When Bryan Larson registered for RootsTech 2014 he did not realize that he would discover a treasure trove of stories at the conference to document, preserve, and share accurately and purposefully. Years ago, Bryan had heard about a family member who was a famous high jumper. Since Bryan had been a high jumper in high school, this piqued his interest but he had no leads to document the story.
Meandering through the RootsTech Expo Hall, Bryan saw the name “Clinton Larson” on a banner near the booth of Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library. He stopped. He asked the attendants if they knew if this was the same Clinton Larson that had been a famous high jumper. They responded that they did not know, but that they thought he had been an athlete.
With excitement and curiosity, Bryan searched online for “Clinton Larson Harold B. Lee.” He found a catalog listing for a Clinton Larson Collection. It was held by the L. Tom Perry Special Collections housed in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. This collection contains numerous file folders, glass slides, medals, awards, passports, religious documents, patches, trophies, uniforms, and shoes in approximately a dozen boxes. In addition to this family history gold mine, Bryan also found that he has additional living cousins!
Since RootsTech 2014, it has been confirmed that Clinton Larson indeed took first place for the United States in the Inter-Allied Games at Pershing Stadium in Paris, France during the Summer of 1919. He also served as an official in the 1932 Summer Olympic Games that were held in Los Angeles, California. In reviewing the available resources, Bryan also learned of another accomplished connection, a poet and playwright named Clinton Foster Larson who was the son of Clinton Larson and the former Lillian Foster.
When I last spoke with Bryan Larson, he was thrilled to finally be able to piece together the family story he thought was lost and discover additional stories to document, preserve, share, and treasure.
The L. Tom Perry Special Collections is located on the first floor of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. This repository holds collections relating to Arts & Communications, Literature, Music, BYU, Mormonism, Utah, and the West. It is open to the public for research. For more information visit their website.