American Geographical Society

American Geographical Society

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American Geographical Society

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The American Geographical Society (AGS) is an organization of professional geographers, founded in 1851 in New York City. Most fellows of the society are Americans, but among them have always been a significant number of fellows from around the world. The Society encourages activities that expand geographical knowledge, and presents and interprets that knowledge so that it can be understood and used not just by geographers but by others as well, especially policy makers. It is the oldest nationwide geographical organization in the United States. Over the century and a half of its existence, the AGS has been especially interested in three regions: the Arctic, the Antarctic, and Latin America. A signature characteristic of the AGS-sponsored exploration was the requirement that its expeditions produce tangible scientific results.


The AGS was founded by 31 New Yorkers, who were wealthy philanthropists, historians, publishers and editors. Among them were George Folsom, Henry Grinnell, Henry Varnum Poor, Hiram Barney, Alexander Isaac Cotheal, Henry Evelyn Pierrepont, S. De Witt Bloodgood, John Romeyn Brodhead, Joshua Leavitt and Archibald Russell. The founders held a joint interest in polar exploration, and readily organized the AGS upon the request of Lady Franklin to search for her husband and his voyagers lost in the Polar Franklin Expedition. In September 1851, the committee formed to draft a constitution. On October 9, this committee undertook...
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