Larson, Laurence Marcellus (1868-1938) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Larson, Laurence Marcellus (1868-1938)

Historical Note:

Laurence Marcellus Larson (1868-1938) was associate (1907-08); assistant professor (1908-12); associate professor (1912-13); professor (1913-37) of history; and head of the Department of History (1920-1937) at the University of Illinois (UI). He was a Norwegian-American historian and educator best known for his contributions to medieval Scandinavian and English history.

Larson was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1868. He emigrated with his family to the United States in 1870 and grew up in Iowa. He earned his bachelor's degree at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1894, and subsequently served as principal at Scandinavia Academy (1894-99). Larson matriculated at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he obtained a master's degree (1900) and a Ph.D. (1902); his dissertation was titled, "The King's Household in England Before the Norman Conquest." After teaching history at the high school level in Milwaukee (1902â??07), Larson joined the UI faculty in 1907. His academic interests were wide ranging, including medieval English and Scandinavian history, early Scandinavian law, Norwegian-American history, and World War I and European politics. His publications include "The Household of the Norwegian Kings in the Thirteenth Century" (1908); "The Political Policies of Cnut as King of England" (1910); A Short History of England and the British Empire (1915); Konungs Skuggsjá (The King's Mirror), translated into English from Old Norse (1917); "The Changing Fortunes of the Great War" (1918); "The Changing West" (1925); "Problems of the Norwegian Church in the Eleventh Century" (1935); and The Log Book of a Young Immigrant (1939). He served as Trustee of the Illinois State Historical Library (1923-38) and as president of the American Historical Association (1938) prior to his death.     

Larson was married to Lillian Mae Dodson in 1895, and together they had one daughter. He died in Urbana, Illinois, in 1938.


Wikipedia, s.v. "Laurence M. Larson," accessed May 21, 2020,

"Laurence M. Larson, Retired Professor Served for 30 Years at Illinois University," New York Times, March 10, 1938, accessed May 21, 2020,

Laurence M. Larson, The Log Book of a Young Immigrant (Northfield, Minnesota: Norwegian American Historical Association, 1939). Accessed May 21, 2020,

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