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Thomas H. Foster and Catharine Osgood Foster papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 812

Scope and Contents

The Thomas H. Foster and Catharine Osgood Foster Papers contain correspondence, writings, photographs, ephemera, audiovisual material, and printed material that document the professional and personal lives of the Fosters. Material includes writings that relate to Thomas Foster's career as a literary critic and scout for Farrar, Straus, and to Catharine Foster's books on gardening; documentation of the couple's leadership in the area of environmental stewardship; and records of their bird watching activity. Correspondence is both professional and personal in nature, and includes letters between Thomas and Catharine Foster, and some family correspondence. Printed material in the collection relates chiefly to early- and mid-twentieth century agriculture in New York and New England. Among the photographs in the collection are numerous slides depicting birds in their natural habitats, and journals of bird watching notes.


  • circa 1786-2005
  • Majority of material found within 1923 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 48 (audiocassettes): Restricted fragile. Reference copy may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 49 (reel-to-reel audiotape and open reel film): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 77 (cold storage): Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. Consult the appropriate curator for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Thomas H. Foster and Catharine Osgood Foster Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Thomas H. Foster, 1999-2005.


Organized into ten groupings: I. December 1999 Acquisition. II. December 1999 Acquisition. III. June 2000 Acquisition. IV. June 2000 Acquisition. V. July 2000 Acquisition. VI. January 2001 Acquisition. VII. October 2001 Acquisition. VIII. February 2005 Acquisition. IX. February 2005 Acquisition. X. April 2005 Acquisition.


34.56 Linear Feet ((75 boxes) +1 broadside, 1 cold storage)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Catharine Osgood Foster (1907-1998)

Catharine Farley Osgood born on April 26, 1907 in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts. She graduated from Mount Holyoke in 1930 and taught English at Bennington College from 1934 until 1969. She authored several books on gardening, including The Organic Gardener (New York, Vintage Books, 1972). She married Thomas H. Foster in 1937. Catharine Foster died on February 13, 1998 in Bennington, Vermont.

Thomas Henry Foster, Jr. (1907-2004)

Thomas Henry Foster, Jr. (1907-2004), American naturalist, literary critic, and poultry farmer, of Bennington, Vermont. He married Catharine Osgood in 1937.

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing in 2014, including rehousing and minimal organization. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, identified by a unique call number and titled according to month and year of acquisition.

The finding aid for this collection is compiled from individual preliminary lists for each acquisition that were created at or around the time of receipt by the library. The preliminary lists were migrated to comply with current archival descriptive standards and merged into a single file in 2007-2008. As part of the migration, modifications were made to the formatting of individual lists; however, the content of the lists was neither modified nor verified.

As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Former call numbers: Uncat MSS 4, Uncat MSS 38, Uncat MSS 51, Uncat MSS 125, Uncat MSS 200, Uncat MSS 742, Uncat MSS 753, Uncat MSS 755, Uncat MSS 756, Uncat MSS 768.

Guide to the Thomas H. Foster and Catharine Osgood Foster Papers
In Progress
by Beinecke staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


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New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.