Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Whole Year Through: Hotel Utah Advertising, 1944
 


The Whole Year Through: Hotel Utah Advertising, 1944

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 17, 2009

The Hotel Utah (now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building) in Salt Lake City was Utah’s grandest hotel from the time it opened in 1911 until it closed as a hotel in 1987. The historic corner it occupies directly east of Temple Square was the long-time site of the General Tithing Office, the Salt Lake Bishop’s Storehouse, and the Deseret News, and the Church was the major (but not exclusive) holder of Hotel Utah stock.

These advertisements from the Improvement Era of 1944 are almost “anti-advertisements” — they seem on the surface to say “Don’t patronize us! Leave us to serve the cause of the war!”  In any case, these ads kept the Hotel in the minds of possible patrons, allowed the Hotel to continue to support the magazine with necessary revenue, and give us a great glimpse at the variety of home front activities that made up the war effort during World War II.

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January (and December)

February

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March

April

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May

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June

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July

August

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September

October

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November



8 Comments »

  1. Wow, quite a lot of variety in these ads! I’m seriously impressed with all the different approaches they took with these ads. Thanks for the chance to see a whole year’s worth.

    Why was I surprised to see a promotion of Hotel Utah’s Coffee Shop in a church magazine? I shouldn’t have been, I don’t think, but I was. Is “coffee shop” a sort of a generic term not necessarily referring to coffee (analogous to the term “drug store”)?

    Comment by Hunter — December 17, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  2. Yeah, I would say so, Hunter. It’s like the term “cafe” which literally means “coffee” in French but which you think of as a casual, lower-end soup-and-sandwich or comfort-food-serving restaurant, not just a Starbucks coffee bar.

    Query: Do you think the Hotel Utah was sincere in its campaign of “don’t use our services; leave us free to aid the war effort”? or was it a little more cynical than that, more “we know you’re going to travel despite what we say, so let us have your business”?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 17, 2009 @ 10:49 am

  3. Interesting that the ‘knockout blow’ ad, so different from all the rest, coincided perfectly with the D-Day invasion.

    Regarding comment 2, I side with the cynical. I think the hotel tips its hand in September with the “war production men” ad.

    Comment by Clark — December 17, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  4. I enjoy old good advice that’s still good advice where’er I see it. We still waste too much food, and we could all use a victory garden where possible. I was already planning on planting something edible in the flowerbed in front of my apartment. Maybe I’ll have to make a plaque that says Veggies for Victory!

    Comment by Moniker Challenged — December 17, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

  5. Ha! I hadn’t caught the timing of that variant ad, Clark! I wonder if they had something planned that no longer fit with what was happening in Europe, or whether they were so jubilant over D-Day that they couldn’t think of anything else? Either way, it’s great!

    Go for it, MC! Yeah, there’s still (or again) a genuine need to conserve. It might be fun to rewrite the ads for today’s situation — the illustrations might change, but the lessons would in most cases be the same.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 17, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  6. 300 pounds of food wasted per person per year in the US at the time. Statistics i’ve seen say that we’re now at 333, though i don’t know if those are based on comparable data. If those numbers are comparable, i think it’s interesting how relatively static that number has remained.

    Comment by David B — December 17, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

  7. These are really intriguing. Thanks for sharing them.

    Regarding the coffee shop…I have a certain relative that is notoriously remembered for going to the Hotel Utah for, shall we say, stronger beverages.

    Comment by J. Stapley — December 17, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  8. Hmm … Postum-flavored milkshakes?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 17, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

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