LIKE many herpetologists, Herndon Glenn Dowling, Jr., was inspired early in life by snakes. He was born on 2 April 1921 in Cullman, Alabama, the oldest of three children of Herndon and Ada Camp Dowling. His father was the superintendent of public schools in Tuscaloosa. His mother was a home economics major at Montevallo College, Montevallo, Alabama, and later worked in rural areas of the state for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Herndon's siblings were Barbara Dowling Sweat, who became a teacher for the deaf in Talladega, and Edward Dowling, the youngest, who became an electrical engineer. Herndon grew up in Tuscaloosa and attended public schools, graduating in 1938. He remembers that he had excellent teachers in biology, chemistry, and English.

Herndon married Margaret Purcell in 1943, a year after college when he became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. She completed her B.S. degree...

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