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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 896: T-386

Papers of Audrey C. Foote, 1928-2012


Papers of Audrey C. Foote, feminist, animal rights advocate, and writer, include personal and other writings, love-letters with her husband during their courtship, and diaries documenting her feelings about pregnancy, life in Paris, and her marriage difficulties.


  • Creation: 1928-2012

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. The bulk of the collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Foote's diaries from 1949 to 1951 (#14.4, 15.1) are closed until January 1, 2021.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Audrey C. Foote is held by Foote's son, Andrew Todhunter, until January 1, 2021, after which copyright transfers to the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


7.3 linear feet ((17 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, and 1 audiotape)

The collection contains papers relating to Audrey C. Foote's life as feminist, writer, and animal rights advocate and includes personal and other writings. Correspondence between Foote and her future husband, Timothy G. Foote, during their courtship, as well as letters she sent to her parents are also included. Diaries written by Foote discuss her feelings about feminism, marriage, and the rights of animals.

Series I, PERSONAL AND OTHER WRITINGS, 1928-2012 (#1.1-2.6, FD.1, F+D.1, T-386.1), contains personal material of Audrey C. Foote, including diplomas, passports, photographs, journals, and a program for her memorial service. The bulk of the series consists of writings by Foote, including book reviews; her bound dissertation, "Beyond Respectability: From the Fallen Woman to the Free Spirit in Nineteenth-Century European Drama;" and four unpublished manuscripts about feminism, the inadequacy of the terms "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" to designate adults, and the powers and symbolic significance of Greek goddesses and the Virgin Mary. Of particular note is a sampling of Foote's literary life which she collected and distributed for her 75th birthday, including reviews, excerpts from her Paris diaries, and her other literary work. The series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1936-2011 (#3.1-12.2), consists of letters between Audrey C. Foote and Timothy G. Foote, during their courtship (1944-1948), while Foote was a student at Wellesley College and Timothy G. Foote was in the Navy. These letters discuss her feelings about the war, their future marriage, and her passions for learning and reading.

The bulk of the series contains letters from Audrey C. Foote to her parents in Florida. These letters discuss her life in Paris with young children (1954-1958), readjusting to life back in the United States, teaching writing courses, and working as a researcher at Time Inc. Books (1958-1964). Foote starts writing letters solely to her father, William Chamberlain, beginning in 1970 until his death in 1981. In these letters, Foote expresses concern for her mother's illness with Alzheimer's, discusses her interest in writing and reviewing books, and details her time at Columbia University while earning her PhD in 1976.

Also included are letters to family and friends (1980s-1990s) about her life, writing, and involvement with the Humane Society and PETA. Most folders contain Timothy G. Foote's detailed handwritten notes and summaries of the letters. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series III, DIARIES, 1939-1999 (#12.3-18.2), consists of journals written by Audrey C. Foote, which also include snapshots with friends, cards, and pressed flowers. In the back of the diaries are lists of her favorite movies, songs, books, and nicknames for her friends. The diaries document her time at the Friends Seminary in New York City; Wellesley College; St. Louis, Missouri; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Paris, France. The major themes in the diaries are feminism, World War II sexual customs, marriage difficulties, and the rights of animals.

Foote re-read all her diaries between 2001 and 2004 and made marks and marginal comments in red crayon or ink. Foote's husband, Timothy G. Foote, re-read her diaries in 2010 and made his own comments in ink or pencil. There is a gap between 1968 and 1978 during which Foote did not keep journals. The diaries are arranged in chronological order.


Writer and college teacher Audrey Chamberlain Foote was born in 1926 in Darien, Connecticut, the daughter of Florabel Liggett and Warren Miller Chamberlain. She grew up in Connecticut and New York City, and attended Wellesley College (B.A. 1948), graduating with highest honors in English. She married Timothy G. Foote, who served with the United States Navy, in 1948, and the couple lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she studied at Harvard (M.A. 1949) and he finished his senior year. They had five children: Colin (1951), Victoria (1954), Valerie (1955), and Andrew Todhunter (1966); their first child, Christopher, died in infancy in 1950. Timothy G. Foote worked as a writer and editor for Time and Life, and they lived in a number of places, including New York, Missouri, Connecticut, and France. Audrey C. Foote taught English and literature at a number of institutions, including Washington, Columbia, American, and George Washington universities. In 1986 Audrey C. Foote earned a doctorate in English at Columbia. She was the author of many book reviews for the Washington Post, the translator of Le Radeau de la Meduse (1970), and contributor to the Atlantic. She was also a feminist, a lecturer at the Smithsonian Institution, a volunteer for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), and a lifelong vegetarian.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Personal and other writings, 1928-2012 (#1.1-2.6, FD.1, F+D.1, T-386.1)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1936-2011 (#3.1-12.2)
  3. Series III. Diaries, 1939-1999 (#12.3-18.2)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2011-M44, 2011-M132, 2011-M157, 2011-M167, 2011-M182, 2011-M212, 2012-M17, 2012-M66, 2013-M75, 2014-M20, and 2014-M6

The papers of Audrey C. Foote were donated to the Schlesinger Library by Foote's husband, Timothy G. Foote, between March 2011 and January 2014.

Processing Information

Processed: December 2016

By: Amber L. Moore, with assistance from Margaret Dalton.

Foote, Audrey C., 1926-2012. Papers of Audrey C. Foote, 1928-2012: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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