Mary Hallock Foote in Idaho

FooteMary Hallock Foote 1847-1938

"We came out on the last long bench above the valley of the Boise and saw, across a bridge in the distance, the little city which was called the metropolis of the desert plains, the heaven of old teamsters and stage drivers crawling in at nightfall; saw the wild river we had come to tame, slipping from the hold of the farms along its banks that snatched a season's crops from it as it fled." From A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West.

Mary Hallock Foote, author and artist, arrived in Boise in 1884. A native of New York, Foote came to Idaho accompanying her engineer husband Arthur Foote, who designed the New York Canal. The two lived near the site of Discovery State Park and Diversion Dam. Their home, the Canyon House, was a thick-walled lava stone structure built with royalties from Foote's novels and short stories. They spent twelve years in the Boise area before moving on to Grass Valley, California.

Wallace Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1971 novel Angle of Repose is loosely based on Foote's life, and passages from her letters can be found in his book. An opera based on the novel was performed in San Francisco in 1976.

A collection of Mary Hallock Foote prints is on permanent exhibit on the second floor of Boise Public Library. These prints were donated to the library by The Women's Columbian Club of Boise, which was founded in 1892 and was instrumental in establishing library service in Boise.

Books about Mary Hallock Foote

  • Mary Hallock Foote, by Lee Ann Johnson. 813.4 FOOTE JOHNSON
  • Mary Hallock Foote, by James H. Maguire. 928 W525 No. 2
  • Mary Hallock Foote : Pioneer Woman Illustrator, by Doris Bickford-Swarthout. 813.4 FOOTE BICKFOR
  • A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West : The Reminiscences of Mary Hallock Foote, edited by Rodman W. Paul. 813.4 FOOTE FOOTE
  • When Culture Came to Boise : Mary Hallock Foote in Idaho, by Rodman W. Paul. 979.628 FOOTE PAUL

Some works by Mary Hallock Foote

  • Coeur d'Alene. FICTION FOOTE
  • Idaho Stories and Far-West Illustrations. 813.4 FOOTE
  • Led-Horse Claim : A Romance of a Mining Camp. FICTION FOOTE
  • Royal Americans. FICTION FOOTE
  • The Valley Road. FICTION FOOTE

Short Stories by Mary Hallock Foote

  • "The Cup of Trembling." Century Magazine September 1895, pp. 673-690
  • "The Harshaw Bride." Century Magazine May 1896, pp. 90-104
  • "Pilgrim Station." Atlantic Monthly May 1896, pp. 596-613
  • "A Touch of Sun." Century Magazine January 1900, pp. 339-350; Feb. 1900, pp. 550-558
  • "The Trumpeter." Atlantic Monthly November 1894, pp. 577-597; December 1894, pp. 721-72


For more information about Arthur Foote and engineers on the frontier

Research and text by Ellen Druckenbrod, Boise Public Library (Call numbers are for copies at Boise Public Library)

Last updated: January 23, 2014 - 11:11am by farrit