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Adams, Cyrus Cornelius (07 January 1849–04 May 1928), geographer and editor, was born in Naperville, Illinois, the son of Cyrus Adams and Cornelia Stevens, farmers. He was raised by his aunt and uncle in Bloomington, Minnesota, and attended the nascent University of Minnesota for a year, continuing at the first University of Chicago. He became a reporter for the Chicago ...

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Atwood, Wallace Walter (01 October 1872–24 July 1949), geomorphologist and geographer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Thomas Greene Atwood, a builder and planing mill operator, and Adelaide Adelia Richards. After graduating from West Division High School, Atwood enrolled in the new University of Chicago in 1892. There he studied under the geographer-geologist ...

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Baker, Oliver Edwin (10 September 1883–02 December 1949), geographer, was born in Tiffin, Ohio, the son of Edwin Baker, a merchant, and Martha Ranney Thomas. His mother had been a schoolteacher, and because he was a frail child she supplied much of his early education. After graduating from public school Baker went on to Tiffin’s Heidelberg College, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1903 and 1904, specializing in mathematics, history, botany, sociology, and philosophy. In 1905 he earned a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University; from 1908 to 1912, after a year at Yale studying forestry, he did graduate work in agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, focusing on and mapping soils, climates, and agricultural production. During the summers he worked for the Wisconsin Soil Survey. Following a break from graduate school Baker returned to Madison to study economics, earning a Ph.D. in 1921 with a dissertation on land utilization. At the university two pioneering economists, Henry C. Taylor and ...

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Bowman, Isaiah (26 December 1878–06 January 1950), geographer, geologist, and educator, was born at Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, Canada, the son of Samuel Cressman Bowman and Emily Shantz, farmers. When he was eight weeks old the family moved to a farm near Brown City, Michigan. After attending country schools, Bowman began teaching. At age twenty-one he enrolled in the Ferris Institute, a college preparatory school in Big Rapids, Michigan, where he was influenced by geographer Harlan H. Barrows. In 1900, after a year of intensive study, he entered the Normal School in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he studied under ...

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Brown, Ralph Hall (12 January 1898–23 February 1948), geographer, was born in Ayer, Massachusetts, the son of William Brown, a pharmacist, and Nellie Eliza Leavitt. He attended Massachusetts State College from 1915 to 1917 and graduated in 1921 from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in economics. In 1925 he received a Ph.D. in geography and economics from the University of Wisconsin. In 1924 Brown married Eunice Rasmussen; three of their four children survived to maturity....

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Daly, Charles Patrick (31 October 1816–19 September 1899), jurist and author, was born in New York City, the son of Michael Daly, a carpenter and hotel manager, and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). Daly attended a parochial school for a short time. Following the death of Daly’s mother, his father remarried, and after his father’s death, Daly was left in the care of his stepmother. At age thirteen he fled his home and settled briefly in Savannah, Georgia, working as an apprentice to a quillmaker. Within a year he left Savannah and went to sea for two years. Returning to New York City in 1832, he was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker. At night he educated himself through reading at the library of the Mechanic’s and Tradesman’s Society and participation in a literary society. In 1836 he exchanged the cabinetmaker’s apprenticeship for one in a law office. He passed the New York bar examination in 1839 and became a junior partner in the same firm....

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Davis, William Morris (12 February 1850–05 February 1934), geologist, meteorologist, and geographer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Edward Morris Davis, a businessman with interests in railroads, mines, and the textile trade, and Maria Mott. Davis was associated with the civic elite of Philadelphia on both sides of his family. His maternal grandmother was the abolitionist ...

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Gannett, Henry (24 August 1846–05 November 1914), geographer, was born in Bath, Maine, the son of Michael Farley Gannett and Hannah Church. He studied first at local schools and then at Harvard University, where he earned a B.S. (1869) from the Lawrence Scientific School and an M.E. (1870) from the short-lived Hooper Mining School. Trained in astronomy as well as in the earth sciences, Gannett was employed at the Harvard Observatory before taking a position in 1871 as topographer on ...

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Guyot, Arnold Henry (28 September 1807–08 February 1884), geographer and educator, was born in Boudevilliers, Switzerland, the son of David Pierre Guyot and Constance Favarger. Born into a family that had converted to Protestantism in the mid-sixteenth century, Guyot initially planned to become a minister. After graduating from the College of Neuchâtel in Switzerland in 1825, he studied German and classics in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and then completed a two-year course in theology at Neuchâtel in 1829. Returning to Germany, he continued his study of theology in the classes of Frederick Schleiermacher and Johann Neander at the University of Berlin in 1829. Fellow students and professors at institutions where he studied (especially naturalist ...

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Hakluyt, Richard (1552–23 November 1616), British geographer and anthologist of travel literature, was born in London, the son of a merchant father, orphaned at five, and reared by his uncle (the names of his parents and uncle are not known). He was descended from the Welsh Hakluyts of Herefordshire, whose family seat was Eaton, near Leominster. Richard was a queen’s scholar at Westminster school; during that period he visited his namesake, a cousin twenty years his elder, at Middle Temple, where he was introduced to “certeine bookes of Cosmographie, with an universall Mappe” and the Bible, and felt an immediate passion for “that knowledge and kinde of literature.” He entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1570 and after earning his M.A. in 1577 began to give there the first public lectures in England on geography, lectures that “shewed both the old imperfectly composed, and the new lately reformed Mappes, Globes, Spheares and other instruments of this Art.” He also began a lifetime of voracious reading of “whatsoever printed or written discoveries and voyages I found extant either in the Greeke, Latine, Italian, Spanish, Portugall, French, or English languages.”...

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Huntington, Ellsworth (16 September 1876–17 October 1947), explorer and geographer, was born in Galesburg, Illinois, the son of Henry Strong Huntington, a minister, and Mary Lawrence Herbert. The family moved to Gorham, Maine, after his birth. Huntington was close to his mother, “to whom I owe most,” as he later wrote in dedicating a book to her. When he was twelve years old the family moved to Milton, Massachusetts. He graduated near the top of his class at Milton High School and passed his Harvard entrance examinations, but family financial pressures forced him initially to attend the less expensive Beloit College, where he wrote for the college newspaper and yearbook....

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John Brinckerhoff Jackson. At Berkeley. Photograph by Jennifer Williams, 1981. Courtesy of Paul Groth.

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Jackson, John Brinckerhoff (25 September 1909–28 August 1996), essayist, cultural geographer, and interpreter of the American-built environment, was born in Dinard, France, the son of William Brinckerhoff Jackson, an independently wealthy attorney, and Alice Richardson Jackson, who later became an antiques buyer for Bonwit Teller department store in New York City. John's parents lived near Washington, D.C., and traveled widely. They divorced when he was four, and he then lived in Europe and the New York area with his mother and two siblings by her previous marriage. John's father paid for him to attend the best private boarding schools in the United States and Europe, including drawing classes near Fontainbleau and two years at Le Rosey in Switzerland. John also spent several summers on his uncle Percy Jackson's ranch in Wagon Mound, New Mexico. By his teenage years, John was fluent in French, German, and Spanish, and was adept at sketching as a method of recording built environments....

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Jefferson, Mark Sylvester William (01 March 1863–08 August 1949), geographer, was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Jefferson, a literary editor, and Mary Mantz. The wooded areas in and around Melrose afforded Jefferson his earliest contacts with nature, while his father’s work instilled in him a love of learning. Jefferson entered Boston University in 1880 but left after three years and moved to Argentina. There he used his mathematical skills as an assistant at the National Observatory in Córdoba from 1883 to 1886, then for an equal amount of time as the superintendent of a sugar estate at Tucumán. The experiences and insights he absorbed living in these two locales on Argentina’s western reaches later were woven into several works he completed on southern South America after World War I....

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Morse, Jedidiah (23 August 1761–09 June 1826), geographer and clergyman, was born in Woodstock, Connecticut, the son of Jedidiah Morse and Sarah Child. His father was a local officeholder and a deacon of the Congregational church. Morse attended a local academy and then entered Yale College, from which he graduated in 1783. He continued to study theology in New Haven while teaching at a school for young girls....

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Robinson, Edward (10 April 1794–27 January 1863), biblical scholar, was born in Southington, Connecticut, the son of William Robinson, a clergyman, and Elisabeth Norton. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1816. After a year reading law at Hudson, New York, at the office of James Strong, he returned to Hamilton in 1818 as a tutor in Greek and mathematics. There he married Eliza Kirkland; they had no children. After her death in 1819, Robinson spent three years farming and in private study, preparing an edition of parts of the Iliad ( ...

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Richard Harmond and Thomas J. Curran

Sauer, Carl Ortwin (24 December 1889–18 July 1975), geographer, was born in Warrenton, Missouri, the son of German-born William Albert Sauer and Rosetta J. Vosholl. As a boy he was sent to study for five years in southern Germany. In 1908 he graduated from Central Wesleyan College (now defunct), where his father taught French and music and served as the school’s botanist. The elder Sauer, a student of geography and history who insisted on the close relationship of those two disciplines, most likely had a significant influence on his son’s interest and outlook. Carl Sauer studied geology at Northwestern University briefly and then enrolled at the University of Chicago to study geography. There he came under the influence of geologist ...

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Semple, Ellen Churchill (08 January 1863–08 May 1932), geographer, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Alexander Bonner Semple, a businessman, and Emerin Price. Semple was raised in comfortable upper-middle-class circumstances because of her father’s profitable business transactions with both northern and southern interests during the Civil War; this allowed her in later years a measure of freedom to pursue activities of her choosing. She lived in a predominantly female household owing to parental separation (though not divorce) and the departure from home of her oldest brother. Her mother presided firmly over the family, expecting from each of her children their best effort at whatever they undertook. Her uncompromising high standards were particularly influential on her scholarly and brilliant youngest daughter, whose professional work was always guided by those high expectations....

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Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate (20 February 1841–10 April 1906), geologist, geographer, and educationalist, was born in Newport, Kentucky, the son of Nathaniel Burger Shaler, a medical doctor, and Ann Hinde Southgate, the daughter of a prominent legal and landholding family.

Prior to his enrollment in Harvard’s sophomore class of 1859, Shaler—due to ill health—had been educated informally by a Swiss tutor, Johannes Escher, who instructed him in classical languages and initiated him into the rudiments of German idealist philosophy. With such a preparation Shaler turned first to the study of the humanities at Harvard, but he soon abandoned what he considered mere scholasticism to enlist as a student of ...

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Tanner, Henry Schenck (1786–1858), cartographer and statistical geographer, was born in New York City, the son of John Tanner, a ship master, and Ann Schenck. His father died when he was six, and the family was then headed by his older brother Benjamin Tanner...