Bose, Emil [Boese] (1868–1927)

By: Keith Young

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Emil Böse (Boese), geologist, was born to Johann Heinrich and Johanna (Karutz) Böse on June 8, 1868, in Hamburg, Germany. He took his doctorate in Munich in 1893 under Karl von Zittel, after which he spent several years studying the Triassic rocks of the Italian Alps. In 1898 he accepted a position as geologist with the Instituto de Geología de México. Böse, one of several outstanding geologists who worked in northern Mexico and Texas in the early part of the twentieth century, is best known for outlining the basic stratigraphy of northern Mexico. He remained at the institute until 1915 and was responsible for the preparation of many of the guidebooks for the excursions and meetings of the International Geological Congress in Mexico City and environs in 1906. Although he published many articles and monographs during this period, probably one of the most important was "Monografía Geológica y Paleontológica del Cerro de Muleros cerca de Ciudad Juárez, Estado de Chihuahua, y descripción de la fauna Cretácea de la Encantada, Placer de Guadalupe, Estado de Chihuahua, México" (1910).

In 1915 Böse joined the Bureau of Economic Geology of the University of Texas under the direction of Johan A. Udden. He worked for the bureau for two years, first with Charles Laurence Baker and Wayne Bowman in Trans-Pecos Texas, and later in North Texas and other parts of the state. With Udden and Baker he wrote Review of the Geology of Texas (1916). He decided to return to Mexico during the latter part of World War I, but since he was a reserve colonel in the German army he was temporarily detained in San Antonio by United States authorities.

From 1917 to 1922 he was engaged as a consulting geologist in various parts of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Mexico. He subsequently joined O. A. Cavins and others in exploratory geology for the Richmond Petroleum Company of Mexico, a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company of California. Böse traveled much in Mexico, and his letters describing desert life in western and northern Coahuila during and following the period of Francisco (Pancho) Villa are fascinating.

Böse's publications on the geology of Texas included several bulletins at the University of Texas, papers in the American Journal of Science, numerous bulletins and papers for the Instituto de Geología de México, and articles in the International Geological Congress journals and in various scientific bulletins. His last papers, published posthumously, were "Cretaceous Ammonites from Texas and Northern Mexico" and, with O. A. Cavins, "The Cretaceous and Tertiary of Southern Texas and Northern Mexico." Böse was the first to describe the Jurassic and Cretaceous peninsula in northern Mexico now known as the Coahuila Peninsula or Coahuila Island.

He married Helene Miller on October 2, 1900. They had five children. Early in 1924 his family moved to Munich, where the children could get what the Böses considered a proper education. Böse continued to work for Richmond Petroleum Company, mostly in Mexico, though he visited his family in Germany in the summer of 1926. On November 8, 1927, he died as a result of injuries received in an automobile accident west of Sabinal, Texas.

Emil Böse Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Science
  • Scientists and Researchers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Keith Young, “Bose, Emil [Boese],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994