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. His books are noted for their combination of accurate scientific detail with exciting narratives.
Life in the open; sport with rod, gun, horse, and hound in southern California, (1906) — Holder's account of hunting and fishing in the counties of Santa Barbara, San Buenaventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego. The topics include horseback hunts for lynx, fox, and wolves; fishing for trout in the Sierra Madres and for game fish off Catalina; pursuit of shore birds and water fowl; mountain lions and mountain goats; and photographic hunts for sea lions. Throughout, Holder argues for the sportsman's role in conservation.
Sport fishing in California and Florida, (1908). Bulletin of the Bureau of fisheries, volume XXVIII. Proceedings of the Fourth International fishery congress, Washington.
Pasadena, the crown of the valley, (1909)
Recreations of a sportsman on the Pacific coast, (1910)
The Channel islands of California; a book for the angler, sportsman, and tourist, (1910)
A method of studying the life history of fishes, (1910)