National Geographic's Collectors Corner

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A very remarkable 135 Years of exploring land, sea, and sky to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge" ~ 1888-2023

Dear Friends,

I was unable, over a week ago, to announce & wish the National Geographic Society a happy 135th anniversary!

NatGeo's Twitter celebrates 131 years (shows neat handwritten image)

At the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 1888 ~ the 32 Founders with, and convened by, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, eminent scientist and 1st President of N.G.S.  - - 

* painting by Stanley Meltzoff, c. 1963

the 33 founders were:

  • Cleveland Abbe
    Frank Baker
    Marcus Baker
    John Russell Bartlett
    Charles J. Bell
    Rogers Birnie
    William Dall
    Arthur Powell Davis
    Clarence Dutton
    Henry Gannett
    Samuel Gannett
    Grove Karl Gilbert
    George Brown Goode
    James Howard Gore
    Adolphus Washington Greely
    Edward Everett Hayden
    Henry Wetherbee Henshaw
    Gardiner Greene Hubbard
    Willard Drake Johnson
    George Kennan
    George Wallace Melville
    Clinton Hart Merriam
    Henry Mitchell
    Robert Muldrow II
    Herbert Gouverneur Ogden
    John Wesley Powell
    William Bramwell Powell
    Israel Russell
    Winfield Scott Schley
    Almon Harris Thompson
    Gilbert Thompson
    Otto Hilgard Tittmann
    James Clarke Welling

Original seal of the Society:

flag of the Society, representing Land, Sea, and Sky:

about the creation of the Society's flag:

The flag of the National Geographic Society has been a symbol of adventure and discovery for most of this century. In addition to flying high at headquarters in Washington, D.C., Society flags have been carried on innumerable expeditions to the far-flung reaches of the globe and beyond.

In 1903 the Society, then 15 years old, finally had a stable financial base and growing membership. The Board of Managers determined that the Society needed its own flag. Editor Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor and his wife, Elsie May Bell Grosvenor (daughter of Alexander Graham Bell), had studied the many flags found around Washington and thought most were too cryptic to be easily identified from a distance.

“In Washington we’d been watching parade after parade with notables...and the flags were so complicated...the bystander from the sidewalk couldn’t tell what it was. Clearly, what the Society needed was a simple and dignified standard, both attractive and instantly recognizable,” recalled Dr. Grosvenor.

Mrs. Grosvenor volunteered to come up with a design. She created the now famous tricolor. The colors, representing sky, earth, and sea, express the wide range of the Geographic’s interests.

The flag first went on assignment with the 1903 Ziegler Polar Expedition to the Arctic. Since then it has been on hundreds of Society expeditions, including treks to both the North and South Poles, the 1935 Explorer II Stratosphere flight, the climb to the summit of Mount Everest with the late Dr. Barry Bishop, and on all of the Apollo missions. Perhaps the flag’s greatest journeys were to the moon with Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and down to the RMS Titanic with Dr. Robert Ballard. Someday it may accompany astronauts to Mars.

Also of interest --->

"Embracing ingenuity, constantly evolving"

at NGS, 135 years of story-telling, adventure & learning

January 2023 sees all-time fund-raising record announced

Gilbert M. Grosvenor takes a trip down memory lane in 2022 book


               ~ Scott S. 

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Well done Scott!

I was at National Geographic's 135th anniversary celebration in Washington, DC. It wasn't at the same scale as the centennial or the quasquicentennial but enjoyable nevertheless.

Richard, nice, that's a very nice opportunity to be in-attendance for something like that. I would have loved to have been there in 1988!  

- Scott



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