John David Larson papers

John David Larson papers

Dates: 1903-1927

The collection contains the journals, hymn notebook, and missionary notebook of J. David Larson and David H. Larson.

  • Extent: 1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Larson, John David, 1884-1952
  • Call Number: MSS 2286
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Papers of John David Larson must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial Citation: MSS 2286; John David Larson papers; 19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following Citations: MSS 2286, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Materials were transferred from the private collection of the donor.
Acquisition Information
Other Finding Aids
File-level inventory available online.
Subject Terms
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--Missions--Sweden; Larson, John David, 1884-1952--Diaries; Europe, Northern--Description and travel; Hymns, Swedish; Immigration and American Expansion; Long Beach (Calif.); Mormon Church--Missions--Sweden; Mormon missionaries--Sweden; Ostend (Belgium); Pioneers; Salt Lake City (Utah); Springville (Utah); Stockholm (Sweden)
Genre / Form
Diaries; Hymns; Notebooks
Processing Information
Processed; David J. Whittaker and Erin Chapman; 2001.
Appraisal Information
19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Larson (John David) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by David J. Whittaker and Erin Chapman
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-08-19T10:37-0600
Finding Aid Language
Finding aid encoded in English.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

John David Larson was the son of Lars John Larson and Kristina Olson, two immigrants who joined the Mormon Church in Sweden. He was born on May 11, 1884. He served a mission to Scandinavia from 1903-1905 and married Thora Lesetta Hafen on September 28, 1905. He also served as Executive Vice President of the Long Beach, California Chamber of Commerce. He died on September 15, 1952.

John David Larson was born on May 11, 1884 to Lars John Larson and Kristina Olson, two immigrants from Sweden who met and found love in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the eldest child of his family, having eleven brothers and sisters. Some years after he was born, his parents purchased a home in the south east corner of Salt Lake City and moved into the Sugar House Ward .

Growing up in Salt Lake, he had many opportunities to mingle in the LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) community. He worked at Deseret News several years before his mission and he also had many female friends. One of the girls that John David met would eventually become his wife. Her name was Thora Lesetta Hafen, the daughter of the famous Springville artist, John Hafen. They met in May 1901 and eventually married on September 28, 1905 in the Salt Lake Temple.

On January 20, 1903, John David received a call to serve in the Scandinavian Mission due to a shortage of missionaries at the time. He left on February 27, that same year and had prepared himself accordingly. Like most missionaries, his mission was a growing experience and he grew to love the people he was serving. He served his mission well and returned on May 12, 1905.

He married that same year to his sweetheart “Zetta” as he called her. They then moved to Sugar City, Idaho so that he could take a managerial position for the Sugar City Times. He and his family eventually settled in Long Beach, California while he served as Executive Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce. Not much is known about his life, only that he died on September 15, 1952.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts