William "Bill" Gustave Larson papers, 1890-1995  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Larson, Bill (William Gustave) 1904-2001
William "Bill" Gustave Larson papers
1890-1995 (inclusive)
11 boxes, (2.5 linear feet)
Collection Number
The William "Bill" Gustave Larson papers (1890-1995) consist of correspondence, certificates, awards, news clippings and other materials. The collection also contains materials regarding Charles G. Larson and writings by others. Larson was a member of the Utah House of Representatives and was instrumental in the organization of the Metro Salt Lake Committee on Aging.
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

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.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William "Bill" Gustave Larson was born at Oakley, Idaho on July 2, 1904. He was the second son of Charles Gustave Larson of Moltropp, Sweden and Nancy Louisa Perry of Washington, North Carolina.

An all-round star athlete, Mr. Larson led the Oakley High School basketball team to the 1923 State Championships and was named All-State Center. After graduation was he hired on at U.S. Mining Co's Highland Boy Mine as a miner and a basketball player. In 1924, he signed on with Utah Cooper at the Bingham open pit mine and continued playing ball.

In 1925, the Utah Apex Mine started an athletic program and joined the Utah Copper League (other teams were Magna Mill, Arthur Mill and Bingham Mine). Mr. Larson was the first athlete hired by Apex. In 1926, the Apex basketball team won the Industrial League championship, then traveled by train to Kansas City for the National Finals.

In the spring of 1926, Bill Larson and Lucy Sorenson were introduced at Bingham and were married December 14, 1927, in the Salt Lake City and County Building. The couple's first apartment was in Bingham; they moved to Magna in 1928.

In August 1929, copper mills throughout the area closed down and Mr. Larson got a job with the Utah State Road Commission. In 1936 the Bingham Mine reopened as the Kennecott Copper Corporation and he returned to work at the Arthur Mill.

In 1946 he and his wife Lucy opened the Larson Drug at 9057 W. 2700 S, Magna. He was a member of BPOE No. 85, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 1760, and a former President of the Magna Lions Club.

His active participation in Democratic party politics, beginning in the 1930's, included service as Democratic Legislative Chairman, District Chairman, Committeeman and Delegate. Mr. Larson served as a Delegate to County, State and Democratic National Conventions. He was a member of the Young Democrats and the Jackson Democratic League.

In 1951, the Utah House convened with 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans. Mr. Larson was nominated for Speaker of the House by his Democratic colleagues (including Charles Romney, brother of yet-to-be Governor of Michigan George Romney, and Richard Howe, brother of yet-to-be Congressman Alan Howe). Clifton Kerr was nominated by the Republicans. After four days of tie votes, a deal was struck: Mr. Kerr was named Speaker; Mr. Larson was named Co-Speaker and his Party took control of the major and most minor committees. His portrait hangs in the State Capitol Building along with all former Speakers.

From 1951-52, Mr. Larson also served as House Democratic Floor Leader; in 1953, and he was elected Minority Floor Leader. Later, he chaired the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Labor and he served as a member of the State Legislative Coordinating Council.

Early in his House career, Mr. Larson was a chief architect of the legislation that provided for the establishment of special improvement districts outside incorporated areas for sewer and water systems. This enabled communities, like Magna, to create locally controlled sewer and water systems. He was instrumental in the final passage of the Firemen and Policemen Pension Act of 1955.

Mr. Larson began his Utah State Senate term in 1958 as a member of the Education Committee, where he fought for the school lunch program and increased state aid to school districts, and sponsored legislation to improve Utah's schools at all academic levels. He was a Democratic Delegate to five Western Conferences on education, highways, health and welfare.

As a Representative and a Senator, Mr. Larson opposed the Right to Work law at every opportunity. He sponsored bills to improve employees' health, working conditions and for workers' rights in industrial accidents. He was an active member and officer of Magna Division No. 506, Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen, and he Chaired the ORC and B Legislative Committee.

In 1960, Mr. Larson won a seat on the Salt Lake County Commission, the first Democrat and resident from west of Redwood Road to serve in decades. Under his direction, the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Department improved facilities and expanded recreational opportunities county-wide. Two years later, he became Chairman of the Commission and directed the modernization of the County Roads and Bridges Department. He knew that many Kennecott employees resided in south Salt Lake County and in Utah County, and he was instrumental in the planning and construction of a new east-west highway connecting with 8400 West which shortened the Bingham commute for hundreds of workers and relieved commuter traffic on Redwood Road and State Street.

After the Salt Lake County Hospital moved its operations from 21st South and State Street to the University of Utah, and during a term when Mr. Larson was not a Commissioner, the Salt Lake County Commission decided that the former hospital site ought to be sold. When Mr. Larson was re-elected to the Commission in 1966, he objected to the sale of this valuable public property and was instrumental in reversing the earlier decision. Instead, it was Mr. Larson's initiative that converted this facility into a public service center for county residents, resulting in significant savings to county taxpayers by obviating the need for constructing new facilities or leasing privately owned properties to house county government offices. Today, this property continues to provide facilities for Salt Lake County residents and stands as a tribute to Mr. Larson's foresight.

In 1966, Mr. Larson traveled with Jack Galavan, General Maxwell Rich, Governor Cal Rampton (and others) to Rome, Italy as a member of Utah's delegation to the Olympic Committee, an important early effort to put Utah on the international skiing map.

As Chairman of the Salt Lake County Commission in the 1960's, Mr. Larson served as Chairman of the Metropolitan Council on Aging. During his tenure, the first Meals on Wheels were served in Salt Lake County and ground was broken for the first senior citizen low cost housing.

As a delegate to the Utah State Bicentennial Governor's Conference on Aging in 1976, Mr. Larson was honored as the Outstanding Senior Citizen of Salt Lake County. Appointed by Governor Scott Matheson to Chair the Governor's Council on Aging, he was able to continue the work he loved. He also served as Chairman of the State Board of Aging. The United States Department of Health and Human Services awarded Mr. Larson a commendation for his work on behalf of the elderly. In 1987, at age 83, he retired from his official duties.

(Biographical sketch taken from Larson's obituary published in the Deseret News, March 4 2001.)

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The William "Bill" Gustave Larson papers (1890-1995) consist of correspondence, certificates, awards, news clippings and other materials. The collection also contains materials regarding Charles G. Larson and writings by others.

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

Initial Citation: William "Bill" Gustave Larson papers, ACCN 2633, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following Citations: ACCN 2633.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

I :  Personal and professional materialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
1950-1956; 1995
1 2
Greeting cards
1 3
Curriculum vita
1 4
Estate financial materials
1 5
Employee earnings and deductions, Kennecott Copper Corp., Department of Mills
1 6
Bank statements and checks
1 7
1 8
Larson Drug Store financial and business materials
1 9
Recommendations of the Utah Legislative Council
1 10
Oakley First Ward 72 year reunion
1 11
Oakley Pioneer Day and rodeo programs
1 12
1 13
1 14
News clippings

II :  Family materialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
Charles G. Larson, correspondence
2 2
Charles G. Larson, financial materials
2 3
Charles G. Larson, school compositions
2 4
Charles G. Larson, operator's license
2 5
Biography of Charles G. Larson
This biography was written by Erma and Carol Lowry.
2 6
Daniel Larson, report card
2 7
Dolores Varela Allred, " My Grandmother's House"
2 8
Linda Beauvais, " Larsons are Workers"
2 9
Mary Alice Tolman, " Life Story"
Certificates and plaques

III :  Personal and political documents and effectsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Personal documents and correspondence
Box Folder
4 1
4 2
60th anniversary cards and letters
4 3
4 4
Collected humor
4 5
Inauguration ticket
4 6
Medical papers
4 7
Financial documents
4 8
4 9
Time Magazine
4 10
Ebony Fashion Fair
4 11
Pro! Magazine
4 12
4 13
Articles and brochures
4 14
Inlaid Wood Work Catalogue
4 15
World map
Personal ephemera
Political documents, correspondence and ephemera
Box Folder
6 1
Political correspondence
6 2
Political invitations and brochures
6 3
Political documents
6 4
Utah political documents
6 5
Democratic Party documents
6 6
Kennecott Copper documents
6 7
6 8
Name tags
6 9
6 10
National Reaction Congress patch
6 11
Tales of Triumphant People
6 12
Utah State Legislature
6 13
Boom Towns of the Great Basin
Political ephemera

II:  News clippings and oversized materialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
News clippings
News clippings
News clippings
Oversized newspaper scrapbook
Oversized newspaper scrapbook
Portrait of Anders Gustave Larson
Portrait of a family member

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Legislators--Utah--Archives
  • Personal Names :
  • Larson, Bill (William Gustave) 1904-2001--Archives
  • Larson, Bill (William Gustave) 1904-2001--Family
  • Larson, Charles Gustave, |d 1873-1951 |v Archives
  • Corporate Names :
  • Utah. Legislature. House of Representatives--Records and correspondence
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Albums (Books)
  • Biographies
  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Ephemera
  • Legislative materials
  • Personal correspondence
  • Portraits