Donald M. Swarthout


In 1923, Donald Swarthout, a pianist and conductor, was appointed Dean of Fine Arts a post he served until 1951. He also served as President of the Music Teachers National Association and was Director of the KU Concert & Chamber Series, which became the foundation of the arts programming for the Lied Center.

Fine Arts Dean Donald M. Swarthout directs KU’s Concert Choir circa 1950. In 1951, composer Virgil Thompson praised the university in the New York Sun, calling KU a “major musical center for half a century.” University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries


The Lawrence Journal of June 12, 2003 listed the following as happening 25 years ago: June 12, 1977 - Donald Swarthout, 77, for many years the noted dean of the School of Fine Arts at Kansas University, died in Washington, D.C., where he had lived since retiring from KU in 1955. However, the ages don't seem to quit match up with the other references. Wedding performer at age 6? Daughter at age 13? Dean of fine arts at age 23? All possible, but rather unlikely.

Donald Swarthout (KU Dean of Fine Arts, 1923-1951)
Daughter was Evelyn Swarthout married to Patrick Hayes
Her son was Bryant Hayes (KU graduate 1962)
He was the Father of Emma Hayes (KU Freshman, 2002).

It is possible that Donald M. Swarthout graduated from Paw-Paw High School in 1902.

Earl G. Davis to Tessie Bryant

One of the prettiest and most delightful home weddings of the season took place at the home of F. B. Bryant, at two o'clock last Thursday afternoon (Aug. 30, 1906) where Miss Tessie Bryant was united in marriage to Mr. Earl G. Davis, both of this place.

The ceremony was performed by Rev. H. J. Wheeler, pastor of the Baptist Church of our little city, in the presence of members of the families of the bride and groom. Mr. Don Swarthout presided at the piano. Promptly at two o'clock as the tones of the wedding march were heard, the bride and groom entered the parlor and took their position beneath a beautiful arch of smilax and roses, and in a brief and impressive ceremony were pronounced husband and wife.

The bride was beautiful in a gown of white dotted swiss and carried a bouquet of bridal roses, which later in the afternoon she threw among the assembled guests. Miss Ethel Bryant of Malta, being the lucky girl to catch the prize.

After the usual congratulations the company was seated around daintily spread tables and served with the most delicious of refreshments. The rooms were tastefully decorated with golden rod, smilax and ferns. On a table in the back parlor were displayed many beautiful presents of silver, cut glass, china and table linen.

The newly wedded couple did not escape without the customary rice shower, and shoes being tied to their carriage.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis have been residents of the vicinity of Paw Paw all of their lives; the bride is an accomplished young lady and by her bright and happy disposition has won host of friends. The groom is one of our promising young men of the town with fine prospects, at present being a member of the firm of Davis & Douglass, who enjoy a flourishing business.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis are spending their honeymoon at Camp Lake and will be at home to their friends after October 1st.

During the afternoon Mr. Don Swarthout gave some of his choicest selections, both vocal and instrumental. At a late hour the happy company departed, having spent one of the most pleasant afternoons imaginable.

The TIMES joins their numerous friends in extending congratulations and well wishes.

Contributed by Marilyn Widler



Pi Kappa Lambda - National Music Honor Society
National Presidents

Donald M. Swarthout, University of Kansas, Kappa, 1933-1937



This page was created and Copyrighted by Mark Swarthout, 2005
The last update to the page was on May 5, 2005
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