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
Mr. and Mrs. Davis are spending their honeymoon
at Camp Lake and will be at home to their friends after October
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
Donald M. Swarthout, University of Kansas, Kappa, 1933-1937