Conover was born in Chicago, the son of Charles Hopkins Conover and his wife Delia Louise Boardman. He attended The Hill School and then studied at the Sheffield Scientific School in Yale. He had an interest in natural history from an early age, and collected bird specimens. In 1920, he traveled to Venezuela with Wilfred Hudson Osgood on a collecting trip for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. They returned to South America in 1922, visiting Chile and Argentina. In 1926, Conover traveled to East Africa. Conover became, successively, an associate in ornithology, a life member in 1924, a patron in 1926, a contributor in 1930, a research associate in birds 1936, a trustee and corporate member in 1940, and a benefactor of the Field Museum in 1950.
- Gregory, Stephen S. Jr.; Rand, A. L. (1951). "Boardman Conover, 1892–1950" (PDF). Auk. 68 (1): 17–23. doi:10.2307/4080793.
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