Foik, Paul Joseph (1880–1941)

By: Mayellen Bresie

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 27, 2019

Paul Joseph Foik, priest, librarian, and Texas historian, son of John and Joana (Dameck) Foik, was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, on August 14, 1880. He immigrated to the United States to pursue religious and academic studies. He received the Ph.B. degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1907, completed theological studies at Holy Cross College, and was ordained a priest in 1911. In 1912 he completed a Ph.D. in history at Catholic University of America, and was assigned by his order, the Congregation of Holy Cross, to serve as librarian of Notre Dame. He held this position until 1924, when he was transferred to Austin, Texas, to become librarian at St. Edward's College (now St. Edward's University).

Foik made unique contributions to librarianship in the United States. He was one of the founders of the Catholic Library Association and was instrumental in the initiation of the Catholic Periodical Index. His most outstanding contribution to Texas history was as editor of Carlos E. Castañeda's Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519–1936 (1936–58). Father Foik labored to collect the archival documents used in the writing of this definitive source. The documents, many of which were microfilmed in Mexican archives, became part of the Catholic Archives of Texas. Foik served with J. Frank Dobie and Louis Wiltz Kemp on the Texas Centennial committee named to select Texas historical sites for designation by markers in observance of the centennial. He was a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association (elected in 1931). He was also a charter member of the Texas Geographic Society and a corresponding member of the Sociedad Mexicana de Geografía. He died in Austin on March 1, 1941, and is buried in the Holy Cross congregation cemetery at Notre Dame, Indiana.

Mayellen Bresie, Paul J. Foik, C.S.C., Librarian and Historian (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1964). Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin. St. Edward's University Archives, Austin. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Peoples
  • English
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Authors and Writers
  • Religion
  • Catholic

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mayellen Bresie, “Foik, Paul Joseph,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 27, 2019