Carma de Jong Anderson

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Carma de Jong Anderson Mormon director

Dr. Carma Rose de Jong Anderson (born: Provo, UT, 1930) has, during her prolific artistic life, been a writer, producer, director, costumer, modern dancer, choreographer and artist. Over the years she has been a noted watercolorist in one-person shows and large galleries. An actress since childhood, she has also been a theater designer. Her poetry has been published in academic journals and magazines, most recently in the 2015 Utah State Poetry Anthology.

Especially known for her skill in hand-sewn historic clothing and textiles for LDS Historic Sites, her last site production was installed in 2015 at Harmony, PA, USA. Carma is available at no cost to advise Mormon artists, sculptors, writers and film-makers who may, in ignorance, portray LDS historic costumes as too simplistic, fantastic, or simply wrong for their time. Owning nearly 1000 books on historic costume and art, she is furthering this effort for upcoming generations by producing an exhaustive, illustrated reference book of historic clothing styles from late 1830 to 1870. It shows authentic styles worn by U.S. citizens and immigrants from Britain, Europe and Scandia, both of the wealthy and those in many menial occupations. Carma’s parents were Gerrit de Jong Jr. from Amsterdam, Holland, and Salt Laker Rosabelle Winegar. Carma’s father, a composer and linguist, was the founding dean of Brigham Young University’s College of Fine Arts in 1925. Her mother was an oil painter of great personal sweetness. Throughout life, Carma craved learning. Her mother, Rosabelle, read her much great poetry in early childhood. Her father provided encyclopedias, atlases, and any book she ever wanted (which her husband continues to do). As youngsters, Carma and her older sisters, Nola and Belle, traveled much in the US with their parents. After her mother’s death when she was only nine years old, the sisters continued to travel widely with their father, who was on the General Board of the LDS Sunday School in addition to his BYU duties. On her many trips she was exposed to the various arts of many countries and cultures. During her 17th year she lived and taught with her father in Brazil for the US State Department. Through her life and travels she loved trying to learn four different languages, and even now can mimic an assortment of foreign accents.

In 1951, Carma married Dr. Richard Lloyd Anderson, who became a well-known expert and published author of ancient histories and the lives of Joseph Smith and other early Church leaders. While their four children were young, Richard led the family in trips across the USA to discover LDS and US history. Both Carma and Richard taught in the BYU Salzburg Semester Abroad, which included extensive family travel in Europe and Britain. Together they toured architectural centers and grand art museums, also visiting far-flung branches of the Church. Her church service continued as her family grew up and while she simultaneously continued classes everywhere they lived, and finished her own PhD.

Carma has always been a devout member of Jesus Christ's restored The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|Church, and attended Brigham Young University from 1948 to 1976, taking courses in twenty subjects and graduating with a BA in art and modern languages. In 1992, she was awarded a PhD in Historic Clothing with a minor in Modern Languages. For her doctoral dissertation she received the Reese Monetary Award at BYU, chosen out of 500 theses and dissertations with subjects referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ever in love with learning, Carma has taken credit classes throughout the more than 65 years of her marriage. She has studied history, languages, Asian literature and every kind of ancient and modern art created by men and women of renown.

As her knowledge of authentic world costume expanded, Carma was called upon to design textile items for LDS Historic Sites. It was difficult to find rare seamstresses and tailors capable in the authentic hand-sewing of hundreds of items. Seeking out correct linens and wools was a challenge, and even shoes had to be handmade by experts. Paid assistants helped hand-sew many of the hundreds of items of clothing, curtains and other household linens Carma personally designed and cut.

In 2001 Carma donated 5,000 pieces of her own 60-year collection of original historic clothes and authentic accessories to the BYU Fine Arts Collection. Throughout the years she has received special recognition from local, state and national cultural organizations. She continues to sew quality clothing reproductions. Sixteen ensembles of her international Folk Costumes were used during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. They were featured in performances of "Light of the World” at the opening of the new LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.