Ernest Sheldon Booth:
The Early Years From 1915 to 1947

Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek
Ballona Institute
322 Culver Blvd., Suite 317
Playa del Rey, California 90293
(310) 821-9045
ęDecember 20, 2010

The early years of Ernest Sheldon Booth, from birth, childhood, teen years, and into his twenties, sheds light on the emergence of a distinguished biological scientist, educator, and writer. Ernest Sheldon Booth is born in 1915, however the birthplace is not yet known. Ernest may have been born in eastern Washington at Walla Walla, or in Oregon or Nevada, because Ernest's father, Sheridan Booth, took him on "exploring" trips in the latter two states, according to Ernest's own words in the Dedication of a bird book called Birds of the West (Booth, 1950). I reprint the Dedication page from this book, which Ernest wrote for his father in its entirety, here for the first time since the book was first published 60 years ago:

To my Father
Sherman Booth
"Who has been my inspiration in the study of outdoor biology since boyhood days,
when he spent hundreds of hours walking with me over the hills of eastern Oregon and Nevada."
In the same book, Birds of the West, Ernest writes about his brother, Elwood Booth, briefly as well. I reprint the portion of the Foreword as an excerpt where Ernest acknowledges Elwood for his assistance with the book(Booth, 1950: vii) as follows:

"During the preparation of this book a number of individuals have helped in the identification of questionable species, or have otherwise given suggestions:
... my brother, Elwood Booth, ... I am grateful."

Ernest Sheldon Booth graduated from high school in 1933 at Walla Walla Academy, located in Walla Walla, in southeastern Washington, fairly close to the border of Oregon, and not too far from Idaho either. After graduation, Ernest moved to California, in order to attend Pacific Union College (PUC), near Napa, which is located in the greater San Francisco Bay region. After graduation from PUC with a Bachelor of Science Degree (Biology) in 1937, Ernest moved back to eastern Washington. Within one year in 1938, Ernest Sheldon Booth became a college professor at Walla Walla College, in 1938.

Just two years later in 1939, Ernest Sheldon Booth wrote several articles on birds and mammals, which appeared in the publication for biological scientists of Washington known as The Murrelet.

Not much more than a year later, circa 1940, Ernest Booth enrolls at the University of Washington at Seattle, for the graduate program, with the intention to earn a Master of Science Degree in Biology. In 1943, Ernest Booth completes his M.S. in Biology, and the topic of his Master Thesis is on the Birds of the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. Ernest had completed the Master of Science graduate program at the University of Washington, while still teaching at Walla Walla College. Also, in 1943, Ernest Booth again wrote several articles on birds and mammals, for a science periodical, The Murrelet.

Within another year, circa 1944, Ernest Booth, now just shy of his thirtieth birthday, was enrolled in the doctoral program at Washington State University. In 1947, he completed the requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy in Biology. His doctoral dissertation was a comprehensive taxonomy of the mammals of Washington state.

And somewhere in these early years of his college and university years, Ernest had met a wonderful woman, named Marilyn, and they would marry and begin a family together, but this more personal part of his life is not known at this time. And they would later become a grandfather and grandmother.

For another 10 years, Dr. Ernest Sheldon Booth would continue to teach and share his wealth of knowledge with students at Walla Walla College. And then, in the late 1950s, circa 1958, Dr. Booth would move to southern California, in order to become a biology professor at Loma Linda University. And while living in southern California, Ernest wrote an excellent book in 1968 for the California Natural History Guides Series of UC Press entitled: Mammals of Southern California.

This next phase of his life, from 1947 to 1983, which includes the establishment of a marine biological field station in the Greater Puget Sound Region in Washington State, research of mammals and birds in Mexico, making films on nature, establishing a field station in Mexico, as well as another field station in the Galapagos Islands, will be considered in a future biography of his later years. Harry.Baerg.WildlifeArtist.htm

In order to learn more about Ernest Sheldon Booth, as well as the colleagues of Ernest, namely other biologists of our past, including a wildlife artist named Harry Baerg, please visit the website of the Ballona Institute and Natures Peace.