A Working Artist’s Christmas

Dorothy Smith was an art student at the University of Utah in the early 1930’s, and had many outlets for her artistic talents. In addition to her job decorating store windows and making signage at Kress, she often took side jobs to supplement her income. She  lettered doors and windows, and sold handmade greeting cards. Christmas was a particularly busy time for her, as she writes on November 12, 19331:

I have Christmas card orders to fill for Torleif S. Knaphus2 in return for clay which he gave me for modeling. He certainly has inspired me and been a great help in pushing me, as it were, along the road to accomplishment. I don’t know many other grown people who have so influenced me to good and been as companionable.

At the same time, her fiancee Ellsworth received a call to serve a 6-month Western States mission.On November 29, 1933 Dorothy writes:

Ellsworth’s farewell testimonial in Capitol Hill Ward. He spoke splendidly. We, his friends and relatives were more than proud of him. Received $25.00 contributions, 10.00 of which was sent to other Capitol Hill missionaries for Xmas.

We glimpse at Ellsworth and Dorothy’s generous nature as they both sought to support one another and others. On December 3rd, she writes:

Attended Sunday School and fast service. Paid some back-tithe
for Marv. I feel especially grateful today for opportunities
Ellsworth and I are having of helping each other and the world at large.
Thankful for our peaceful home, health and the love of friends –
for my close association with the Clarks and above all for the
directing hand and inspiration of God in the lives of Ellsworth
and myself.
He has been gracious and understanding – helped us to
cooperate in facing life – helped us to find the one real Love –
that of sacrifice and true devotion.

Throughout December, Dorothy was  busy filling Christmas card orders, tinting photos for Esther Jahries (wife of Walter C. Jahries, Kress store manager) creating displays for Kress, and hand-lettering doors for local businesses. Dorothy was so busy, that Mr. Jahries gave Dorothy permission to hire Dorothy’s friend Olive Knaphus as an assistant. On Saturday, December 12th Dorothy writes:

A big rush at Kress and all over the city. Business seems good. I
finished shopping at 7:30. Visited Ellsworth’s folks for awhile
came home and finished wrapping parcels & mailing cards.
Made about 4 or 5 dozen for us this year besides 2 1/2 dozen for
Knaphus. Have been extra busy. Sent Ellsworth box of mother’s
chocolates. His folks sent a cake, shirt, tie and hankies and candy.

Dorothy’s talents and work ethic provided means of support for her family, her brother Marvin on his mission, and her fiancee Ellsworth, to whom she sent money every week. Here is the card she sent Ellsworth that Christmas a hopeful scene that was reflected in their ensuing  years.

DSC-c-c-12-32a

DSC-c-c-12-32b

1Diaries of Dorothy Smith Clark, 1929-1934, Salt Lake City, Utah.
2Torleif S. Knaphus was Dorothy’s artistic mentor and friend.

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