Warren H. Bolles was born on December 13, 1899 in Collins, New York to John and Harriet (Merill) Bolles. As a young child, Warren had a love for all things outdoors. He could always been found wandering the land, and went hunting, trapping, and fishing. In 1919, with encouragement from his mother, Warren wrote to the New York State Ranger School in the Adirondack Mountains. He was accepted, and began attending in March 1920. Warren graduated from the school in December of that year, and left for Ogden, Utah after receiving a job offer letter from the United States Forest Service (USFS).
In September 1922, Warren made his way to Moscow, Idaho to attend the University of Idaho’s School of Forestry. Due to his age and experience in the field, he fell into a special student category and could work off needed credits. At that time, twenty students were enrolled alongside him in the forestry school. He completed his degree in 1926, and in March had taken the Junior Forester Civil Service examination. He ranked 2nd out of the 160 forestry graduates who had taken the exam.
Warren had the opportunity to travel to many different ranger stations throughout his Forest Service career. He spent time in national forests in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and various other forests across the country. As a Forester, he also adopted many different roles. He could be found “chasing smoke” during fire season, worked on the engineering of forest service roads, and completed stand exams using USFS issued tools. He even published research and other articles in academic journals, newspapers, and magazines. His personal life was also a success. He married Ella Cretors, from Oregon, in March 1942, and they had three daughters, Mary, Beth, and Jeanne.
Roger Berger, Warren’s nephew, took the initiative to preserve Warren’s life on tape. In 1989, Roger worked to create an oral history of Warren’s life which was then copied and given to family members. With the help of Warren’s daughters, the tapes were transcribed into the readable document, Life and History of Warren Huntington Bolles.
Near the end of Warren’s transcribed life history, he says:
“I have completed my life cycle and when called home will have no regrets…I firmly expect to celebrate five score years, becoming a three century man, born in the 19th, living most of my life the 20th century and hopefully going to meet my maker in the 21st century.”
Warren passed away in 1996, three years short of his goal but none-the-less successful in his life endeavors. This serves as lesson for all of us to live life to the fullest. To live without regrets.
To view this collection or others, make an appointment with U of I Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department.
Berger, R. 1898. Life History of Warren Huntington Bolles.
Warren H. Bolles collection, MG 521, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.