Christopher Spencer Foote

Christopher Spencer Foote

Christopher Spencer Foote was born May 2, 1837. He married Hannah Jane Hubbard on May 23, 1865. Hannah was a direct descendant of Daniel Hubbard and Diana Ward, the parents of the Diana Ward who married General Andrew Ward. According to the Foote History and Genealogy, Christopher Spencer Foote was a farmer in Guilford [he farmed on his father’s land in Nut Plains] and an orange grower in Mandarin, Florida. Christopher died on May 28, 1880, and Hannah died on May 7, 1885. They are both buried in the General Andrew Ward Cemetery. They had five children.

Robert Elliott Foote

Their oldest child was Robert Elliott Foote, born August 31, 1866. Robert was a musician. He died May 5, 1916.

Their second child, named George Augustus Foote, was born in 1871 but died at the age of 10 months.

Their third child was Mary Foote, born November 25, 1872. Mary was an accomplished painter. Here is the biography provided by the John Pence Gallery:

Mary Foote

Mary Foote (1872 – 1968) began her life in Guilford, Connecticut. Orphaned at the age of twelve, she was taken-in by Samuel Clemens’s Family. Her associations and talent led her to the prestigious Yale Art School. In 1894, Mary was awarded the Winchester Prize which took her to Paris. She worked and studied in France for seven years, becoming involved with a celebrated crowd of artists including John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, Frederick MacMonnies, Ellen Emmet, Cecelia Beaux, and Mabel Dodge. Artists as well as patrons admired her dazzling brushwork and sat for her on numerous occasions. In 1901 she returned to New York City to set up a studio on Washington Square where she earned a comfortable living from her portrait commissions; her list of clients reads as a Who’s Who of the art scene of her day.

“In 1927, suffering from ill health, Mary Foote suddenly closed down her studio and retired to Europe. Her disappearance from the art world is only one reason her work has not been widely seen. Much of her portraiture has been held or passed on in private family collections far from the public’s eye. Mary Foote’s prominence as an integral part of the American art community, during one of it’s most productiove periods, is now being rightfully acknowledged.

“Mary Foote painted a wide range of subjects including portraits, figures, florals, and landscapes. She handled them all with skill and virtuosity, a versatility demonstrated by few others and worthy of note. There can be no doubt that the art world prematurely lost a talented contributor. What Mary Foote produced was awe inspiring. What she could have produced over a lifetime devoted to painting would have placed her among the top painters that we revere today.”

Harry Ward Foote

The fourth child of Christopher Spencer and Hannah Hubbard was Harry Ward Foote, born March 25, 1875. Harry Ward Foote was an authority on analytical chemistry and a member of the Yale faculty for forty-two years, according to his obituary which appeared in the New York Times on January 5, 1942. He specialized in inorganic and physical chemistry and mineralogy, and had been associate editor of The American Journal of Science. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the American Chemical Society. His hobby was bee-keeping. Harry Ward Foote served as the collector-naturalist on the expedition made by Hiram Bingham to Macchu Picchu in 1911. The Yale Peruvian Expedition collection contains the many glass slides taken by Foote. He married Martha Babcock Jenkins on June 22, 1904.  Harry and Martha had four children: William Jenkins Foote (1905-1976), columnist for many years for the Hartford Courant, who married Dorothy Hope Bennett; Edward Jenkins Foote (1910-1924); Mary Foote (1910-1975) who married John Denis Moore; and Margaret Spencer Foote(1921-) who married Franz Martin Oppenheimer.

Here is an obituary for Dr. Foote: HWF Obit

Margaret Foote Hawley

The fifth child of Christopher Spencer and Hannah Hubbard was Margaret Spencer Foote, born June 12, 1880. Margaret was also an extremely accomplished artist. She took the name Hawley, as she was taken in by her aunt and uncle after her parents died when she was quite young. In a review by Bob Jackman which was written about an exhibition “Early Woman Artists at the Guild of Boston Artists,” he wrote: “Margaret Foote Hawley painted about 400 miniatures that usually have a soft focus and strong color. This approach was especially well suited to rendering pretty young girls. Her “Mary Foote in Yellow Dress” captures a niece with soulful brown eyes that are deepened by their contrast with a pink face and yellow-orange dress. Hawley won national acclaim and served as president of the American Society of Miniature Painters.” A brochure from an exhibition at the Cosmopolitan Club, New York City, in 2000 is provided here (front and back).


One Response to Christopher Spencer Foote

  1. Richard McGrath says:

    Regarding the portrait painter Mary Foote:
    In 1894 she won the $500 “Alice Kimball Prize for English”, awarded to Yale art students, to support summer travel.
    In 1897, her graduation year, she was awarded the William Wirt Winchester prize ($1500) to study abroad for 2 years. She was the first recipient of this prize which was awarded every two years.

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