June 18, 2018 Geographers on Film Series Tells the Story of the 20th Century in America

Press Contact: Benny Seda-Galarza (202) 707-8732
Public Contact: John Hessler (202) 707-7223
Website: Geographers on Film Series

The Library of Congress’ Geography and Map division, in collaboration with the American Association of Geographers, has digitized an archive of more than 300 filmed interviews, called “Geographers on Film,” which highlights leading voices that transformed the discipline of cartography and geography in the 20th century in America.

The complete series has been digitally preserved by the Library of Congress’ Audio-Visual Conservation Laboratory and the Motion Picture and Recorded Sound division at its Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia. A selection of the best preserved is now available to the public online at loc.gov/collections/geographers-on-film/about-this-collection/.

The series was largely produced by Maynard Weston Dow (1929 - 2011). Dow, a former professor Emeritus at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, spent nearly 40 years recording the visual and oral history of American geography.

 “The history of the 20th century saw revolutionary developments in technology across many academic and intellectual disciplines. Computers, satellites, mobile communication devices and the creation of the internet changed not only how research was done, but also how people lived and interacted,” said John Hessler, a specialist in geographic information systems and curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection for the archaeology of the early Americas of the Library of Congress.

“Geographers on Film conveys how these changes transformed the study of geography and cartography. With the creation of geographic information systems, mapmaking and geographic analysis evolved from purely specialized and professional disciplines to the more open data, design and web driven tasks we see today.”

Parallel to these technological transformations, 20th century geographers embraced deeper and more varied multidisciplinary theoretical stances in their analysis of the global human condition, taking on the challenges brought about by globalization, urban development and environmental issues from across the globe.

The interviews, conducted from August 1970 until the early 1990s, feature distinguished geographers, including David Harvey, William Warntz, Waldo Tobler, Carl Sauer, Richard Hartshorne, Wilbur Zelinsky, Richard Chorley, Mildred Berman, John Frazier Hart, Peter Haggett, E. Cotton Mather, Yi-Fu Tuan and William Bunge, to name just a few who appear in the complete collection.

The Library has now released 27 of these interviews online, with more to be added in the future. The full series is available for viewing at the Motion Picture and Recorded Sound division reading room, in the Madison Building at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States - and extensive materials from around the world - both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


PR 18-076
ISSN 0731-3527