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NGS Memories: Society incorporated on this day, January 27, 1888

On 27-Jan-1888, the founding committee presented its drafts of a constitution and order of charter to the group's chairman, and others. On the same day, the first official meeting of The Society was held in the Assembly Hall of the Cosmos Club. The by-laws were adopted, and the first organization of officers and managers was elected, established.

At the time of its organization, 165 individuals joined as members. Original dues: $5.

The incorporation was as follows:

National Geographic Society


Certificate of Incorporation 

     This is to certify that we whose names are hereunto subscribed, citizens of the United States, and a majority of whom are citizens of the District of Columbia, have associated ourselves together pursuant to the provision of the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Columbia, and of an act of Congress entitled:  "An Act to amend the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Columbia and for other purposes,"  approved April 23, 1884, as a Society and body corporate, to be known by the corporate name of the National Geographic Society, and to continue for the term of one hundred years.

    The particular objects and business of this Society are:  to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge ; to publish the transactions of the Society ; to publish a periodical magazine, and other works relating to the science of geography; to dispose of such publications by sale or otherwise ; and to acquire a library, under the restrictions and regulations to be established in its By-Laws.

     The affairs, funds, and property f the corporation shall be in the general charge of Managers whose number for the first year shall be seventeen, consisting of a President, five Vice-Presidents, a Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a Treasurer and eight other members, styled Managers, all of whom shall be chosen by ballot at the annual meeting. The duties of these officers and of other officers and standing committees, and their terms and the manner of their election or appointment shall be provided for in the By-Laws.

(signed, 27-Jan-1888)

Gardiner G. Hubbard.                          J. W. Powell.

C. E. Dutton.                                     Henry Gannett.

O. H. Tittmann.                        A. H. Thompson.

J. Howard Gore.                                      A. W. Greely.

C. Hart Merriam.                           Henry Mitchell.

J. R. Bartlett.                           George Kennan.

Rogers Birnie, Jr.                                          Marcus Baker.

        Gilbert Thompson.

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I'm curious about the dating of the picture as automobiles in the U.S. did not take off until after 1893 with the formation of the first automobile company in the U.S.

Yes, the Europeans, especially in France which boasted nearly 50% of the world's automobile production at the time, began producing en masse around 1888 - but I doubt the number of automobiles pictured in the photo were available circa 1888 in D.C.

Just wondering?


Hi Mel, sure I knew someone would heckle me (wink). I was just wanting to show a photo of the building that served as the home of the Cosmos Club in 1888, though the photo is circa 1921. I realized folks would wonder about the cars, which is why I renamed the attached photo from "Cosmos Club circa 1888". 

Since 1952 the Cosmos Club has been based at this (attached) building; formerly the Townsend House -- a very stately structure indeed. It's at 2121 Massachusetts Avenue, in D.C. 

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and is a contributing piece of the Dupont Circle Historic District and Massachusetts Avenue Historic District.

**the way I named the first photo was insufficient, so I've corrected it.


You're alright Scott, I don't care what they say about you at the NGS...(wink)...



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