Guide to the Tom Foerster Papers, 1948-1999 AIS.1997.18

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Tom Foerster Papers
Creator
Foerster, Tom
Collection Number
AIS.1997.18
Date
1948-1999
Extent
1.56 linear feet (2 boxes and 1 scrapbook)
Abstract
Tom Foerster was a Democratic politician who served in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in the 1960s and on the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners throughout the following three decades. This collection of papers contains correspondence, reports, photographs, published booklets, and newspaper clippings relating to Foerster's election campaigns and his public service.

Preferred Citation

Tom Foerster Papers, 1948-1999, AIS.1997.18, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Return to Table of Contents »


Biography

Thomas Joseph Foerster, known throughout his long political career as Tom Foerster, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928. Most of his professional career was devoted to public administrative posts in Pennsylvania. He was employed by the City of Pittsburgh City Council in 1955. In 1958 he was elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives for the 27th Legislative District (North Side neighborhood), and he held this position through five successive elections, until 1968. In the Pennsylvania State Legislature Foerster served as Chairman of both the House Fisheries Committee and the Special Clean Streams Committee. He was elected to the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners in 1967 and served as County Commissioner for a record seven consecutive terms over 28 years.

Foerster's main legislative interests were environmental conservation, human services, and education. While serving in the state legislature, he was the driving force behind the passage of Pennsylvania's 1965 Clean Streams Act and 1966 Mines Subsidence Act. While he was Allegheny County Commissioner between 1967 and 1995, Foerster supported the establishment of the Community College of Allegheny County. He led an overhaul of the county's Kane Regional Centers which provide medical help to the poor and the elderly. He was instrumental in the creation of the Pittsburgh International Airport that opened in 1992. He also supported legislation to change the structure of Allegheny County government, working in favor of home rule. In 1996, Foerster was appointed Distinguished Fellow of Politics and Government for Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, and he taught and participated in seminars at these schools. In 1999 he was elected to Allegheny County Council, but health problems prevented him from actually participating on the council. Foerster died in Pittsburgh in 2000.

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Content Notes

This collection of Tom Foerster's papers is comprised of items which he had kept at home rather than in his office files. This collection serves as a representative sample of activities in which he was involved, not an exhaustive chronicle of his career.

The portion of the collection most directly concerned with Foerster includes correspondence to and from Foerster, mostly from the 1960s and the 1990s, press releases, speeches, meeting notes, professional photographs of political events, newsletters in which he was featured, and awards which he was given. These items are arranged by document type. The correspondence includes thank-you notes from noted politicians for campaign help and many letters of appreciation from Pittsburgh residents for both political actions and thoughtful gestures. Most of the letters from the 1960s relate to conservation and the Clean Streams Act, and include constituent letters about the Clean Streams legislation and business letters about the formation of a joint industry-conservation committee on pollution. Meeting notes and press releases concern tax adjustments, nominations for political offices, economic plans and a proposed retirement incentive plan for Allegheny County. There are many statements about air and water pollution which Foerster prepared and presented in the 1960s, including a transcript of a hearing before the Committee on Fisheries which Foerster chaired. The campaign material includes a few election hand-outs, some endorsement brochures favoring Foerster, and some general Democratic committee candidate material with Foerster's notes on it. Most of the photographs show political events or groundbreaking ceremonies, however, many of them are unidentified.

The collection also contains brochures, reports, and other published or generally distributed materials relating to Allegheny County projects and groups which Foerster supervised. These items are arranged by subject. Information about the Pittsburgh airport includes a business proposal, progress report, some brochures, and a speech and invitations for the opening ceremony. Material about the Community College of Allegheny County includes board meeting and fundraising papers and printed promotional material. Material from Foerster's tenure as Distinguished Fellow of Politics and Government includes faxes organizing a conflict resolution conference, notes for a class about issues facing Allegheny County, and an outline for a center of racial and ethnic equality. Printed material about Allegheny County encompasses many topics, and includes a 1985 report on the Intergovernmental Cooperation Program, a report on John J. Kane Regional Centers, and long-range plans for Pittsburgh.

Additional information about Foerster, his political campaigns, legislative actions, and community involvement is found in the chronologically arranged newspaper clippings, most of which focus on the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s, and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings from 1965.

Return to Table of Contents »


Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, June 1997

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Informatin

Gift of Mrs. Georgeann Foerster in 1997 and 2000.

Processing Information

This collection was inventoried by Fiona Seels in June 3, 1997 and processed by Amy Shaffer in October 2003

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Amy Shaffer in October 2003. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 4221978

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Allegheny County (Pa.). Board of Commissioners.
  • Community College of Allegheny County.
  • Pennsylvania. Clean Streams Act.
  • Pennsylvania. Mine Subsidence Act.
  • Pittsburgh International Airport.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Allegheny County (Pa.) -- Politics and government
  • Pennsylvania -- Politics and government

Personal Name(s)

  • Foerster, Tom

Subject(s)

  • Education
  • Education -- Pennsylvania
  • Environment
  • Environmental law -- Pennsylvania
  • Politics
  • Public health -- Pennsylvania

Return to Table of Contents »


Previous Citation

Tom Foerster Papers, 1948-1999, AIS.1997.18, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Foerster, Tom. Papers, 1965-1992, ais 97:18, Archives of Industrial Society, University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

  BoxFolder
Correspondence, 1953-1999 11-2

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Conservation Reports and Press Releases, 1965-1975 3

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Press Releases, Meeting Notes, Plans, and Proposals, 1964-1995 4

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Campaign Material, 1965-1999 5

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Photographs, 1948-1995 6

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Unidentified Framed Portrait of a Man, n.d. 7

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Framed Photograph of W. Smart, D. Lawrence, T. Foerster, 1957 8

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Newsletters and Magazines Featuring TJF, 1976-1994 9

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Appreciation Awards, 1992-1995 10

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Proclamations Book, 1993 11

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Miscellaneous, 1966-1991 12

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Teaching, University Programs, 1996-1998 13

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Pittsburgh International Airport, 1987-1995 14

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Pittsburgh Articles, 1992-1999 15

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Community College of Allegheny County, CCAC, Fundraising and Board Material, 1990-1998 16

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Community College of Allegheny County, CCAC, Promotional Material, 1995-1997 17

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Allegheny County Printed and Published Material, 1980-1997 18

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Allegheny 2000 and Home Rule, 1997-1998 19

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Allegheny County Budget Reports, 1995-1996 20

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Allegheny Regional Asset District Tax, 1994-1997 21

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Allegheny County Youth Violence Prevention and Junior Achievement, 1995-1997 22

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Allegheny County Human Services and Profiling the Aged, 1995-1996 23

Return to Table of Contents »


  Folder
Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance Meeting, 1998 24

Return to Table of Contents »


  BoxFolder
Newspaper Clippings, 1954-1999 21-5

Return to Table of Contents »


  Volume
Scrapbook of Newspaper Clippings, 1965    (OVERSIZED) 1

Return to Table of Contents »