In Memoriam: Clyde Littlefield
The Briscoe Center mourns the passing of Clyde Littlefield, who died on Wednesday, March 7. He was 87 years old. Littlefield was a member of the center’s advisory council, a lifelong lover of history, and a generous friend.
“Clyde was a familiar face at the Briscoe Center for many years. He served on the advisory council, worked closely with university-related collections for his own research, and endowed an archivist position at the center through his estate plans,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “The endowment will be a significant part of his legacy here at UT, an institution he loved so dearly.”
Clyde Littlefield was born in Austin in 1931. His father and namesake was UT’s track coach for over 40 years and co-founder of the Texas Relays in 1925. Littlefield studied at UT, where he majored in government, minored in history, and was an active member of the Air Force ROTC. Upon graduating in 1953 he was shipped out to fight in the Korean War. However, while en route to Korea, the war ended. Upon arriving there, he was given a position writing history. After being discharged he came back to UT, receiving a master’s degree in government in 1958. Later, he returned to the air force, where he traveled the world and worked as a historian for twenty years.
Upon retiring in 1980, Littlefield moved back to Austin and was successful in real estate. In his spare time, he could be found at the Briscoe Center, combing through university-related collections as he sought to broaden his knowledge of UT, Austin, and the Lone Star State.
“UT has been at the heart of the Texas story since Reconstruction,” recalled Littlefield in a 2016 interview with the center. “I’m interested in cultivating an institutional history that deals with people. I want to see the ideas and people that made this university what it is today elaborated on so we can better understand the history of both the university and the state.”
The Clyde Littlefield endowment will fund an archival position for the center’s University of Texas Archives and Texas History Collection, as well as support the cost of related activities, programs, and student interns. The University of Texas Archives consists of more than 4,500 linear feet—almost a mile of materials as diverse as institutional records, the papers of prominent professors, official communications materials, and student publications. Littlefield was especially interested in university culture and student life.
“Clyde’s generosity and foresight ensures that not only will the university archives be preserved, but they will continue to grow in size and scope, be the subject of teaching and outreach activities across campus, and contribute to the center’s exhibits and public programs,” said Carleton.