History of The National Geographic Society
I remember before my mom passed away, the last Christmas gift she gave me was a year’s subscription to National Geographic Magazine. Over the years, I’ve subscribed a time or two, but not consistently. Recently, I ordered calendars for 2013, one for myself, one for my daughter and one for her kids. I also ordered an engagement calendar for myself to help me keep track of schoolwork and such.
Inside the cover of the engagement calendar was a note that told a little history about the National Geographic Society and I decided I wanted to share this information.
2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society (NGS). The first president of the Society as Gardiner Greene Hubbard who was followed in 1897 by Alexander Graham Bell, who was also Hubbard’s son in law. Mr. Bell’s son in law, Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor, was the first full time editor of National Geographic Magazine and served in that position for fifty-five years. In 2008, Gilbert Melville Grosvenor, as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The first National Geographic Magazine was published nine months after the society was founded. The title was later shortened to National Geographic. It is the official journal of the National Geographic Society. The magazine is published in 31 languages and has more than 50 million readers per month.
The historical mission of the National Geographic Society is to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world’s cultural, historical and natural resources,” (newworldencyclopedia.org). NGS has an education program combating illiteracy and has funded more than 7,500 scientific research projects.
National Geographic Magazine is known for its famous photography. The first photograph in National Geographic Magazine was an engraving of a topographic map of North America and it appeared in 1889.
Considered the Society’s most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal is awarded by the NGS for distinction in exploration, discovery and research. Past recipients include Charles Lindbergh in 1927 and Anne Morrow Lindbergh in 1934; Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins in 1970; Jane Goodall in 1995 and many others.
National Geographic stories are shown on television with specials as well as series shown on PBS and other networks. The first was shown in 1964 and featured many famous figures such as Louis Leakey, Jacques Cousteau and Jane Goodall. National Geographic launched the National Geographic Channel in 2001 and you can also watch some great shows on NatGeoWild.
On the NGS website, www.nationalgeographic.com, you can find games for kids, daily news, a blog, maps and even teaching resources. Also, there is an array of photographs, information about travel and there are even apps for your ipad, iphone and ipod touch as well as books for kindle and NOOK.
I enjoy reading my National Geographic every month when it comes. My grand children enjoy their National Geographic Kids too. My mom started the tradition with me, I hope my grandchildren develop a love for NatGeo like I have.