CLARENCE A. (“BOTT”) BOTTOLFSEN was born in Superior, Wisconsin, on October 10, 1891. In 1902, his family relocated to Fessenden, North Dakota, where Bottolfsen was educated in the public schools. After taking some courses at the National Business College in Minnesota, he started a career in the printing industry. Bottolfsen worked in a local printing shop as a printing devil, then moved to Arco, Idaho and managed the Arco Advertiser. He became owner and publisher of the paper in 1912, turning it into one of Idaho’s foremost weeklies. Bottolfsen served in the army during World War I. He also was the editor and general manager of the Blackfoot Daily Bulletin from 1934 to 1938. Bottolfsen joined the army in June 1918, and served for one year at Fort Lewis, earning the rank of corporal. He entered politics in 1921, as a member of the Idaho House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to in 1923, 1927, 1929, and 1930. He also served as chief clerk of the house from 1925 to 1927, was speaker of the house in 1927, and was chairman of the Republican State Central Committee from 1936 to 1938. Bottolfsen won the 1938 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor of Idaho. He was defeated in his 1940 reelection bid, but was successfully reelected in 1942. During his tenure, the senior citizens grant was abolished, the state reduced its debt, and five northwestern states were structured into the Northwestern Development League. Three constitutional amendments were also proposed and passed, in which a state tax board was established, the governor’s term changed to four years, and the board of equalization was converted to a commission. After leaving office, Bottolfsen served in 1949 as co-director of the Interim Committee on Reorganization of State Government, also called the “little Hoover Commission.” He also served as chief clerk of the Idaho House of Representatives in 1949 and 1957, was deputy sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. Senate in 1953, served as Senator Herman Welker’s executive secretary in 1955 and 1956, and was a member of the Idaho State Senate in the 1958 and 1960 sessions. Governor Clarence A. Bottolfsen died on July 19, 1964, and was buried at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Arco.
Idaho State Historical Society Gubernatorial Manuscript and Archive Collections:
- Records, Governor C.A. Bottolfsen, 1939-1941. AR0002.0017.
- Records, Governor C.A. Bottolfsen, 1943-1945. AR0002.0019.
- C.A. Bottolfsen papers, 1938-1942. Manuscript Collection. MS2/0287.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.