An authority on New World trees and a writer of tree books, Elbert L. Little, Jr., was born at Fort Smith, Arkansas, on the state line on October 15, 1907 and moved with his family to Muskogee in 1909.
He has B.A. (botany) and B.S. (zoology) degrees from the University of Oklahoma and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (botany, both in 1929) from the University of Chicago. His lengthy career of more than 70 years has been mostly as a forest botanist.
His 25 tree books, both popular and technical, some with coauthors, include the Checklist of United States Trees, the 6-volume Atlas of United States Trees, and the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees (2 volumes). He prepared the last revision of Forest Trees of Oklahoma (1981). Southwestern Trees (1950) for New Mexico and Arizona. Similar references were prepared for Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, also others in Spanish for Venezuela, Esmeraldas Ecuador, and Paraguay.
Among Dr. Little's many honors are professional achievement alumni awards. The United States Department of Agriculture gave him superior, distinguished, and 40-year awards, the Forest Service its outstanding award. A member or fellow of several scientific societies, he has received awards from the Society of American Foresters, American Forests, Oklahoma Forestry Association, and Oklahoma Academy of Science.
Named for him are the Oklahoma grove in the Harrell Arboretum at Muskogee and a room in the Oklahoma Forest Heritage Center at Beavers Bend State Park near Broken Bow.
Another publication which may be of interest is Dr. Little's 65 year study of the management of pine-oak forests in southeastern Oklahoma.