Today In History : January 27, 2022
On This Day In History
On January 27, 1888, the National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”
A diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, lawyers, cartographers, military officers and financiers met and formed the National Geographic Society. They all shared an interest in scientific and geographical knowledge. And they sensed that Americans were becoming more curious about the world around them. The late 19th century was a time of discovery, invention, change and mass communication, and the National Geographic Society endeavored to bring more knowledge of the world to the people.
The first issue of National Geographic magazine, published in late 1888, contained short, scientific articles. This format lasted eleven years until, in 1899, a new editor named Gilbert H. Grosvenor changed the format to include not only articles of interest to the general public, but also photographs. National Geographic magazine quickly became known for its pioneering photography as well as its ventures into places the vast majority of Americans would never go.
The National Geographic Society has used its revenue from magazine sales to sponsor expeditions and research projects. A few of the well-known projects are Robert Peary’s trek to the North Pole, Jacques Cousteau’s undersea explorations, and Jane Goodall’s extensive work with wild chimpanzees.
Today, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions. The Society focuses on ways to broaden its reach and educate its readers about the unique relationship that humans have with the earth.