The papers of Earl Stannard Herald - icthyologist, Curator and Superintendent of the Steinhart Aquarium, and host of Science
in Action. Collection includes bibliography, portrait, articles, correspondence, various projects, original illustrations,
and miscellaneous publications.
Dr. Earl S. Herald, the famed aquarist and fourteen-year host of television’s Science in Action, was born in Phoenix, Arizona
on April 10, 1914. When still young, he moved with his family to Los Angeles. After attending a local community college, he
transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received his B.A. in 1937. While at UCLA, he was a collegiate
spring board diving champion, a natural extension of his love of water. After graduating, Earl Herald moved north to the San
Francisco Bay Area. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his a M.A. in Ichthyology in 1939.
While completing his Ph.D. at Stanford (which he earned in 1943) Dr. Herald served from 1941-42 as a District Aquatic Biologist
with the California Department of Fish and Game. In 1942, he accepted a position with the United States Public Health Service
conducting Plague surveys (bubonic, malaria, etc.). The years of 1942-46 found Dr. Herald in the U.S. Army, where he would
rise to the rank of Captain in the Sanitary Corps. He was charged with inspecting and researching insecticides, primarily
DDT, in Florida, and doing other research in New Guinea. In 1946 he was sent to the Bikini Atoll to examine the effects of
atomic bomb tests on local fish populations.
Later in 1946, he accepted a position as Aquatic Biologist in the Philippines, working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
They were charged with the research and development of post-war fisheries in the islands. Much of his time at this post was
spent aboard the Spencer F. Baird Research Vessel. In 1948, after becoming disenchanted with this mission, Dr. Herald’s dissertation
advisor, George S. Myers of Stanford, recommended him for the position of Curator and Superintendent of the Steinhart Aquarium.
As a result of his dynamic energy, devotion to his work and immutable spirit, Dr. Herald got the job. He was enthusiastic,
to say the least, in his work. He worked tirelessly to improve not only the exhibits at the Aquarium but the Aquarium itself.
He was the leader of a major renovation that made the Aquarium one of the best in the world. He was also an active field worker.
In 1951, Dr. Herald participated in the George Vanderbilt Pacific Equatorial Expedition as the Staff Ichthyologist. Another
joint field expedition, The Aquarium of Niagara Falls Expedition to the Amazon, took him to the Amazon to study fresh-water
dolphins, giant black piranhas, and Candirutype Catfish (the latter two of these being carnivorous man-eaters). The fresh-water
dolphins became a source of intrigue to Dr. Herald, and eventually he would travel to India and Pakistan to search for and
find a similar breed in the Ganges River.
Dr. Herald was a member of at least eighteen scientific societies and was instrumental in the founding of the San Francisco
Zoological Society in 1953. He was the author of over 90 publications, including two full-color books, all on fish, which
were translated into multiple languages.
Dr. Herald was a fish-lover to the very end. While on a work/play vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California with his wife
Olivia (whom he married in 1946), he was doing some research on pipe-fish, another special passion of his. On January 16,
1973, he suffered a heart attack while skin-diving and was later found dead in shallow waters by a friend.