Quayle, Ernest H., 1891-1956

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Exist Dates

1891 May 9 - 1956 September 16

Biographical or Historical Note

ERNEST HARRISON QUAYLE was born on May 9, 1891 in Salt Lake, Utah to Julie Anne Quayle (née Young) and Ernest Quayle. He had twelve siblings.

Quayle joined the Whitney South Sea Expedition as an assistant to leader Rollo Beck. The AMNH Whitney South Sea Expedition was an ornithological expedition originated by Dr. Leonard C. Sanford and funded by Harry Payne Whitney, with the mission of systematically exploring Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia for previously undiscovered or little-known bird specimens. It was the largest ornithological expedition ever conceived. Active field research was conducted from 1920 to 1941. Quayle left the project in 1922 when he was forced to return to America because of illness due to fish poisoning. During his tenure with the expedition, Quayle visited forty-four islands. He recorded not only ornithological notes but also took interest in coral reefs. He continued to research coral and later published an article on fossil corals for the journal Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History in 1932.

Quayle enrolled as a private in the Marine Corps and was aboard a ship in the Caribbean during World War I. Quayle attended Stanford University where he was treasurer of the Stanford Zoology Club. Soon after graduating Stanford, Quayle joined the Whitney South Sea Expedition.

After leaving the WSSE, Quayle herded sheep for his father in Pine Canyon, Idaho. In 1931 Quayle and his second wife, Mary Emma, returned to California where he continued his scientific field research. Quayle and his second wife had one daughter, Colleen, born June 15, 1931. Quayle married his third wife, Frances, in October 1937. They divorced in January 1938.

Ernest Quayle died on September 16, 1956 in California at the age of 65.


    Haffer, Jürgen. Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy: The Life and Science of Ernst Mayr (1904 – 2005). New York: Springer, 2007.
    “Ernest H. Quayle Returns.” The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) June 5, 1923.
    Ernest H. Quayle diary (1917). Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University.
    Ernest H. Quayle diaries (1920-1953). J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.
    Quayle, E. H.. "Fossil corals of the genus Turbinolia from the Eocene of California." Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 7(10), 1932: 91-110
    Library of Congress Name Authority File: no2013100232



Written by: Cara Shatzman
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