Church, Bethine C.

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Rod Gramer was born in Boise in 1953 and graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in history in 1975. He was a journalist with the Idaho Statesman when he began research for a biography of Frank Church in 1978 with fellow journalist Marc Johnson. Johnson later left the project and Gramer continued alone, assisted by his wife Julie. Rod and Julie Gramer were the first researchers to use the Frank Church papers at Boise State University in 1984. Gramer left the Idaho Statesman in 1988 to become news director for television station KTVB-TV in Boise in 1988. In 1998 he moved to Portland, Oregon, to assume a similar position with a television station there. Additional biographical information can be found in Who’s Who in the American West 1992/93 and in Contemporary Authors (volume 147).

LeRoy Ashby (b. 1938) earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1966. In 1972 he joined the faculty of Washington State University, where he has taught popular culture and twentieth-century American history. He has won several teaching awards and has written several books, including biographies of Senator William Borah and William Jennings Bryan. Like Rod and Julie Gramer, Ashby and his wife Mary were among the first users of the Church collection at Boise State. Further biographical information can be found in the Directory of American Scholars and Contemporary Authors (volume 33-36, First Revision).

From the guide to the LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer Collection on Frank Church, 1850-1993, (Boise State University Library Special Collections and Archives)

The Sawtooth Society was founded to protect the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). Its website (2007) defines its mission as threefold: serving as an advocate for the SNRA, preserving open space in the SNRA, and enhancing recreation facilities and services in the SNRA, an area of 756,000 acres of public and private land in the rugged Sawtooth Mountains of Central Idaho.

Congress designated this area a national recreation area in 1972 after decades of debate over the future of the region. Many in Idaho advocated the creation of a national park in the Sawtooth Mountains, but the park proposal met opposition from numerous landowners, recreationists, and ranchers in the region. National recreation area status was viewed as a compromise. Since then the area has been managed and regulated by the U.S. Forest Service.

The approaching 25th anniversary of the SNRA in 1997 brought a great deal of attention to the area. Many of the private lands within its bounds and adjacent were being developed in ways that were considered by some to be unsightly and contrary to the purposes of the SNRA. Congress had not authorized funds for the purchase of scenic easements since the 1980s and facilities within the SNRA were not being improved. The Sawtooth Society was founded in 1997 to remedy these problems, and these records reflect that mission. Much of the collection consists of records pertaining to fundraising through Congress and the public for funds to purchase easements, preserve open space, and to enhance facilities. Many of the founding members of the Sawtooth Society were major proponents for the creation of the SNRA in 1972.

Bethine Church of Boise is the widow of U.S. Senator Frank Church. Born in 1923 into a politically active family (her father was later Governor of Idaho), she spent much of her childhood at the family ranch at Robinson Bar, Idaho, now at the edge of the SNRA. She married Frank Church at the ranch in 1947. In order to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, she and Senator Church sold the ranch when he was sponsoring legislation to create the SNRA. Bethine Church was joined in founding the society by former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus (D), former U.S. Senator Jim McClure (R), and former Representative Orval Hansen (R), reflecting the bipartisan nature of the organization.

From the guide to the Sawtooth Society Records, 1996-2004, (Boise State University Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Sawtooth Society. Sawtooth Society records, 1996-2004 Boise State University, Albertsons Library
creatorOf Church, Bethine C. Papers, 1966-1967. Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historical Society
creatorOf Church, Bethine C.,. Typed transcript of an oral history interview with Bethine Church, Sept. 4, 1989 / interviewed by Barbara Pulling. Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historical Society
creatorOf Church, Bethine C.,. Bethine Church interview, 1989 Sept. 4. Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historical Society
referencedIn Ashby, LeRoy. Ashby-Gramer research collection relating to Senator Frank Church, 1850-1993. Boise State University, Albertsons Library
creatorOf Sawtooth Society Records, 1996-2004 Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives
creatorOf LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer Collection on Frank Church, 1850-1993 Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Ashby, LeRoy person
associatedWith Church family. family
associatedWith Church family. family
associatedWith Church, Frank person
associatedWith Church, Frank. person
associatedWith Clark, Chase A., 1883-1966. person
associatedWith Gramer, Rod, 1953- person
associatedWith Hayes, Robert B. person
associatedWith Idaho Educational Public Broadcasting System. corporateBody
associatedWith Pulling, Barbara, person
associatedWith Sawtooth Society. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Outdoor recreation--Idaho--Sawtooth National Recreation Area
Conservation of natural resources--Idaho--Sawtooth National Recreation Area
Sawtooth National Recreation Area (Idaho)
Church, Frank--Archives
Church, Bethine C.--Interviews
Political Campaigns
Sports and Recreation
Environmental Activism
Moving Images
Church, Frank--Interviews


Birth 1923



Ark ID: w6k35vc9

SNAC ID: 23846628