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After studying at the University of Edinburgh and University College, London, Bell became his father's assistant. He taught the deaf to talk by adopting his father's system of visible speech (illustrations of speaking positions of the lips and tongue). From 1873 to 1876 Bell experimented with a phonautograph, a multiple telegraph, and an electric speaking telegraph (the telephone). Funds came from the fathers of two of his pupils; one of these men, Gardiner Hubbard, had a deaf daughter, Mabel, who later became Bell's wife. The Bell Company built the first long-distance line in 1884, connecting Boston and New York. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company was organized by Bell and others in 1885 to operate other long-distance lines. By 1889, when insulation was perfected, there were 11, 000 miles of underground wires in New York City. The magazine Science (later the official organ of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) was founded in 1880 because of Bell's efforts. He made numerous addresses and published many monographs. As National Geographic Society president from 1896 to 1904, he fostered the success of the society and its publications. In 1898 he became a regent of the Smithsonian Institution. He was also involved in sheep breeding, hydrodynamics, and aviation projects.

Adapted from: Alexander Graham Bell." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2004


Bell, Alexander Graham. "The Tetrahedral Principle in Kite Structure." National Geographic Magazine, June 1903

Bell, Alexander Graham. "Our Heterogeneous System of Weights and Measures." National Geographic Magazine, Mar. 1906

Bell, Alexander Graham. "Discovery and Invention." National Geographic Magazine, June 1914

Bell, Alexander Graham. "Prehistoric Telephone Days." National Geographic Magazine, Mar. 1922


Jacques Cousteau was known as the co-inventor of the aqualung, along with his television programs, feature-length films, and books, all of which have showcased his research on the wonders of the marine world. Cousteau helped demystify undersea life, documenting its remarkable variety, its interdependence, and its fragility. Through the Cousteau Society, which he founded, Cousteau led efforts to call attention to environmental problems and to reduce marine pollution. On July 19, 1950, Cousteau bought Calypso, a converted U.S. minesweeper. The next year, after undergoing significant renovations, Calypso sailed for the Red Sea. The Calypso Red Sea Expedition (1951–52) yielded numerous discoveries, including the identification of previously unknown plant and animal species and the discovery of volcanic basins beneath the Red Sea. In February of 1952, Calypso sailed toward Toulon. On the way home, the crew investigated an uncharted wreck near the southern coast of Grand Congloué and discovered a large Roman ship filled with treasures. While some critics challenged his scientific credentials, Cousteau never claimed "expert" status in any discipline. His talents appeared as poetic as scientific; his films and books have a lyrical quality that conveys the captain's great love of nature. Cousteau continued to speak publicly about environmental issues until he was well into his eighties, although he had given up diving in cold water. 

Adapted from: "Cousteau, Jacques-Yves (1910-1997)." World of Earth Science, edited by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, vol. 1, Gale, 2003


Cousteau, Jacques-Yves, and Jacques Ertaud. "Fish Men Explore a New World Undersea." National Geographic Magazine, Oct. 1952

Cousteau, Jacques-Yves. "Diving Through an Undersea Avalanche: Nearly a Mile Beneath the Mediterranean, the Bathyscaphe Touches Off a Slide Dislodging Tons of Mud." National Geographic Magazine, Apr. 1955

Cousteau, Jacques-Yves. "Diving Saucer Takes to the Deep." National Geographic Magazine, Apr. 1960

Goodman, Robert B., and Jacques-Yves Cousteau. "At Home in the Sea." National Geographic Magazine, Apr. 1964


For the first decade, [National Geographic] magazine was a studious, scientific journal with a dull brown cover. Bell felt that people would be more inclined to read geography if it was light and entertaining. As a first step, in 1899 he hired Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor to do editing and promote membership. Grosvenor made changes in promotion and marketing, and began rejecting articles that he considered too technical or uninteresting, even when they were approved by the editorial board. He also began to slowly change the magazine's look. He insisted upon short paragraphs, enlarged the page size, and switched to two columns of type on each page. Perhaps the most striking changes were his generous use of photographs, something that was practically nonexistent in serial publications at the time, and early use of color graphics […] By the end of World War I, the National Geographic Society had become an American institution. In 1920, the circulation of National Geographic Magazine stood at 750,000.He retired as president of the society and editor of the magazine to become the chairman of the society's board in 1954, a job created for him.

Adapted from Bawden, Timothy. "National Geographic Society." Dictionary of American History, edited by Stanley I. Kutler, 3rd ed., vol. 5, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003


Grosvenor, Gilbert Hovey. "Plans for Reaching the South Pole." National Geographic Magazine, Aug. 1899

Bentley, Wilson A., and Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor. "Snow Crystals." National Geographic Magazine, Jan. 1904

Grosvenor, Gilbert Hovey, et al. "Young Russia: The Land of Unlimited Possibilities." National Geographic Magazine, Nov. 1914

Grosvenor, Gilbert Hovey. "Germany's Dream of World Domination." National Geographic Magazine, June 1918


Peter Hessler is a writer of narrative nonfiction and the author of four books. Originally from Columbia, Missouri, he has spent most of his writing life overseas. In 1996, he joined the Peace Corps, which sent him to Fuling, a small city in southwestern China. For two years, he taught English and American literature at Fuling Teachers College, an experience that eventually became the subject of his first book, River Town, which was published in 2001. This book was followed by two others about China: Oracle Bones (2006), and Country Driving (2010). Together they comprise Hessler’s “China trilogy,” covering the decade in which he lived in the country, from 1996 until 2007 […]. Since 2000, Hessler has been a staff writer at the New Yorker, and he is also a contributing writer at National Geographic Magazine. River Town won the Kiriyama Prize, and in 2001, and Oracle Bones was a finalist for the National Book Award, in 2006. Hessler won a National Magazine Award for “Instant Cities,” a two-year study of a new factory town in China’s Zhejiang province, which was published in National Geographic, in 2007. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011. Each of the books in the “China Trilogy” made the New York Times bestseller list (

Hessler, Peter, and O. Louis Mazzatenta. "Rising to Life: Treasures of Ancient China." National Geographic Magazine, Oct. 2001

Hessler, Peter, and Mark Leong. "China's Instant Cities." National Geographic Magazine, June 2007

Hessler, Peter, and Ira Block. "Restless Spirits: Chinese Afterlife." National Geographic Magazine, Jan. 2010

Hessler, Peter, and Anastasia Taylor-Lind. "A U. S. Teacher Revisits a Changed China." National Geographic Magazine, Mar. 2013

LUIS MARDEN (1913-2003)

Luis Marden, (Annibale Luigi Paragallo), American photographer, writer, and explorer, discovered the wreck of the HMS Bounty, retraced the voyages of Christopher Columbus, and revolutionized underwater colour photography. Marden was hired as a photographer for National Geographic in 1934 and almost immediately introduced the use of 35-mm Kodachrome film to the magazine. He spent the 1940s on assignments in Central and South America. In the mid-1950s he worked with Jacques Cousteau aboard the Calypso and devised many novel photography techniques. Marden’s best-known adventure was his discovery of the remains of the Bounty off Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific in January 1957. He also discovered a new species of orchid and a new species of sea flea, both of which were named for him. He retired in 1976, after which he and his wife, a mathematician, retraced and recalculated the first voyage of Columbus to the New World, concluding that Columbus landed at Samana Cay rather than, as had been generally accepted, at Watling Island. Marden contributed the last of his more than 60 articles to National Geographic in 1998 (


Marden, Luis, and Frederick Simpich. "Down the Rio Grande: Tracing this Strange, Turbulent Stream on Its Long Course from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico." National Geographic Magazine, Oct. 1939

Marden, Luis. "Spain's Silkworm Gut." National Geographic Magazine, July 1951

Marden, Luis. "The Other Side of Jordan." National Geographic Magazine, Dec. 1964

Marden, Luis, and Albert Moldvay. "Madagascar: Island at the End of the Earth." National Geographic Magazine, Oct. 1967


Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today's finest image-makers, is best known for his evocative color photography. In the finest documentary tradition, McCurry captures the essence of human struggle and joy. Born in Philadelphia, McCurry graduated cum laude from the College of Arts and Architecture at the Pennsylvania State University. After working at a newspaper for two years, he left for India to freelance. It was in India that McCurry learned to watch and wait on life. "If you wait," he realized, "people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view." His career was launched when, disguised in native garb, he crossed the Pakistan border into rebel-controlled Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion. When he emerged, he had rolls of film sewn into his clothes and images that would be published around the world as among the first to show the conflict there. His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, an award dedicated to photographers exhibiting exceptional courage and enterprise. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year, awarded by the National Press Photographers Association. This was the same year in which he won an unprecedented four first prizes in the World Press Photo contest. He has won the Olivier Rebbot Award twice (


Zich, Arthur, and Steve McCurry. "Hope and Danger in the Philippines." National Geographic Magazine, July 1986

McCurry, Steve, and Kenneth C. Danforth. "Yugoslavia: A House Much Divided." National Geographic Magazine, Aug. 1990

Denker, Debra, and Steve McCurry. "Pakistan's Kalash: People of Fire and Fervor." National Geographic Magazine, Oct. 1981

Zabriskie, Phil, and Steve McCurry. "The Outsiders: Hazara People." National Geographic Magazine, Feb. 2008


In 1883, Eliza Scidmore hopped on a mail steamer to Alaska. Tired of society life in Washington, D.C., she was inspired by the dramatic scenery described by naturalist John Muir in the San Francisco Bulletin. The uncharted northern tundra had been purchased from Russia in the 1860s, but few Americans had yet visited it. The intrepid 27-year-old writer and photographer decided to see it for herself.... The articles about Alaska that she published in American newspapers captivated the public and impressed the day’s great explorers […] In the decades after that Alaskan journey, Scidmore became a household name to readers of National Geographic magazine, producing 15 articles and some of the journal’s first color photography. She’s considered the first female­ writer and photographer to be published in National Geographic, and the first women elected to its board. Over nearly two decades of involvement with the National Geographic Society, she held positions as an associate editor, secretary, and foreign secretary (


Scidmore, Eliza Ruhamah. "The Recent Earthquake Wave on the Coast of Japan." National Geographic Magazine, Sept. 1896

Scidmore, Eliza Ruhamah. "The Tsung-Li-Yamen." National Geographic Magazine, July 1900

Scidmore, Eliza R. "Women and Children of the East." National Geographic Magazine, Apr. 1907

Scidmore, Eliza Ruhamah. "Koyasan, the Japanese Valhalla." National Geographic Magazine, Oct. 1907


John Stanmeyer is an American-born photographer and Emmy nominated filmmaker who specializes in distilling complex issues that define our times, presenting them in poetic and understandable narratives. John was on contract with Time magazine for over ten years, producing eighteen covers. Over the last decade, he has produced over fourteen stories since 2004, working for National Geographic Magazine. Stanmeyer is a writer, lecturer, educator and an avid field recordist with more than twenty years of experience recording traditional music, historical events and soundscapes in over one hundred countries. He has received numerous awards in photography, including Magazine Photographer of the Year by Pictures of the Year International, and the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award. In 2013, he received the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year Award. After more than twelve years living in Asia, Stanmeyer returned to the United States in 2008 (


Stanmeyer, John, and Michael Finkel. "Bedlam in the Blood: Malaria." National Geographic Magazine, July 2007

Bourne, Joel K, Jr., and John Stanmeyer. "The End of Plenty: The Global Food Crisis." National Geographic Magazine, June 2009

Gorney, Cynthia, and John Stanmeyer. "Machisma: Birth of a New Brazil." National Geographic Magazine, Sept. 2011

Salopek, Paul, and John Stanmeyer. "Walking With Migrants." National Geographic Magazine, Aug. 2019


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