August F. Foerste (1862-1936) was born in Dayton, Ohio. Foerste studied geology at Denison University, B.A., 1887, and Harvard University, M.A., 1888, and Ph.D., 1890. While at Harvard, he also served as a part-time assistant with the United States Geological Survey studying the stratigraphy and petrography of New England. Following his attendance at Harvard, Foerste studied for two years at Heidelberg College and the Collège de France. In 1893, he returned to Dayton and became a science teacher at a high school where he remained until his retirement in 1932.
Foerste's summer vacations were spent participating in geological surveys in Indiana, 1896, 1897, and 1899; Ohio, 1908 and 1919; Kentucky, 1904-1912; and Canada, 1911-1912. In 1920, Foerste began research in invertebrate paleontology at the United States National Museum (USNM) and was appointed Associate in Paleontology at the USNM in 1932.
Foerste's study of fossils centered on three areas: Ohio Valley Silurian stratigraphy and paleontology; Ordovician fossils of the United States and Canada; and lower Paleozoic cephalopods, particularly those of the Ozarkian-Canadian system with Edward Oscar Ulrich of the USNM.