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The Papers of Bishop Norman L. Foote:

A Guide to the Collection


MSS 55

This is a web-version of a finding aid prepared by the
Special Collections Department in 1992

Biographical Sketch

Norman Landon Foote was born on November 30, 1915, at Saratoga Springs, New York, the son of Leroy Herman Foote, a noted dental surgeon in Saratoga Springs, and Amy Verina (Close) Foote.  Foote attended the Saratoga Public Schools and graduated from Saratoga High School in 1933.  After graduating from high school Foote attended Hamilton College, located at Hamilton, New York, for one year (1933-1934).  In the autumn of 1934 he transferred to Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, where he pursued studies in History.  In 1937 he graduated from Princeton with an A.B. in History.  Following graduation from Princeton, Foote studied for the ministry at the General Theological Seminary, New York City, New York, and received a bachelor of sacred theology degree (S.T.B.) in 1940.  Subsequently, Foote was awarded two honorary degrees; a doctor of sacred theology (S.T.D.) from General Theological Seminary in 1957, and a doctor of divinity (D.D) from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkley, California, in the same year.

On June 1, 1940, Foote married Carolyn Hope Swayne, a native of Newton, Pennsylvania, at a ceremony conducted at Princeton, New Jersey.  From this union four children were born: Margaret Elizabeth, Judith Robin, Leroy Francis, and Ralph Norman.

Ordained as a deacon of the Protestant Episcopal Church at Albany, New York, in May 1940, Foote was assigned to the Episcopal Missionary district in Montana.  In December 1940, he was ordained as a priest at Bozeman, Montana.  From 1940 to 1943, Reverend Foote served as a missionary priest at Virginia City, Montana.  In 1943 he was named Archdeacon for Episcopal church in Montana and remained in that post until 1950.  During his ministry in the rural areas of Montana, Foote became interested in the uniqueness of the rural ministry. In 1950 he accepted a call to serve as director of Roanridge, a post graduate training center for Episcopal seminarians called to the rural ministry.  Located at Parkville, Missouri, Roanridge--also known as the National Town and Country Church Institute-- was to remain as Foote’s home until 1957.  In 1956, Reverend Foote was named by the Episcopal House of Bishops as the sixth, and last, Bishop of the Missionary District of Idaho.  On February 14, 1957, Norman Foote was consecrated as a Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in a solemn ceremony conducted at Saint Michael’s Cathedral, in Boise, Idaho.  In 1967 the Missionary District of Idaho was elevated to the status of a diocese and Bishop Foote became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Idaho.  During Bishop Foote’s tenure the Diocese of Idaho gained strength in church membership and became well known as the “testing ground” of innovations for the Episcopal Church in the United States.  Some of the programs established during Bishop Foote’s years as head of the Episcopal Church in Idaho were: Ecumenicalism, Pastoral Care, Metropolitan Planning, and The Idaho Project – an experimental program for self supporting ministries.  On February 14, 1972, after 15 years service as Bishop of Idaho, Bishop Foote retired due to ill health and moved to McCall, Idaho.  Active even in retirement, Bishop Foote continued to serve the Episcopal Church in Idaho in various capacities.  On May 12, 1974, Bishop Norman Landon Foote died at the age of 59, from complications of emphysema, in a hospital at Cascade, Idaho.

Scope and Content Note


The papers of Bishop Norman L. Foote consist of correspondence, sermons, class notes, term papers, church records, newspaper clippings, photographs, memorabilia, and date books.  These items document the life of Norman L. Foote, his education, and his career in the Episcopal ministry.   The papers date from 1937 to his death in 1974, and are divided into five series: Biographical material and family papers, Sermons and writings, Episcopal Church papers, Personal educational materials, and Appointment / Datebooks.

The Foote papers were donated to Boise State University Library by Judith Foote Wright, Bishop Foote’s daughter, on May 16, 1984.  She gained access and ownership of the papers on the death of her mother, Mrs. Carolyn Foote.   Mr. Don P. Haacke of the Special Collections department of the Boise State Library did initial arranging and prepared a preliminary inventory soon after the collection’s arrival at Boise State.  Processing, arranging, reboxing, refoldering and the preparation of a finding aid were completed in 1992.

During the processing in 1992, one item was removed from the collection: a bound copy of a program file for the Paradise Point (McCall, Idaho) Episcopal Conference Center covering the years 1957-1969.  This file marked “Diocesan Permanent File Copy” was returned to the archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho (Paradise Point series) also located at Boise State University.

The Bishop Norman L. Foote collection is open to researchers by appointment.  Researchers are advised that related materials are also located in two additional collections maintained at Boise State University.  These collections are: the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho (MSS 091) and the manuscript collection of  Mrs. Carolyn Foote (MSS 054).  For more information, contact the Special Collections Department in the Boise State University Library.

                                    Collection number:   MSS 055
                                    Inclusive dates:   1937-1974
                                    Collection size:   ca. 1.5 ft. (in 5 boxes)
                                    Processed by:   Don P. Haacke, 1984
                                                                 Thomas M. Ansbach, 1992

Container Lists and Series Descriptions

Summary of the Series


I.                  Biographical material and Personal Papers

II.                 Sermons and writings

III.                Episcopal Church papers

IV.                Personal educational materials 

V.                 Appointment/Date books

Series I:  Biographical Materials and Personal Papers

Folder 5 includes a photocopy of Bishop Foote's  "Letter to Idaho's Congressional Delegation" protesting the Vietnam War, published as a full page ad in the Intermountain Observer (December 30, 1972).

Box 1:  Biographical Materials and Personal Papers

Folder  1    Certificates and Honors:   1943-1966
              2    Biographical materials
              3    Information sheets:  The National Cyclopedia of American Biography
              4    Photographs
              5    Published articles (mainly typescripts)
              6    Miscellaneous
              7    Memorials

Series II:  Sermons and Writings

Chiefly typescripts of sermons and other writings by Foote.  Many were undated, but were found in folders whose labels seemed to indicate their place of origin (Folders 12-14).

Box 1:  Sermons and Writings

Folder 8    Communion services, 1941-1953
             9    Lenten services, 1941-1963
          10    Various subjects, 1940-1960
          11    Various subjects, 1961-1973
          12    Montana ministry, undated
          13    Town and Country Institute, undated
          14    Missionary District of Idaho, undated
          15    Various subjects, undated

Box 2:  Sermons and Writings

Folder  1    Writings:  general, 1957-1972

Series III:  Episcopal Church Papers

This series includes documents published by various offices of the Episcopal Church as well as letters, memos, etc., written by Foote in conjunction with his church work in these areas.

Box 2:  Episcopal Church Papers

Folder  2    Sermons by Theodore P. Ferris (offprints), 1970-1972
              3    Diocese of Montana, 1933-1950
              4    Rural Ministry – General Synod Province of Ontario, 1951
              5    National Town and Country Institute, 1949-1956
              6    Report:  Study of Episcopal Congregations in the United States, 1954
              7    Report:  Revision to the Book of Common Prayer—Diocese of  Western Missouri, 1955
              8    Study:  Diocese of Northern  Michigan, 1956
              9    Missionary District of Idaho: Consecration of Bishop Norman  L. Foote, 1957
            10    Consecrations and Ordinations: California, Idaho, Kansas, and Oregon, 1957-1973
            11    Idaho:  Diocesan and Parish histories, 1956-1969
            12    Ministry:  Pastoral care, 1949-1960

Box 3:  Episcopal Church Papers

Folder  1    Conference on Metropolitan Planning, 1964
              2    The Idaho Project: Experimental Program for Self Supporting Ministries, 1964-1971
              3    Diocese of Idaho:  Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, 1971
              4    Episcopal Diocese of Idaho:  1957-1972
                    Miscellaneous correspondence, Clerical directory, and report of meeting of House of Bishops
              5    Church service programs,  undated
              6    The Messenger—Idaho diocesan newsletter, 1969-1974

Series IV:  Personal Educational Materials

These school papers come from Bishop Foote's studies at Princeton University and General Theological Seminary in New York.

Box 4:  Personal Educational Materials

Folder         Seminary papers, 1937-1938
Book           Class Notes: Old Testament      1937-1938
Book           Class Notes: New Testament    1937-1938
Book           Term Paper:  Richard Bancroft and Puritanism  undated
Book           Senior Thesis:  Richard Baxter’s Theology...  1937

Series V:  Appointment/Date Books

Box 5:  Appointment/Date Books

14 pocket size volumes, 1958-1973  (missing 1965, 1969, 1970)

Special Collections • 1910 University Drive • Boise, ID 83725-1430 • Phone: 208-426-1204 • Email: Archives