Charles Frederick Holder

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Charles Frederick Holder
oval portrait of Holder
Born(1851-08-05)August 5, 1851
DiedOctober 10, 1915(1915-10-10) (aged 64)
OccupationNaturalist, writer

Charles Frederick Holder (1851–1915) was an American naturalist, conservationist, and writer who produced over 40 books and thousands of articles.[1][2] Known as a pioneer of big-game fishing, he founded and led the Tuna Club of Avalon, credited as the first game fishing organization.[3][4] He was socially active in Pasadena, California, where he was a trustee of Throop College and co-founder of the Tournament of Roses.


Charles F. Holder with his then record 183 pounds (83 kg) bluefin tuna catch, 1898 (Avalon, California).[5]

Holder came from a wealthy Massachusetts Quaker family. His father was the zoologist Joseph Bassett Holder (1824–1888) and his mother Emily Augusta Gove.[6] He attended the Friends' school in Providence, Rhode Island, and Allen's preparatory school at West Newton, Massachusetts, as well as from private tutors.[7] In 1869, he attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis but he did not continue in the Navy after graduation.[7]

After working as a curator at New York's American Museum of Natural History, he moved to Pasadena, California in 1885. A passionate naturalist throughout his life, he was known for his books on marine zoology and the first books on big-game fishing, a sport Holder pioneered in 1898.[8][9] His books are noted for their combination of accurate scientific detail with exciting narratives.[10]

From 1890 to 1891, Holder was a President of the Tournament of Roses Association, and for 1910 he was named the tournament grand marshal. He became known in Pasadena as a businessman, philanthropist, and conservationist/sportsman. In 1898, he founded the Tuna Club of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, as an international organization that called for proper management of all game fish.[11][12]

In 1910, he traveled with Frederick Russell Burnham to Mexico and uncovered Mayan artifacts, including the Esperanza Stone, a supposedly paranormal relic described in The Book of the Damned.[13][14]

Holder died in Pasadena as a result of an automobile accident and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California, next to his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Ufford Holder (1852-1925).[15]

In 1998, he was inducted in the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.[12]


Esperanza Stone. Major F. R. Burnham (left), Holder (right), Yaqui Delta, Senora, Mexico, 1909.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harper, Franklin, ed. (1913). "Holder, Charles Frederick". Who's Who on the Pacific Coast. Harper Publishing Company. pp. 275–276.
  2. ^ Kunz, George F. (1915). "Dr. Charles Frederick Holder". Science. 42 (1093): 823–825. JSTOR 1640273.
  3. ^ Patricia Maxwell; Bob Rhein; Jerry Roberts (2014). Catalina A to Z: A Glossary Guide to California's Island Jewel. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-61423-978-9.
  4. ^ Stan Ulanski (2016). The California Current: A Pacific Ecosystem and Its Fliers, Divers, and Swimmers. University of North Carolina Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4696-2825-7.
  5. ^ Big-game fishing (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 01, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  6. ^ Burns, Judith E. (McKee). "Descendants of John and Anthony Emery of Newbury, Ma. Chapter 8 Section E1". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-09-16.
  7. ^ a b George F. Kunz (December 10, 1915). "Dr. Charles Frederick Holder". Science Magazine. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 42 (1093): 823. ISSN 1095-9203.
  8. ^ "boot Düsseldorf: Boat Show & Watersports Exhibition".
  9. ^ "The Leaping Tuna". Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  10. ^ Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America[permanent dead link] (2005)
  11. ^ The History of The Tuna Club of Avalon Archived July 23, 2007, at
  12. ^ a b International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame Archived October 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Charles Holder (1910). "The Esperanza Stone". Scientific American. Scientific American, Inc: 196. ISSN 0036-8733.
  14. ^ Fort, Charles; Horace Liveright (1919). "chapter XI". The Book of the Damned. Horace Liveright. ISBN 1-870870-53-0.
  15. ^ Shiver (Sep 28, 2003). "Charles Frederick Holder". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 3, 2016.

External links[edit]