Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek
322 Culver Boulevard, Suite 317
Playa del Rey, California 90293
In 1932, Just five years after completing this book, Ralph Hoffmann died of injuries from a fall on a cliff on San Miguel Island in southern California. However, his book remained in print through the 1950s. Many birders became aware of this book and the writings of Ralph Hoffmann on birds. Throughout the later part of the 20th Century, birder began to acknowledge Ralph Hoffmann by dedicating new bird books to him. Dennis Paulson is one such birder, but there are others. This brief article will show how it was dedicated and discuss the implications and significance of Ralph Hoffmann on a whole host of naturalists, birders, and botanists, culminating even in this article by this author.
"This book is dedicated to Ralph Hoffmann and Allan Brooks,
who showed by dynamic prose and crisp illustrations in their inspiring
Birds of the Pacific States that every bird species is memorable."
While Dennis Paulson spelled Ralph Hoffmann's surname correctly, many others have not. The error is always in forgetting to use a second "n" at the end of his surname. It is unfortunate that this has happened on more than one occasion. A few instances where Hoffmann's name was incorrectly spelled include: Jon Dunn and Kimball Garrett by accidentally forgetting the second "n." No one is perfect and they must not be slighted for spelling his surname incorrectly. Accidents happen. In fact, the professional scientific journal, Auk spelled his surname wrong three times, over a period of approximately 30 years, in 1900, 1922, and lastly in 1932, in his obituary.
It would be nice to bring this 1927 classic by Ralph Hoffmann back into print. If only so that young boys and girls can be influenced and inspired, just as Dennis Paulson, Jon Dunn and Kimball Garrett were influenced and inspired. In fact, it appears that Dunn and Garrett have been influenced and inspired by Ralph Hoffmann, for 30 years, from the 1960s to the 1990s, because they wrote their very nice dedication to Ralph Hoffmann.
Jon Dunn was born in 1954 as their book on warblers tells us. Kimball Garrett has been birding for over 40 years, which would also put his birth year, likely sometime in the 1950s. I imagine they are still in awe of Ralph Hoffmann, now 9 years after their own warbler book was published. They must be because they dedicated the book to Hoffmann. They did say that they were influenced and inspired by Hoffmann's book.