Betty Shepherd Musser photograph collection, 1890s-1940s  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Musser, Betty
Betty Shepherd Musser photograph collection
1890s-1940s (inclusive)
133 photographs
Collection Number
The Betty Shepherd Musser photograph collection contains photographs of various members of the Pyper, Shepherd, and Spencer families. The collection also contains photographs of productions at the Salt Lake Theatre and publicity shots of performers, particularly Anna Pavlova.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections.
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT
Telephone: 801-581-8863
Access Restrictions

Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Betty Musser Genealogy

George Dollinger Pyper (1860-1943), father


Emmaretta Whitney in 1883


George (Gordie) Whitney Pyper

Retta Pyper (d. 1964)


Harry Shepherd (1882-ca. 1970) in 1908


Betty Shepherd Musser

Dorothy Shepherd

Biography of George Dollinger Pyper

George Dolllinger Pyper was born November 21, 1860, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Alexander C. and Christiana D. Pyper. The Pyper home was a small log cabin located on Third South between Main and State Streets. The Victory Theater was later located on this site.

As a youth, Pyper helped his father raise silkworms in Brigham Young's cocoonery, and also herded cows in the Sugarhouse area. He attended the Sugarhouse and Twelfth Ward schools, and for a short time Brigham Young's private school. Pyper also studied law for two years at the University of Deseret.

Pyper met Emmaretta Smith Whitney, the daughter of Horace K. And Mary Cravath Whitney, while attending the University of Deseret. The two were married in the Endowment House on September 24, 1883, and had two children, Retta Pyper (Shepherd) and George (Gordie) Whitney Pyper.

In 1875, at age fourteen, Pyper worked as a Salt Lake Police court clerk; his father Alexander C. Pyper was a judge. When his father died in 1882 Pyper resigned as clerk. Between 1883 and 1887 Pyper served as a justice of the peace and performed over one hundred weddings. Between 1886 and 1890 Pyper served as a city alderman and as a police court judge.

In 1890, Pyper was appointed assistant secretary of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society and the secretary of the State Fair Organization. In the capacity of these two positions, Pyper organized the Utah Agricultural exhibition at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the Utah Exhibition at the Tennessee Centennial in 1897. Pyper considered both fairs successful in favorably promoting Utah in the minds of the American people.

In 1896 Pyper was called to join the Eastern States Mission of the LDS Church, along with Brigham H. Roberts, Melvin J. Ballard, and Edward Midgley. The four men were asked to present spiritual re-enactments of LDS religious events. Roberts was originally assigned as a narrator, with the other three men responsible for the song and prayer recital portions of the program.

Upon returning to Salt Lake City in 1897, Pyper was appointed to the Deseret Sunday School Union General Board. He spent many years working with the Sunday School programs and increasing membership. In 1918 Pyper was appointed to the board's General Superintendency, under Superintendent David O. McKay. In 1934 Pyper assumed position of general superintendent. One of Pyper's interests on the board was the publication of LDS life add religious messages through the medium of magazines. In 1890-1891 Pyper worked as an associate editor of The Contributor, and from 1910 until his death in 1943, was the editor of The Instructor.

Pyper devoted much of his life to music and the performing arts. Starting in 1885 with is first operatic role in Patience, Pyper sang as the lead tenor for the Salt Lake opera Company for the next twenty-five years. Pyper was also a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and toured with the Choir on trips to Chicago and San Francisco in 1893. In 1911 Pyper managed the Choir's trip to the National Irrigation Congress on New York, and arranged for performances en route.

Pyper managed the Salt Lake Theater from 1898 until it's demolition in 1929. He authored an informal history of the Theater, The Romance of an Old Playhouse, as a commemorative piece for the last performance on October 20, 1928. The book received many favorable reviews for its description of early Utah/Mormon cultural life, the construction of the theater, and the many events associated with a first-rate western playhouse. Over the years as its manager. Pyper met many famous performers who passed through Salt Lake, including native Utahn Maude Adams and the famous Russian Ballerina, Anna Pavlova.

In 1930 Pyper chaired the LDS Centennial Pageant Committee and organized the pageant, entitled "The Message of the Ages." Pyper considered its work his most significant achievement. In 1939, continuing his tradition of service to the LDS community, Pyper published a book entitled Stories of Latter-day Saints Hymns. The book relates the stories of how many of the hymns were created.

Pyper was an active and concerned member of his community. In addition to the many contributions mentioned above, Pyper was also a member of the Orpheus Club, the Philharmonic Society, and the Rotary Club. He also served terms as president of the Musical Arts Society and as president of the Salt Lake Civic Music Association.

George Dollinger Pyper died on January 17, 1943.

(Elizabeth Perkes researched the material included in this biography.)

Chronology-George Dollinger Pyper

1860 Born November 21 in Salt Lake City, Utah

1875-1882 Police court clerk

1883-1887 Judge for the Fifth District Court of Salt Lake City, Utah

1883 Married Emmaretta Smith Whitney, September 24

1885 First Operatic role in Patience

1890-1891 Associate editor of The Contributor

1890-1897 Assistant secretary of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society and secretary of the State Fair Organization

1893 Organized the Utah Agricultural Exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair

1896 Served an LDS Mission to the Eastern United States

1897 Organized the Utah Exhibition at the Tennessee Centennial

1897-1929 Managed the Salt Lake Theater

1910-1943 Editor of The Instructor

1918 Member of the Deseret Sunday School Union General Superintendency

1930 Chairman of the LDS Centennial Pageant Committee and produced "The Message of the Ages"

1934 General superintendency of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board

1939 Published Stories of Latter-Day Saint Hymns

1943 Died January 17 in Salt Lake City, Utah

Biography of Harry Shepherd

Harry Shepherd was born April 17, 1882, in Paris, Idaho, the son of William Nathaniel Shepherd and Emily Mary Phipp Shepherd. Shepherd's childhood was spent in Paris until age fifteen when moved to Salt Lake City to attend the Lowell School. After his graduation, Shepherd worked at Dinwoody Furniture and then at Bennett Glass and Paint Company for about five years.

Shepherd served an LDS Mission in 1905. Until 1908 he served as secretary to mission president S. F. Balliff, in Zurich, Switzerland. Upon returning to Salt Lake City, Shepherd married Retta Pyper in June 1908 at the Salt Lake Temple. The couple had two daughters, Dorothy and Betty. Retta Pyper Shepherd died May 29, 1964.

Following his return to Utah in 1908, Shepherd returned to work at Bennett Glass and Paint. When the company acquired a glass and paint department from Morrison Merril in September 1908, Shepherd was assigned manager of the new division, which retained the name of Salt Lake Glass and Paint Company. As the years passed, Shepherd bought a controlling interest in Salt Lake Glass and Paint Company and also a minority interest in Pratt and Lambert. When Shepherd retired in 1950 he sold Salt Lake Glass and Paint Company to Pratt and Lambert.

Harry Shepherd died February 1971.

(Elizabeth Perkes researched the material for this biography.)

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection was compiled by Betty Musser (Utah State Senator between 1933 and 1936), daughter of Harry and Retta Pyper Shepherd, granddaughter of George D. Pyper, and wife of Burton Musser. Materials in the collection include photographs of the Pyper, Shepherd, and John D. Spencer families. In addition, the collection contains photographs associated with the Salt Lake Theater, managed by George D. Pyper between 1897 and 1929.

The two boxes comprising the collection contain 133 prints and two negatives. Most of the photographs are Albumen type, usually in the form of cabinet portraits of cartes-de-visite. Many well known Salt Lake City portrait studios are represented in the collection, including those of Savage, Sainsbury, and Johnson, and Thomas. A smaller number of images are of modern type photographs taken in studios and by family members between the 1920s and 1940s. One tintype print of a Pyper family member is also included.

Box one contains portraits of George D. Pyper (circa 1890-1940), photographs taken on trips to Hawaii and Europe by George D. Pyper in the 1930s, membership photographs of the Deseret Sunday School Union, portraits of George D. Pyper's son, George (Gordie) W. Pyper, photographs of the younger Pypers' LDS Mission in Germany, and portraits of Pyper family members of the first, second and third generation (Alexander C., George D., and George W.) Box two contains portraits of Arthur Shepherd (uncle of Betty Shepherd Musser), portraits of the John D. Spencer family, a variety of identified and unidentified portraits, publicity photographs associated with the Salt Lake Theater, and miscellaneous photographs.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

George D. Pyper and Pyper Family PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1

Container(s) Description
Portraits (teen, young adult - albumen prints)
  • 1: Pre-1898
  • 2: 1898. Signed, "To Aunt Helen from George, Christmas 1898"
  • 3: Pre-1898
Portraits (teen, young adult - albumen prints)
  • 1-4: Pre-1898
Portraits (adult)
  • 1: Circa 1900
  • 2: 1901
Portraits (adult)
  • 1-3: 1910
Portraits (adult)
  • 1: 1911
  • 2: 1910
Portraits (adult)
  • 1: 1901
  • 2: 1910
  • 3: 1901. Handwritten: "Emmaretta Sep. 28, 1901"
Portraits (advanced age)
  • 1: Print of collection negative
  • 2: Circa 1930
  • 3: Circa 1940
Portraits (advanced age)
  • 1: Circa 1930
  • 2: Circa 1940
Europe and Hawaii
  • 1-3: Circa 1940. Next to Hawaiian grass hut
  • 4: Circa 1940. Four people on ship's deck playing shuffle-board
With others
  • 1: Deseret Sunday School Union Board, 1937
  • De Lore Nichols, Herbert B. Maw, Gerrit de Jong, Inez Whitbeck, Earl J. Glade, Marie Fox Felt, Charles J. Ross, Alfred C. Rees, F. Albert Hooper, Lynn S. Richards, Wallace F. Bennett, Lucy Gedge Sperry, Tracy Y. Cannon, Elbert D. Thomas, David A. Smith. Ruth Wheelon, Carl R. Eyring, George A. Holt, Horace H. Cummings, Adam S. Bennion, Milton Bennion, George D. Pyper, George R. Hill, Robert L. Judd, Llewelyn McKay, Howard R. Driggs, Frederick J. Pack, M. Lynn Bennion, Mark Austin, Junius R. Tribe, James L. Barker, P. Melvin Peterson, Albert Hamer Reiser, John F. Bennett, Frank K. Seegmiller, John T. Wahlquist, George H. Durham
  • 2-3: Officers of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board, 1937. Including: George D. Pyper, George R. Hill, Milton Bennion
  • 4: Officers of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board, 1937. Including: George D. Pyper, Milton Bennion, George R. Hill, Albert Hamer Reiser, John F. Bennett
With others
  • 1: George D. Pyper and Horace Ensign
  • 2: George D. Pyper, Maimie, "Ga", Rettie, Hattie and Horace Ensign. Handwritten: "August 29, 1906"
  • 3: George D. Pyper, ? McClelland, ? Asper
  • 1-2: George W. Pyper
  • 3: George W. Pyper, 5 years old
  • 4-5: George W. Pyper, baby
George W. Pyper
  • 1: Pre-1904
  • 2-6: Circa 1904
With others
  • 1: Elliot Clawson and unidentified woman, 1904-1907 LDS mission in Germany
  • 2: Elliot Clawson, 1904-1907 LDS Mission in Germany
  • 3: George W. Pyper, 1904-1907 LDS Mission in Germany
  • 4-5: George W. Pyper and two unidentified women, 1904-1907 LDS Mission in Germany
  • 6: Unidentified woman, 1904-1907 LDS Mission in Germany
  • 7: Two unidentified women, 1904-1907 LDS Mission in Germany
  • 8: George W. Pyper in play ensemble of "The Three Musketeers,"
  • 9: George W. Pyper and others, 1904-1907 LDS Mission in Germany; German Postcard
  • 10: George W. Pyper and Alex Preston
  • 11: George W. Pyper and Elliot Clawson, Stuttgart 1904-1907 LDS Mission; German Postcard, handwritten: message in German
  • 12: George W. Pyper, L. Smith, E. B. Sorenson, Elliott Clawson, Fred Bardun (?) Munchen 1906 LDS Mission; German Postcard
  • 13: George W. Pyper. L. Smith, E. B. Sorenson, Elliot Clawson, Fred Bardun (?), Munchen 1906 LDS Mission; German Postcard. Handwritten: names place and "June 4, 06"

Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1a

Container(s) Description
Pyper Familiy (albumen prints)
  • 1-2: Margaret Liddell O'Brien
  • 3: Catherine Pyper Liddell. Handwritten "George and Em"
  • 4: Catherine Pyper Liddell
  • 5: Kate Pyper Preston
  • 6: Margaret Pyper Torrence
Pyper Family
  • 1: Della T. Pyper
  • 2: Wedding photograph of Alexander C. and Helen Pyper. Handwritten: "Wedding pictures of Uncle Alex Pyper and his 2nd wife Helen"
  • 3: Wedding photograph of women including: "Helen Pyper, Joan Pyper, Kathryn Preston Johnson, Dorothy Sorenson, Kathy Thomas"
  • 4: Wedding group photograph including: Marie Pyper, Betty Sorenson, Dorothy Sorenson, Kate Pyper Preston, George D. Pyper, Walter Pyper, Joan Pyper, Kathryn Preston Johnson, Alexander C. and Helen Pyper
Pyper Family
  • 1: Genevieve Pyper and unidentified woman. Handwritten: note to "Emmie"
  • 2: Genevieve Pyper approximately 5 years old
  • 3: Rose Pyper
  • 4: John Pyper
Pyper Family
  • 1: Robert Pyper
  • 2: William Pyper, Kate Pyper Preston, Maggie Liddell O'Brien, George D. Pyper. Handwritten: "George and Em Pyper"
Pyper Family
  • 1: William Pyper. Handwritten: "Wm Pyper (Omaha) father of Tom and Jerry"
  • 2: William D. Pyper. Handwritten: "Wm D. Pyper brother of Geo. D."
  • 3-4: Robert Pyper
  • 5: Robert Pyper. Handwritten: "Uncle Rob (policeman)
  • 6: Robert Pyper. Handwritten: "Uncle Rob Pyper?"
  • 7: Aunt Deal-Uncle Rob's Wife

Arthur Shepherd photographs, John D. Spencer Family photographs and miscellaneous photographsReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 2

Container(s) Description
Arthur Shepherd
  • 1-2: Arthur Shepherd
  • 3: Arthur Shepherd, 17 years old
  • 4: Arthur Shepherd
  • 5: Arthur Shepherd, 39 years old
  • 6: Arthur Shepherd, approximately 8 years old
  • 7: Arthur Shepherd
Photographs-John D. Spencer and family
  • 1: Alice Young Spencer
  • 2: Unidentified woman. Handwritten: "Uncle John D. Spencer's daughter?"
  • 3: John D. Spencer
  • 4: John D. Spencer, photographed sketch by Kathleen West, Oct. 28th. Handwritten note to "Hattie Saville"
  • 5: Alice Young Spencer, baby
  • 6: Clarissa Young Spencer. Handwritten: "Clarissa Y. Spencer (Aunt Clint)"
  • 7: John D. Spencer and Daniel Spencer
  • 1: George D. And Emmaretta Pyper with Taysum Family, 1888. Handwritten on negative: "No.2 Taysums small family, City Creek Canyon August 1888"
  • 2: Zannie Irvine. Handwritten: "'Zannie' Irvine lived on A. St. Between 3rd and 4th Ave wife of Alonzo (?) Irvine."
  • 3: Barney Reiley, 1913. Handwritten note to George D. Pyper
Photographs-Identified (tintype and albumen)
  • 1: Charles Oliphant
  • 2: George Bourne. Handwritten: "Husband of Helen (Aunt Hen) Whitney Bourne"
  • 3: Rufus Hardy. Handwritten: "Genevieve Pyper Elder Rufus Hardy"
  • 4: Mrs. F.S. Richards and her two daughters
  • 5: Maud May Babcock, Honolulu 1922
  • 1: J. Golden Kimball
  • 2: Willard Young Kimball
  • 3: Barney Reilly, unidentified man and woman. Irish postcard. Printed on Postcard: "Photographed on the Banks O'Doon"
  • 4: Earl J. Glade and eight unidentified men. German postcard. Handwritten address to George W. Pyper
  • 5: William Young
  • 1: Unidentified girl
  • 2-3: Unidentified woman
  • 4: Unidentified man
  • 5: Brother and Sister Robert Patrick
Theatrical Photographs-George D. Pyper
  • 1-2: George D. Pyper, publicity photo
Theatrical Photographs-George D. Pyper
  • 1: George D. Pyper, "Mikado" publicity photo
  • 2: George D. Pyper and Edith Clawson, "Mikado" publicity photo
Theatrical Photographs-George D. Pyper
  • 1: George D. Pyper, Harry Sherman, John D. Spence and George Westwelt, "Romeo and Juliet" publicity photo
  • 2: George D. Pyper, "Robin Hood" publicity photo
Publicity Photographs-Pavlova
  • 1: Anna Pavlova
  • 2: Anna Pavlova. "Anna Pavlova-The Incomparable and her Ballet Ruuse"
Publicity Photographs-Pavlova
  • 1-2: Anna Pavlova circa 1910. "Anna Pavlova-The Incomparable and her Ballet Ruuse"
  • 3: Anna Pavlova circa 1910. "Anna Pavlova-The Incomparable and her Ballet Ruuse,". Handwritten: "Retta P. Shepherd"
Publicity Photographs-Pavlova
  • 1-3: Anna Pavlova circa 1910. "Anna Pavlova-The Incomparable and her Ballet Ruuse"
  • 4: Mikail Mordkine, 1911. Autographed
Salt Lake City
  • 1: House, circa 1890-1900 several people on the porch and in the front yard of a Salt Lake City house
  • 2: Salt Palace at night
  • 3: Lion and Beehive houses
  • 4: City view: "Main St. looking northwest toward clock on 1st South" Parade, May 30, 1907
  • 1: Photoprint of painting of child and dog
  • 2: Photoprint of painting of two girls, 1887

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Container(s): Name Index


Asper 1:11

Austin, Mark, 1:10


Babcock, Maude May, 2:4

Bardun (?), Fred, 1:14

Barker, James L., 1:10

Bennett, John F., 1:10

Bennett, Adam S., 1:10

Bennion, Adam S., 1:10

Bennion, M. Lynn, 1:10

Bennion, Milton, 1:10

Bourne, George, 2:4


Cannon, Tracy Y., 1:10

Clawson, Edith, 2:9

Clawson, Elliott, 1:14

Cummings, Horace H. 1:10


De Jong, Gerrit, 1:10

Driggs, Howard R. 1:10

Durham, George H. 1:10


Ensign, Hattie, 1:11

Ensign, Horace, 1:11

Eyring, Carl F., 1:10


Fox Felt, Marie, 1:10


"Ga", 1:11

Glade, Earl J., 1:10, 2:5


Hardy, Rufus, 2:4

Hill, George R., 1:10

Holt, George A., 1:10

Hooper, F. Albert, 1:10


Irvine, "Zannie" 2:3


Johnson, Kathryn Preston, 1:16

Judd, Robert L. 1:10


Kimball, J. Golden, 2:5:, 15

Kimball, Willard Young, 2:5


Liddell, Catherine Pyper, 1:15


Maime, 1:11

Maw, Herbert B., 1:10

McClelland, 1:11

McKay, Llewelyn, 1:10

Mordkine, Mikhail, 2:12


Nichols, De Lore, 1:10


O'Brien, Margaret Liddell, 1:15

Oliphant, Charles, 2:4


Pack, Frederick J., 1:10

Pavlova, Anna, 2:10-12

Peterson, P. Melvin., 1:10

Preston, Alex, 1:14

Preston, Kate Pyper, 1:15

Pyper, Alexander C., 1:16

Pyper, Della, 1:16

Pyper, Emmaretta, 2:3

Pyper, Genevieve, 1:17

Pyper, George D., 1:1-11, 2:7-9, 15

Pyper, George "Gordie" W., 1:12-14

Pyper, Helen, 1:16

Pyper, Joan, 1:16

Pyper, Marie, 1:16

Pyper, Robert, 1:18

Pyper, Rose, 1:17

Pyper, Walter, 1:16

Pyper, William, 1:18


Rees, Alfred C. 1:10

Reiley, Barney, 2:3, 5

Reiser, Albert Hamer, 1:10

Richards, Mrs. F. S., 2:4

Richards, Lynn S., 1:10

Ross, Charles J., 1:10


Seegmiller, Frank K., 1:10

Shepherd, Arthur, 2:1

Shepherd, Retta Pyper, 1:11

Smith, David A., 1:10

Smith, L., 1:14

Sorenson, Betty, 1:16

Sorenson, Dorothy, 1:16

Sorenson, E. B. 1:14

Spencer, Alice Young, 2:2

Spencer, Clarissa Young, 2:2

Spencer, John D., 2:2

Sperry, Lucy Gedge, 1:10


Taysum family, 2:3

Thomas, Elbert D., 1:10

Thomas, Kathy 1:16

Torrence, Margaret Pyper, 1:15

Tribe, Junius R., 1:10


Wahlquist, John T., 1:10

Wheelon, Ruth, 1:10

Witbeck, Inez, 1:10


Young, William, 2:5

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Theater--Utah--Salt Lake City--History--Photographs
  • Personal Names :
  • Pavlova, Anna, 1881-1931--Photographs
  • Pyper, George Dollinger, 1860-1943--Photographs
  • Corporate Names :
  • Salt Lake Theatre (Salt Lake City, Utah)
  • Family Names :
  • Pyper family--Photographs
  • Shepherd family--Photographs
  • Spencer family--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Albumen prints--1890-1940
  • Photographic prints--1890-1940
  • Portrait photographs