Charles Frederick Holder

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Charles F. Holder with his then record 183 pounds (83 kg) bluefin tuna catch, 1898.[1]

Charles Frederick Holder (1851–1915) was the inventor of big-game fishing and a founder of Pasadena's Tournament of Roses and the Tuna Club of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, California.


Holder came from a wealthy Massachusetts Quaker family. His father was the zoologist Joseph Bassett Holder (1824-1888) and his mother Emily Augusta Gove.[2] He attended the Friends' school in Providence, Rhode Island, and Allen's preparatory school at West Newton, Massachusetts, as well as from private tutors.[3] In 1869, he attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis but he did not continue in the Navy after graduation.[3]

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.[4][5] His books are noted for their combination of accurate scientific detail with exciting narratives.[6]

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, California, as a businessman, philanthropist, and conservationist/sportsman. In 1898, he founded the Tuna Club of Avalon in Avalon, California on Santa Catalina Island, California, as an international organization that called for proper management of all game fish.[7][8]

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.[9][10]

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).[11]

In 1998, he was inducted in the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.[8]


Holder with the Valley Hunt Hounds
Esperanza Stone. Major F. R. Burnham (left), Holder (right), Yaqui Delta, Senora, Mexico, 1909.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Big-game fishing (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 01, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  2. ^
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ The history of game fishing
  5. ^ "The Leaping Tuna". Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America[permanent dead link] (2005)
  7. ^ The History of The Tuna Club of Avalon Archived July 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ a b International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame Archived October 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Charles Holder (1910). "The Esperanza Stone". Scientific American. Scientific American, Inc: 196. ISSN 0036-8733. 
  10. ^ Fort, Charles; Horace Liveright (1919). "chapter XI". The Book of the Damned. Horace Liveright. ISBN 1-870870-53-0. 
  11. ^ Shiver (Sep 28, 2003). "Charles Frederick Holder". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 3, 2016. 

Sister projects[edit]

Works related to Charles Frederick Holder at Wikisource

External links[edit]