintendents favored at-large elections, which weakened the influence of religious and ethnic minorities. Christensen’s position apparently responded to the realities of Salt Lake City politics. The Mormon majority had a vested interest in ensuring significant representation on the school board. Christensen’s own appointment reflected that the board, beginning in 1899, had an LDS majority. While Mormons in the early twentieth century were busy accommodating mainstream America, this did not mean they neglected nurturing future generations. They supported public schooling, but did not abrogate thereby their obligation to meet the needs of the Mormon community, Electing board members on a municipal ward basis reflected the Mormon need to have input at the local level and gave some semblance of democratic representation to the board as well.

Christensen showed uncanny ability to manage political affairs during his long tenure. Nothing more aptly describes Christensen’s modus operandi than his response to the national survey’s last question: “Looking toward economy and efficiency, how would you suggest further increasing the superintendent’s power?” Christensen responded tersely: “No further power desired. Superintendent must show merit in recommendation, move on conservative ground and keep within available funds.” His long tenure as superintendent is one indicator of the degree to which he lived up to these ideals. With a Mormon-dominated board, Christensen had no other choice than to reflect the Mormon community’s values. Christensen centralized the power of his office through “[a]bsolute confidence and frankness in dealing with board members, whether favorable or unfavorable to superintendent.”93

But Christensen’s schools, even if serving a population largely Mormon, also served the larger purposes of national unity. Cubberley’s use of the term “controlled freedom” in praising the Salt Lake City schools accurately describes what such schools were about. It represents some of the tensions inherent in the “one best system,” supposed to promote both initiative and conformity among princi-[p.88]pals, teachers, and students.

The schools of Salt Lake City reflected the foregoing paradox. The 1915 Cubberley survey, conducted as it was by some of the most prestigious (and conservative) progressives in American education, was as much a capstone on the structure which D. H. Christensen had erected as it was a blueprint for reform. More important than a reform blueprint, the Cubberley report clearly legitimated the paradox.

“Anatagonism to an Efficient Superintendent”

In January 1916, just six months after Cubberley’s visit to Salt Lake, Superintendent Christensen stunned the board of education with a terse announcement: “Permit me to advise you that I shall not be a candidate for reappointment to my present position. I expect to devote my time and attention to my business interests after June 30 of this year.”94 For the past three years Christensen had conducted the business affairs of a family-based construction company his brother had managed until his death in 1913, but there appear to have been other circumstances that caused him to leave education at this particular time. In a letter to an inquirer he indicated that it was time to allow a new leader to take the schools into a new phase of their development.

The editor of the influential Journal of Education, A. E. Winship, lamented Christensen’s retirement, describing him as a master of the “art of city supervision” and praising him for helping principals and teachers work together more effectively. Although one might regard Winship’s comment that Christensen “dominated educational situations that have been more complex than … those of any other city in America” as somewhat rhetorical, it still shows the esteem in which he was held by the national educational establishment. According to Winship, Christensen said he resigned because he was “tired of the everlasting nagging by a few people.”95 Of course, this sentiment is not evident in the Salt Lake City newspapers of January 1916. There, Christensen simply stated that he felt retirement was propitious: he wanted the Cubberley survey to be the “last word upon that period during which I was actively connected with the work in my present capacity.”96

However, some evidence also indicates that the relationship between Christensen and the board was not as benign as the official record suggests. Christensen’s daughter recalled that one reasons her father resigned was that he was tired of criticism from the Masons. In 1914, one of the two Masons on the board, A.D. McMullen, charged that Christensen had “bought off” opposition to his reelection by offering salary increases, a promotion, and “other favors” to the principal of West Side High School. The board held formal hearings on the charges, but on a 7-2 vote decided that McMullen had failed to prove his assertion. McMullen and the other Mason on the board, George M. Sullivan, cast the two dis-[p.89]senting votes. In an “impassioned speech” Christensen said he could “lay his ear to the ground” and come up with rumors about McMullen, but that he did not operate in that manner.97

The conflict with the board’s Masons was only one irritant Christensen endured during his superintendency. Others have been alluded to earlier—charges of using pay as a means of gaining support from staff, appointing Mormons to administrative posts, and a community dispute over the location of a new school. The reduction of Mormon board influence after December 1912 no doubt influenced his decision. This election witnessed Masons McMullen and Sullivan, who were to become Christensen’s nemeses, replace two Mormons on the board. The Masons on the board thereby increased their numbers to five, a configuration that persisted until 1918, when the Mormons ended up with eight of the board seats and the Free Masons with a minority of two.

While these shifts in power were certainly significant to Christensen’s resignation, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why they occurred. The 1910 election was the last in which charges of church influence were aired in the Tribune. Then, in contrast to the previous four elections, the 1912 election passed without any hyperbolic rhetoric about Mormon domination of the board. The American party had disappeared from the list of contenders and a “non-partisan” slate was promoted even by the Tribune. The same thing happened in the city’s 1911 municipal election, which has been described as the “death throes of the previous division of political parties on religious lines.” Apparently, economic realities overcame ideology. In 1911 the Tribune and Telegram were involved in a lawsuit, and evidence from the trial indicated that these newspapers had suffered economically from their staunch support of the American party. When the 1912 school election rolled around, the Tribune’s tone was muted and, for the first time in any school board elections, the outcry over the danger of Mormon domination was absent. In this benign climate, the once six-member Mormon majority dropped to four.98

Other factors may have influenced this low-key election: did the Mormons, in exchange for a toned-down Tribune, promote some semblance of political ecumenicism? Was the new Mormon minority related to Salt Lake City having been chosen for the National Education Association annual conference in July 1913? Lack of written records make definitive answers difficult to come by. One thing can be documented, however: in place of the single-issue candidates of the American Party, a new threat appeared on the horizon—the emergence of the Socialists as the only opposition to “non-partisan” Mormons and non-Mormons. In a large front page headline, the Deseret News warned its readers that a low nonpartisan vote would likely result in a Socialist victory. The fear of Mormon [p.90]domination had given way to fear of Socialism. As it happened, in spite of a low vote the Socialists were thoroughly decimated, receiving only 657 of the total 5,274 votes cast and securing no board seats.99 In the spirit of ecumenicism—or economic and political reality—the new board consisted of five Free Masons, four Mormons and one other non-Mormon. This configuration remained the same for the next two election. Local religious squabbling was crowded off the newspaper headlines by the commencement of the Great European War. Perhaps with war on the horizon it was the Germans’ turn to serve as a unifying force in school board elections.

The elections were less aggressive to be sure, but the actions of at least some Masons on the board dispelled any myth that an armistice had been signed. When Christensen tendered his surprise resignation in January 1916 he gave no inkling that he harbored a great deal of suppressed indignation. At the board meeting held to name a successor, M. M. Warner charged that a conspiracy among certain board members had forced Christensen out of office to replace him with someone “more subservient to certain factions” on the board. The assistant city attorney, Moses Davis, spoke for a group of citizens ready to investigate reports of “cabal and conspiracy” on the board. Some suggested that certain board members—Sullivan and McMullen—had sought election on the platform of removing the superintendent. Davis quoted D. H. Christensen as saying that “no red-blooded man could remain as superintendent of this school system while members of the board sit here as the board is now constituted.” It was, according to Davis, the “peanut politics and the insinuations going on here and around him” that forced Christensen’s resignation. The board received these reports in typical silence, then elected non-Mormon Dr. Ernest A. Smith as the fourth superintendent of Salt Lake City School District.

Immediately following this D. H. Christensen made a statement in which he asserted, after acknowledging his interest in the family business, that Sullivan and McMullen had been a major factor in forcing his decision. Their presence, he asserted, was detrimental to the board, and it would “be best for the school system if Mr. Sullivan and, Mr. McMullen withdrew before the expiration of their terms.”100 There was no applause, no questions—only the stifled silence of a board that saw itself as above the confrontation, debate, and rejoinder.

At Christensen’s retirement, just past the district’s silver anniversary, the schools of Salt Lake City were generally in good shape, the system managed by professionals focused on meeting the needs of all of the city’s school children. Christensen and his co-workers had done much to shape the Salt Lake City schools in the image of national educational thought. A steady stream of prominent educators, including John Dewey and Canadian educator James Hughes, at-[p.91]tested to Utah’s educational triumphs. Although numerous non-Mormons made significant contributions to the schools of the period, the positive national image of Salt Lake City’s schools tended to identify progress with the dominant Mormon presence in the city Still, in spite of seeming difference from the rest of America, Utah’s schools, especially those of Salt Lake City, were accommodating at “all deliberate speed” to the secular, competitive larger society In the next few decades this would become more and more marked as the LDS church closed its academies, turning some of them over to the state. If Salt Lake society was not yet as pluralistic as the West and East coasts, its schools were beginning to take on an aura of cosmopolitanism root in the larger vision of D. H. Christensen and his assistants such as Lizbeth Qualtrough and George Eaton. In spite of fears that Mormon-controlled schools would be creatures of the dominant church, under the administration of Christensen’s “home ability” the schools became thoroughly American. Yet the ever-burning issue of church-state relations continued to bubble to the surface of school polity well into the twentieth century.

D. H. Christensen continued his involvement in the education community by serving thirty-one years as a member of the University of Utah’s Board of Regents. In 1948 his alma mater acknowledged his contributions to education in the state by bestowing on him an honorary doctoral degree in education the degree he was working toward when he accepted a call to become the city’s superintendent almost fifty years before. He died in Salt Lake in 1956 at the age of 86.101


[p.59]1. “Tomorrow’s Election,” Deseret News, 4 Dec. 1900.

2. Ibid.

[p.60]3. Phone conversation with Joseph Geoghegan’s daughter, E. M. Geoghegan, Salt Lake City, Jan. 1992; Letter from N.Y.S., “Religion Not In It,” Salt Lake Herald, 4 Dec. 1900.

4. “Lively Fights Are On,” Salt Lake Herald, 2 Dec. 1900.

5. “Teachers from University,” Deseret News, 5 Dec. 1900.

[p.61]6. “Re-Elect Old Board,” Salt Lake Herald, 4 Dec. 1900.

7. “Ihe Facts in the Case,” Deseret News, 6 Dec. 1900.

8. “The Reason of Yesterday’s Results,” Salt Lake Herald, 6 Dec. 1900.

9. “Session of the School Board,” Deseret News, 8 May 1901.

[p.62]10. “No Utah Man Applies,” Salt Lake Herald, 8 May 1901.

[p.63]11. Biographical data derived from D. H. Christensen Papers, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah; Oral histories of Dean K. Christensen and Kathleen C. Hall, Spring 1990; also “Transcript of Studies,” University of Goettingen, in letter to the author from Dr. Ulrich Hunger, University Archivist, 27 July 1990; “Board Unanimous for Christensen,” Salt Lake Herald, 3 July 1901; “Unanimous Vote for Christensen,” Deseret News, 3 July 1901; Board of Education, Minutes, 2 July 1901.

12. “Home Talent Recognized,” Deseret News, 3 July 1901.

13. David B. Tyack, One Best System: A History of American Urban Education (Cambridge: Harvard Umversity Press, 1974), 126-27.

[p.64]14. Journal of Proceedings of the Fifty-First Annual Meeting of the National Education Association, Salt Lake City, 5–12 July 1913, 26–29; A. E. Winstrip, “The Education Cure of Mormonism,” Proceedings of the National Education Association (1886): 117; see also his comments made during a visit to Salt Lake City in Utah Educational Review 4 (Jan. 1911): 24-25.

[p.65]15. Thomas G. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-Day Saints, 1890-1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 11, 18-26.

16. “One American is Elected,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Dec. 1904; Thomas G. Alexander and James B. Allen, Mormons and Gentiles: A History of Salt Lake City (Boulder, CO: Pruett, 1984), 140–42; and conversation with Thomas Alexander, 10 Sept. 1990.

[p.66]17. Intermountain Catholic, cited in “As to the Public Schools,” Deseret News, 8 Oct. 1904.

18. “School Regeneration,” Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Nov. 1906.

19. These cartoons appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Dec. and 22 Nov. 1906.

20. “The School Primaries,” Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Nov. 1906.

21. “Mormon Church Controls Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Dec. 1906; “Non-Partisans Win Election,” Salt Lake Herald, 6 Dec. 1906.

[p.67]22. “The School Election,” Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Dec. 1908; “Non-Partisans Victorious,” Deseret News, 3 Dec. 1908; “Fairly Easy Lesson,” Intermountain Republican, 4 Dec. 1908.

23. In a series of interviews with people who attended school in Salt Lake City during the first two decades of the twentieth century, I have made a point to ask about school prayer and Bible reading; all interviewees said that these practices were not part of the school program. See oral history interviews with Wallace E. Bennett, Frances G. Bennett, Lowell L. Bennion, Merle Bennion, Dorothy Snow, and Dortha McDonald, in Special Collections, University of Utah..

[p.68]24. This was suggested to me by Mr. Horace A. “Bo” Thomas, Worshipful Master of Research Lodge, Grand Lodge of Utah, in a telephone conversation, 10 July 1991.

[p.69]25. Byron Cummings, Berlin, Germany, to D. H. Christensen, 3 Apr. 1911, Christensen Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah.

26. The incident involving Pollock was apparently publicized in the Tribune sometime during the school year 1911-12. I have not been able to locate the exact (nation, but Christensen refers to it in the draft of his response. See letter, “To the Public,” in Christensen Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah. His view that the public schools should not be instruments of the Mormon church is supported by oral history interviews conducted with his children. See oral histories of Dean K. Christensen, 27 Mar. 1990, and Kathleen Christensen Hall, 10 Apr. 1990, Special Collections, University of Utah. Note: Because the oral histories used in this book were still being processed at the time of publication, no pagination has been used. The table of contents for each interview will assist interested persons in locating topics referred to in the text.

[p.70]27. “Imposing on the Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, 7 May 1909. Christensen criticized Whitney’s book in a session of the Text Book Commission, although he had previously approved of the book as a manuscript. See A.M. Buchanan to D. H. Christensen, 13 Dec. 1913, in Christensen Papers.

28. “Child Selection Raises Big Row,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Dec. 1910; “Not Good For Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Dec. 1910.

29. Report of the Survey of the Public School System of Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake City: Board of Education, 1915), 57-58. Hereafter cited as Report of Survey.

[p.71]30. “Estimate of Teachers, 1899-1900,” copy in possession of author.

31. For a discussion of a history of gender differences in salary schedules in Utah, see John C. Moffitt, History of Public Education in Utah (n.p. 1946), 322–24.

[p.72]32. See Christensen’s salary notations in his copy of district Directory, Christensen Papers, Special Collections, University of Utah; also letters: Alga Mills to D. H. Christensen, 18 Jan. 1915; Ida Fitzsimmons to D. H. Christensen, 15 Dec. 1915; M. Adelaide Holton, Hamilton, New York, to D. H. Christensen, 13 May 1913, in Christensen Papers.

33. Twelfth Annual Report, 1901-1902, 72.

[p.73]34. Sources for attendance data are from tables in the Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Annual Reports, 1918-20.

35. Fifty Years of Public Education, 138; Twelfth Annual Report, 1901-1902, 86–7.

36. James R. Clark, “Church and State Relations in Education in Utah,” Ed.D. diss., Utah State University, 1958, 280; Thirteenth Annual Report, 1902-1903, 81; Nineteenth Annual Report, 1908-1909, 84.

37. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition, 162.

[p.74]38. Fourteenth Annual Report, 1903-1904, 120-21.

39. Details on the establishment of the “East Side High School” can be found in Thirteenth Annual Report, 1902-1903, 123; Fourteenth Annual Report, 1903-1904, 107-8; Fifteenth Annual Report, 1904-1905, 85-6.

40. Moffitt, History of Education in Utah, 141, citing A. C. Nelson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction on the benefits that accrued to the state schools as a result of the positive vote in 1911; Nineteenth Annual Report, 1908-1909, 181-83.

41. Twenty-third Annual Report, 1912-13, 53.

[p.75]42. For positive British views of American education in the early 1900s see Sir Michael Sadler’s “Impressions of American Education” and Alfred Mosely’s “A British View of American Schools,” both published in 1903 and reproduced in Sol Cohen, ed. Education in the United States: A Documentary History, 5 vols. (New York: Random House, 1974), 4:2101-08. For adverse criticism of the “comprehensive” nature of much of American public schooling see William C. Bagley, Determinism in Education (New York: MacMillan Co., 1939).

43. For a detailed discussion of the work of the Committee of Ten, see Edward A. Krug, The Shaping of the American High School (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), chapters 1-4. The annual reports of the Salt Lake City schools reflect much of the spirit and expressions of the Committee of Ten; see Fourth Annual Report, 1893-94, 97-8; also George Eaton’s comments about the aims of the Frederick S. Buchanan, Culture Clash and Accommodation, p.75 high school in Eleventh Annual Report, 1900-1901, 71 and Fourteenth Annual Report, 1903-1904, 118.

44. Fourteenth Annual Report, 1903-1904, 119.

45. Seventeenth Annual Report, 1906-1907, 116.

[p.76]46. Ellwood P. Cubberley, Changing Conceptions of Education (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1909), 56-7.

47. Twelfth Annual Report, 1901-1902, 78.

48. Eleventh Annual Report, 1900-1901, 67.

49. Twenty-second Annual Report, 1910-11, 88.

50. Twenty-fourth Annual Report, 1913-14, 97.

[p.77]51. Nineteenth Annual Report, 1908-1909, 135.

52. Twelfth Annual Report, 1901-1902, 86-7.

53. Twenty-second Annual Report, 1911-12, 7-8.

54. Twenty-fifth Annual Report, 1914-15, 88-9.

55. Twenty-fourth Annual Report, 1913-14, 137-39.

56. Twenty-sixth Annual Report, 1915-16, 122.

57. Harvey A. Kantor, “Vocationalism in American Education: The Economic and Political Context, 1880-1930,” in Harvey Kantor and David Tyack, eds., Work, Youth and Schooling: Historical Perspectives on Vocationalism in American Education (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1982), 43, 36. See also Harvey Kantor, Learning to Earn; School, Work, and Vocational Reform in California, 1880-1930 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988).

58. J. H. Tipton, “Methods of Teaching Mechanic Arts,” M.S. thesis, University of Utah, 1919, 27.

[p.79]59. “The Atlanta Compromise,” in D. Calhoun, The Education of Americans: A Documentary History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969), 349-51.

60. Washington’s article appeared in the 17 Apr. 1913 issue of the country’s leading African-American newspaper, the New York Age. An excerpt appeared in the Deseret News, 7 May 1913. See also Louis R. Harlan and Raymond W. Smock, eds., The Booker T. Washington Papers, 14 vols. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1972-89), 12:149-53. As a result of his favorable comments about the Mormons, Washington was roundly criticized by a number of prominent Protestant leaders, who claimed he had been used by the Mormons to enhance their national image. One Baptist could not understand how he could speak with favor about a group that believed that blacks were cursed with the “mark of Cain.” See Harlan and Smock, Washington Papers, 12:182, 195-96. Until 1978 the LDS church prohibited African-American men from ordination to its lay priesthood. See also John M. Whittaker, Journal, 27 Mar. 1913, Special Collections, University of Utah, in which Whittaker refers to “negro blood” as “accursed blood.”

61. “Eloquent Defense of ‘Colored Brother,'” Deseret News, 26 Mar. 1913. See also letter of Booker T. Washington to D. H. Christensen, 31 Mar. 1913 and photograph of Washington with two of Christensen’s children taken at Tuskeegee Institute in February 1911, in Christensen Papers.

[p.]62. “Booker T. Washington,” Herald Republican, 29 Mar. 1913, in Journal History, of date.

63. Harlan and Smock, Washington Papers, 12:149-53; Whittaker, Journal, 27 Mar. 1913.

[p.81]64. Seventeenth Annual Report, 1906-1907, 116.

65. Nineteenth Annual Report, 1908-1909, 135.

66. Ibid., 133-34.

67. Twenty-first Annual Report, 1910-11, 98-99.

68. Oral history, Frances Grant Bennett, Mar. 1990.

69. Twenty-fourth Annual Report, 1913-14, 85.

[p.82]70. Twentieth Annual Report, 1909-10, 174.

71. Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Metropolitan Experience (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), 225.

72. Twenty-second Annual Report, 1911-12, 84-5.

73. Twenty-first Annual Report, 1910-11, 58-9.

[p.83]74. Twenty-fourth Annual Report, 1913-14, 114-15.

75. Report on the history of Riverside School in Fiftieth Annual Report, 1939-40, 87; “May Extend Lunch Plan to all Schools,” Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Nov. 1914.

76. Report of Survey, 296; “Parent-Teacher’s League to Meet,” Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Oct. 1914.

77. Twenty-third Annual Report, 1911-12, 42-3.

[p.84]78. Twenty-fifth Annual Report, 1914-15, 92-3.

79. Thirty-third Annual Report, 1922-23, 66.

80. “Teachers Present at Great Peace Meeting,” Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Nov. 1915.

81. Cremin, American Education: The Metropolitan Experience, 226.

82. Report of Survey, 184.

[p.85]83. “Schools of Salt Lake City,” Elementary School Journal 16 (Nov. 1915): 118; Report of Survey, 44.

84. Dean K. Christensen, Oral history, 27 Mar. 1990.

85. Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Annual Reports, 1918-20, 105.

86. Report of Survey, 301-18.

[p.86]87. Report of Survey, 314.

88. Report of Survey, 317-18.

89. Moffitt, History of Public Education in Utah, 143-45.

90. Raymond E. Callahan, Education and the Cult of Efficiency (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), 19-41.

91. “Economic Aspects of Mormonism,” Harper’s 56 (Apr. 1903): 668. While Ely further commented that “the social cement of their religion bindimg them together and bringing about submission to the leadership explain the wonderful achievements of the Mormons,” the same characteristics may have prompted the anti-Mormon American Party to attempt control of the board of education.

92. “Paul Hanus, “Improving School Systems by Scientific Management,” cited in Cohen, Education in the United States, 4:2260.

[p.87]93.Arthur H. Chamberlain, The Growth of Responsibility and Enlargement of Power of the City School Superintendent. University of California Publications, 3 (15 May 1913). See chart of questions and answers in the appendix of the report.

[p.88]94. Twenty-sixth Annual Report, 1915-16, 81.

95. Journal of Education 83 (10 Feb. 1916): 155-56.

96. “D. H. Christensen to Quit Position,” Salt Lake Tribune, 12 Jan. 1916.

[p.89]97. Oral history, Kathleen C. Hall, 10 Apr. 1990. Details of the conflict are in “Christensen Probe Started by Board,” Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Dec. 1914; “School Board Holds Charges Lack Basis,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Dec. 1914; “Darrow Deposed from High School … Stormy Session of Board,” Deseret News, 4 Dec. 1914; “Vindication is Voted By Board,” Deseret News, 11 Dec. 1914.

98. “School Elections Today,” Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Dec. 1912; “Non-Partisan Ticket Carries Every Ward,” Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Dec. 1912; Alexander and Allen, Mormons and Gentiles, 146-47.

[p.90]99. “School Election May Go By Default,” Deseret News, 4 Dec. 1912; “City Vote Light; Results Decisive,” Deseret News, 5 Dec. 1912.

100. Detailed accounts of this 13 June meeting are found in “Call on Board Members to Resign,” Deseret News, 14 June 1916 and “School Board Has Dramatic Session,” Salt Lake Tribune, 14 June 1916. The minutes of this meeting are parsimoniously recorded as “Mr. Christensen requested to be heard and stated his reasons for resigning.” See Board of Education, Minutes, 13 June 1916.

[p.91]101. “Death Ends Long Career of S. L. Education Leader,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Jan. 1956.