My father-in-law, a retired physician,made sure there wasalways an issue of in the house when his eightchildren were growing up. A man of science,he wanted his children to be familiarwith the wealth of information capturedbetween the journal's bright yellowcovers. He also wanted them to havean opportunity to travel to the hotAfrican savannah, the tranquil bluedepths of the coral reefs, or the distantreaches of the galaxy. Near or far, itcould be found in
The National Geographic Society wasfounded in 1888 in Washington, DC, by agroup of people who met to consider"the advisability of organizing a societyfor the increase and diffusion of geographicalknowledge." The first issue of was published in1888. Lawyer and financier GardinerGreene Hubbard, the father-in-law ofAlexander Graham Bell, was elected thefirst president. Although not a scientificman, Hubbard financed and promotedBell's experiment.
In 1898, Bell took over as presidentand his son-in-law, Gilbert H. Grosvenor,became the first paid editor of . It was Grosvenor's idea tosolicit membership from the public. Healso originated the photographic essay,which was originally used as risky fillerfor a small issue. This now-standard featureestablished definitive role in photojournalism.
A busy doctor will find the journal aticket to the globeâ€”armchair travelingat its best. Children, intrigued by excellentphotos of exotic animals and unusualpeople, may be drawn into learningabout conservation or multiculturalism,two very important issues for our futureand theirs. The issues, after thoroughperusal, make a great resource for children'sprojects and reports.
The journal has a comprehensiveWeb site (www.nationalgeographic.com),which includes Today's News, Photo ofthe Day, and an online store. The KidsPage offers homework help, games,activities, and experiments. Subscriptionsfor the publication are available($34 for 12 issues; 800-647-5463), as wellas several new versions like and This invaluable magazineshould occupy a valued place in yourhome library, turning cold geographicfact into living, breathing truth aboutthe world and bringing it to your family.