Wanda Clayton Thomas papers, 1839-1990

Overview of the Collection

Thomas, Wanda Clayton, 1912-1996
Wanda Clayton Thomas papers
1839-1990 (inclusive)
9 linear feet, (17 boxes)
Collection Number
MS 0298
The Wanda Clayton Thomas papers (1839-1980s) contain materials concerning Wanda Clayton Thomas (1912-1996) and her heritage, concentrating on the descendants of Newell H. Clayton.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Wanda Clayton Thomas was a teacher of speech and theater for over thirty years. Although the greater part of those years were spent at the University of Utah, her influences and contributions are international. She began her teaching career in Sacramento, California, taught in Utah, and later in Guam. Aside from teaching, Thomas performed in many theatrical productions and was dubbed by Lila Eccles Brimhall, a well-known Utah actress, as "the best actress in Utah."

Wanda Thomas was born on 6 December 1912, in Salt Lake City, Utah. In a handwritten autobiography present in the collection, Thomas describes her love for the theater as starting when her mother began teaching her "recitations." Thomas had always dreamed of being an actress and was in "every play" in high school. At the University of Utah she was trained by actress Maud May Babcock and received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from that institution in 1934, 1945, and 1957 respectively.

After obtaining her master's degree from the University of Utah, Thomas moved to Sacramento, California, where she was a stagecraft, lighting, voice, and acting instructor, as well as a director of theater from 1946 to 1947. She was also invited to join a traveling acting company on the east coast of the United States, but declined due to her engagement to Richard E. Howe (died 1960). Thomas then moved back to Utah and became an instructor for the Department of Speech at the University of Utah from 1947 to 1956, and served as an assistant professor for the same department from 1956 to 1961. She became an associate professor in 1962 but retired from the University of Utah in 1964 when she was married to her second husband, Richard E. Mallonee. Thomas returned to Utah and to teaching several years later when her husband died. She was made a professor in 1969. During the late 1960s and early 1970s Thomas found time to write, manage, and produce the "American Poet Series," a series of films documenting the lives of several poets. These films were shown throughout the United States and Hawaii. From 1970 to 1972 she was a professor of speech at the University of Guam, then returned to the University of Utah to be a professor of speech communication until 1978.

Thomas was also involved in many social groups, including the Maud May Babcock Reading Arts Society, the Speech Arts Guild, Phi Kappa Phi, and several women's organizations, many of which are represented in the collection. She was active in the Democratic Party and authored several plays, including Three Dramas from Mormon Country. Wanda Thomas died on 26 March 1996, in a car crash. She had two children.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Wanda Clayton Thomas papers (1839-1980s) contain materials concerning Wanda Clayton Thomas (1912-1996) and her heritage, concentrating on the descendants of Newell H. Clayton. The collection is divided into two sections: the first concentrates on the Clayton and Ellerbeck families while the second section concerns Wanda Clayton's personal life and teaching career. Included are correspondence, genealogical information, diaries, writings, news clippings, notebooks, autobiographies, poetry, teaching materials, and scripts for the "American Poet Series."

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library's Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Organized in two series: I. Clayton and Ellerbeck Family Papers; II. Wanda Clayton Thomas Papers.

Acquisition Information

Boxes 1-5 were donated in 1989-1990 by Wanda Clayton.

Boxes 6-17 were donated in December 1997 by Mike Thomas.

Processing Note

Processed by Richard Saunders and Lisa Townsned in 1998.

Click here to read a statement on harmful language in library records.

Separated Materials

See also the Wanda Clayton Thomas photograph collection (P0472) in the Multimedia Division of Special Collections. A plat map of Salt Lake City, dated 1888, is located in the Manuscripts Division's map case.

Related Materials

Forms part of the Aileen H. Clyde 20th Century Women's Legacy Archives.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Family PapersReturn to Top

The first five boxes of this collection consist of materials pertaining to the Clayton and Ellerbeck families, of which Wanda Clayton Thomas was a descendant. This section represents the original collection previous to the donation of Wanda Thomas' personal materials. This section dates from 1839 to the 1980s and includes, for the most part, personal information on various individuals. Although some family information is included in personal diaries, family pedigree charts and other genealogical documents are concentrated in box 1, folders 1-9. An original diary kept by Sarah Jarrold Hyder Free is located in box 1, folder 14, but patrons are requested to use the photocopy available in folders 12-13. Other documents are in photocopy and/or typescript form, such as William Clayton's diary, also in box 1. Clayton's original diary is located at the LDS Church's Historical Department. Documents pertaining specifically to Newell H. Clayton, located in boxes 2-3, focus on his missionary experiences for the LDS Church in England. A letterbook and notebook, located in folders 4 and 7 of box 2, are photocopies of the originals. Box 4 focuses on Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton, and contains personal as well as family information. Folder 13 of that box houses a tattered edition of The Progressive Speaker, used by Alice for a class taught by John R. Park at the University of Utah. Box 5 also houses personal information, including writings by Wanda Clayton Thomas, located in folders 5-6. Of interest is an epaulet from Sarah Free's father's military uniform, found in box 5, folder 13.

Container(s) Description Dates
Family Information
Box Folder
1 1
Pedigree Charts and Family History
1 2-7
Family Group Sheets
1 8
Photograph Photocopies
1 9
English Parish Maps
1 10-11
Sarah Jarrold Hyder Free, Correspondence
1 12-14
Sarah Jarrold Hyder Free, Diary
These folders contain the original and a photocopy of the diary. It comments on her spiritual needs and general activities, and tells of her baptism into the LDS Church.
1 15
Sarah Jarrold Hyder Free, Diary
1 16
Sarah Jarrold Hyder Free, Genealogical Notes
1 17
Sarah Jarrold Hyder Free, Patriarchal Blessing and John Taylor Album Sentiment
1849; 1957
1 18
William Clayton, Correspondence and Poem
1 19-20
William Clayton, Diaries
Present are typescripts of the originals housed in the LDS Church's Historical Department. See also Ms 55, volume 2.
April 1852-March 1853
1 21
William Clayton, Family List and Birth and Marriage Information
1 22
William Clayton, Territorial Appointment Certificates
These are copies. Originals are available with permission from the Manuscripts Division Head.
1 23
William Clayton, Funeral Proceedings, News Clipping
1 24
Rose Marie Hart Clayton, "History of Ruth Moon Clayton"; and "Story of Mother Moon," Typed Extract from The Women of Mormondom
1 25
Niels Christian Sorensen Diary
Written in Danish longhand, this diary contains family information on the last page.
1 26
Thomas W. Ellerbeck
Included are invitations and cards, a marriage record, letters, and diary entries.
1850s; 1902
Family Information, Newell H. Clayton
Box Folder
2 1-3
These folders include correspondence from Clayton's service as an LDS missionary. Partial letter extracts are also included.
2 4
This is a photocopy of the original in which Clayton copied letters written to cousin B. M. Ellerbeck while an LDS missionary in England.
May-November 1872
2 5
This is a pocket diary Clayton kept while serving an LDS mission in England.
2 6
Included is autobiographical and family information, as well as records of traveling expenses as a missionary.
July 1872-February 1875
2 7
Missionary entries constitute the first part of this original notebook while the rest of it functions as a poetry and composition book. Pages have been cut and torn out irregularly, sometimes in parts. Sometime in the past, the pages were used as a cutting table and are now a lacework of cross cuts.
circa 1873
2 8
Account Ledger
A variety of entries, including family expenses, are included.
3 1
circa 1879
3 2
Accounts Ledger
Includes a partial inventory of, and information on, disbursements from what is probably the 1904 estate of his late wife, Alice E. Clayton.
3 3
Missionary Certificates
These are copies. Originals are available with permission from the Manuscripts Division Head.
3 4
Stock Certificates
3 5
3 6
Memorial Tributes
3 7
Office Certificate No. 539
This is a copy. The original is available with permission from the Manuscripts Division Head.
Family Information, Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton
Box Folder
4 1-5
Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton, Correspondence
4 6-7
Ellerbeck Family History and Autobiography
Please use photocopy in folder 6.
4 8
Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton Land Interest Records
Certificate no. 1478 is a copy. The original is available with permission from the Manuscripts Division Head.
circa 1902
4 9
Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton, Will
4 10
Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton
Receipts, cabinet memorial cards, and a patriarchal blessing by John Smith are included.
4 11
Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton School Exercise, Poetry, Composition, and Family Record Book
circa 1860s
4 12
Alice Rosa Ellerbeck Clayton Estate Account Book
4 13
The Progressive Speaker
A book of elocution. The author is unknown due to the deteriorated state of the book.
Family Information
Box Folder
5 1
Wit Ellerbeck
Letters and a memorandum concerning the town of Sanpete, Utah, are present.
5 2
Brigham M. Ellerbeck
Letter from Alice R. Clayton.
1896; 1901
5 3
Mary Ellerbeck Letter to Miss Witton
5 4
Martha Leland Clayton Hirst
Rememberances and notes about Hirst's career with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are included.
5 5
Wanda C. Thomas, Three Dramas from Mormon Country
5 6
Wanda C. Thomas, "Vengeance is Mine"
circa 1956
5 7
News clippings gathered from Utah newspapers, most concerning the Ellerbeck and Clayton relations and descendants, are present.
circa 1920-1940
5 8-10
News Clippings
Most of the clippings concern family members. Obituaries are also included in these folders.
5 11
Quotes and Poems
5 12
Programs and Announcements
1882; 1911
5 13
Includes an epaulet from Sarah Free's father's military uniform.

Personal and Teaching DocumentsReturn to Top

This section, dating from 1914 to 1990, focuses mainly on Wanda Thomas' teaching career. Personal documents, however, can be found in boxes 6-7, including hand-written autobiographical notes in box 6, folder 3 in which Wanda describes her interest in theater and later in radio drama. She also describes some of her education at the University of Utah and mentions her two marriages. Boxes 8-9 concentrate on Wanda's speech classes taught at the University of Utah. Folders 1-4 of box 8 contain materials relating to other universities in Utah and Arizona, in addition to the University of Utah. The notecards present in boxes 10-11 contain information on various subjects, with a focus on speech and poetry. Most of the literature samples present in box 12 are photocopies from anthologies and, therefore, are not dated. Teaching materials on poetry, including documents on style, symbolism, and interpretation, have been kept separate from documents relating to individual poets. Documents relating to Wanda's "American Poet Series" are present in boxes 14-16. Folders 1-4 of box 14 contain background information to the series while the rest of the folders contain scripts, notes, and poetry samples concerning individual poets. These folders are listed alphabetically by poet. "The Paper Mill" and theater scenes in box 17 are housed together due to their oversize nature.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
6 1-2
6 3
Biographical Material
6 4
6 5
Wanda Clayton Thomas, "The Weber Report"
6 6
Wanda Clayton Thomas, "Interpretation of Narrative Poetry"
6 7
Wanda Clayton Thomas, "Audience-Speaker Relationship"
6 8
Wanda Clayton Thomas, "Edna St. Vincent Milllay"
6 9
Research Paper, Outlines, and Notes
6 10
Paper Draft
6 11
Speech Textbook Materials
6 12
Credit Transcripts
6 13
Retention, Promotion, and Tenure Guidelines
6 14
Democratic Convention Platform
Wanda was the Salt Lake County delegate for the Democratic Convention.
6 15-22
Maud May Babcock Reading Arts Society
Included are a constitution and by-laws, a celebration booklet, event programs, announcements, name lists, news clippings, and other documents.
6 23
Speeches and Programs Honoring Maud May Babcock
7 1-7
Speech Arts Guild
Correspondence, handbooks, meeting minutes, programs, announcements, and newsletters are included in these folders.
7 8
Utah State Poetry Society Workshop, Speech
7 9-10
Women's Conference
7 11-12
Woman's Changing Role
Stories, news articles, and notes are present.
7 13
Lila Eccles Brimhall
Memorial remarks and a news clipping.
7 14
News Clippings
7 15
Teaching Materials
Box Folder
8 1-4
Reader's Theater
These folders also include programs and pamphlets.
8 5
Composite Course
8 6
Speech 1
8 7
Speech 9
8 8
Speech 10
8 9
Speech 12
8 10
Speech 13
8 11
Speech 24B
8 12
Speech 30
8 13
Speech 31
8 14
Speech 40
8 15
Speech 71H
8 16-17
Interdepartmental Honors Seminar 101H
8 18-20
Honors Colloquia Course
circa 1963
8 21-23
Speech 103
9 1
Speech 132
9 2
Speech 140
9 3
Speech 141
9 4
Speech 145
9 5
Speech 202
9 6
Speech 541
9 7
9 8
Speech Guidelines, Outlines and Notes
9 9
Speech Organizational Patterns
9 10
Persuasion Speech Guidelines
9 11
Speech Listening Reports
9 12
Research on Meaninglessness of Speech Terms in Freshman Convocation, Surveys
9 13
Articulation Drills
9 14
Pronunciation Drills
9 15
Voice and Diction, Diagrams and Lists
9 16
Language, News Clippings and Writings
9 17
Reading Structures, Diagrams
9 18
Analysis and Interpretation, Notes
9 19
List of English Sounds
9 20
Discussion Charts, Quizzes, and Suggestions
9 21
Outlines and Abstracts
9 22-23
Student Papers
9 24
Nature Television Script
9 25
Judith's Television Script
9 26
Voice Films, Notes
9 27
Log Report
9 28
Statistic News Clippings
9 29
List of Library and Dictionary References
9 30
List of Texts in Interpretation and Speech
9 31
Dissertation Guidelines
9 32
Graduate Study in Interpretation, Reading List
9 33
Literature Event Brochures
9 34
Utah Speech Teacher, Vol. 1, No. 1
Box Folder
12 1
12 2
12 3
12 4-6
12 7
Twelve Pound Look
12 8
Death of Abraham Lincoln
12 9
Heaven and Hell
12 10
12 11
The World of Carl Sandburg
12 12
A Doll's House
12 13
12 14
The Price
12 15
Albert Camus, "The Stranger"
12 16
Richard R. Anderson, "The Wind and the Rings"
12 17
Katherine Mansfield, "The Daughters of the Late Colonel"
12 18
"The White Kid Gloves"
12 19
Vittorio Conte Alfieri, "Virginia"
12 20
Pierto Metastasio, "Dido"
12 21
A. T. W. Simeons, Excerpts from Man's Presumptuous Brain
12 22
Erich Neumann, Excerpts from The Great Mother
12 23
Short Stories by Dorothy Parker
12 24
Short Stories by Carlo Goldoni
12 25
Short Stories
12 26
Box Folder
13 1
Pressure Charts of American Poets
13 2
Lyric vs. Narrative
13 3
Rhythmic Movement
13 4
13 5
Group Sequence
13 6
Oral Interpretation of Poetry
13 7-9
"American Poet Series"
Box Folder
14 1-3
14 4
Introductory Information
14 5-9
Conrad Aiken
14 10-11
Stephen Vincent Benet
14 12
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
14 13
e. e. cummings
14 14
James Dickey
14 15-16
Emily Dickinson
14 17
Kenneth Fearing
14 18
Robert Frost
15 1-2
Oliver Wendell Holmes
15 3
Robinson Jeffers
15 4
John Keats
15 5-7
Nicholas Vachel Lindsay
15 8-9
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
15 10
Edgar Lee Masters
15 11
Phyllis McGinley
15 12
Edna St.Vincent Millay
15 13
Edgar Allen Poe
15 14
Edwin Arlington Robinson
15 15-16
Theodore Roethke
16 1-2
Carl Sandburg
16 3
Karl Shapiro
16 4
W. D. Snodgrass
16 5
Paul Verlaine
16 6-9
Walt Whitman
16 10
Tennessee Williams
16 11
William Carlos Williams
16 12
James Wright
16 13
Teacher's Guide Books
16 14
Presentation Samples
16 15
Program Scripts and Directions
16 16
16 17
16 18
16 19
Receipts and Invoices
16 20
Annenburg/CPB Project Proposal
16 21
Oversize Documents
Box Folder
17 1
"The Paper Mill"
17 2
Theater Scenes
This folder contains photocopies of illustrations and photographs depicting views of the Salt Lake Theater, the Social Hall, and the old Tabernacle.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Actresses--Utah--Archives
  • Elocution--Study and teaching--Utah
  • Latter Day Saint missionaries--19th century--Archives
  • Latter Day Saint women--Archives
  • Latter Day Saints--Utah--History--Sources
  • Public speaking
  • Theater--Study and teaching--Utah
  • Women in the theater--Utah--Archives

Personal Names

  • Babcock, Maud May, 1867-1954
  • Clayton, Alice Rosa Ellerbeck, 1857-1904--Archives
  • Clayton, Alice Rosa Ellerbeck, 1857-1904--Family--Archives
  • Clayton, Newell Horace, Sr., 1847-1941--Archives
  • Clayton, Newell Horace, Sr., 1847-1941--Family--Archives
  • Thomas, Wanda Clayton, 1912-1996--Archives
  • Thomas, Wanda Clayton, 1912-1996--Family--Archives

Corporate Names

  • University of Utah. Department of Theatre--Alumni and alumnae--Archives
  • University of Utah. Department of Theatre--Faculty--Archives

Form or Genre Terms

  • Biographies
  • Business correspondence
  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Conference materials
  • Diaries
  • Family histories
  • Financial records
  • Genealogical tables
  • Instructional and educational works
  • Maps
  • Personal correspondence
  • Photocopies
  • Plays (Literary genre)
  • Poetry
  • Speeches