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Willard and Celia Luce collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 6784

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains various book manuscripts and related correspondence between Willard and Celia and potential publishers. The books include The Mystery of the Stolen Bicycles, William Henry Jackson: Pioneer Artist and Photographer, Troubled Land, and Utah!. In addition there are several short story manuscripts. Contains manuscripts for books, particularly Utah!, a textbook used in fourth grade classrooms across the state of Utah. It also contains drafts of multiple short stories written by both Willard and Celia. Related correspondence is also included in these boxes. There is also a parachute handkerchief included, it was given to Celia as a gift from one of her students. These boxes also contain various pamphlets, magazines, and poetry booklets. Also included is a Provo High School yearbook from 1933 and a booklet for a 50 year reunion, held in 1983, for the graduating class of 1933.


  • 1929-2008


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Willard and Celia Luce collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Willard Ray Luce, Jr. (1914-1990) was an educator, writer, and photographer.

Willard Ray Luce, Jr., educator, writer, and photographer, was born September 18, 1914, in Price, Utah. Willard was the son of Willard Ray Luce, Sr., and Rachel Olsen Luce. He married Celia Geneva Larsen on June 3, 1940, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Willard wrote numerous stories and articles that were published in various magazines and newspapers, as well as several text books. He was also a prolific photographer, illustrating many of his text books and magazine articles with his own photographs. His interest in education and nature photography combined when he wrote and illustrated fifteen film strips for children. He died October 7, 1990.

Biographical History

Celia Geneva Larsen Luce (1914-2008) was an educator and writer.

Celia Geneva Larsen Luce was born December 3, 1914 in Provo, Utah. She was the daugher of Bent Franklin Larsen and Martha Geneva Day Larsen. She married Willard Ray Luce Jr., on June 3, 1940 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Willard and Celia were the parents of four children, Willard Ray Luce III, Ralph Luce, Loretta Luce Evans, and Eric Luce. Ralph and Eric died as babies. Celia earned a Normal Degree from BYU in 1936 and a BS in 1938. She taught elementary school in Bear River City, Utah from 1936-37. From 1938-40 she taught in Spring Lake, Utah. During World War II she taught in the Alpine School District. She returned in 1954 and taught until 1977. Celia's poems were published in "Voice of the Campus", the "Improvement Era", and "The Greek Letter". She wrote short spiritual thoughts that appeared in the "Relief Society Magazine" from 1954 through 1965. One of those thoughts was later published by the "Reader's Digest". Celia wrote a children's book on insect life named "Stranger than Fairies". It was illustrated with Willard's photographs and was serialized in the "Children's Friend" magazine in 1945. In addition she wrote other magazine articles, and she co-authored several children's books with her husband. She and Willard wrote two text books that were adopted by the Utah State Board of Education to teach Utah history and geography in the fourth grade. In later years, Celia wrote five family history biographies which she published herself. Celia was a member of the League of Utah Writers, and held several local offices. In 1978 Willard and Celia's book, William Henry Jackson: Pioneer Artist and Photographer, was awarded first prize for the best unpublished juvenile biography by the Utah Institute of Fine Arts. Celia died Jan 13, 2008, in Idaho Falls, Idaho.


2 boxes (1 linear ft.)

6 cartons (6 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Contains manuscripts, correspondence, drafts, and other papers relating to the works of Willard and Celia Luce. It also contains various other materials that include a Provo High yearbook, gifts from friends, etc.

Custodial History note

The materials in this collection were donated by the children of the creators following the death of Celia Luce in 2008.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; Ray Luce and Loretta Evans; 2008.

Appraisal note

This collection belongs in the 20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts because it includes photographs of the West and manuscripts of nonfictional and fictional books and short stories about Utah and the Western Unites States. Many of their works were published in nature and wildlife magazines while other stories were published in LDS magazines such as "The Friend" and the "Relief Society Magazine". These works were produced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which also makes them a significant addition to this collection. Also, many of these works were produced by an LDS woman which is also particularly important, some of her works were published in the "Relief Society Magazine".

Related Archival Materials note

Utah: Past and Present, F 826 .L8 1958; Timmy and the Golden Spike, PS 3562 .U244 T5 1963; Willard and Celia Luce Papers and Photographs, circa 1950-1997, MSS P 719; History of Utah and Provo Central Utah Stake: Souvenir Program of the Dedication of the Provo Utah Central Stake Center and two-ward Meetinghouse, BX 8608 .A1a no.8181; Utah!, F 826.3 .L8; B.F. Larsen, Artist, BX 8670. 1 .L329L 1991.

Separated Materials note

Willard and Celia Luce Papers and Photographs, circa 1950-1997, MSS P 719; 2 cases of filmstrips created by Willard Luce; three published books written by Celia Luce (Moonlight After All: Collected Works of Celia Larsen Luce, Geneva's Journal: Geneva Day Larsen, and B.F. Larsen, Artist); Three BYU Banyans (yearbooks) from 1935, 1936, and 1938; Recreational Leadership course book (BYU course) from the 1930s; a BYU Emeritus Club book from 1988.

Processing Information note

Processed; Whitney Parry; 2009.

Register of Willard and Celia Luce collection
Whitney Parry, student assistant
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States