On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.” The 33 men who formed the society were a diverse lot, sharing an interest in scientific and geographical knowledge. Nine months after its inception, the society published the first issue of National Geographic magazine. Readership soared in 1899 when editor Gilbert H. Grosvernor began publishing articles of general interest accompanied by stunning photographs.
By using its revenues from the magazine to sponsor expeditions and research projects, the society has been instrumental in making possible some of the great achievements in exploration and science, including Robert Peary’s journey to the North Pole, Richard Byrd’s flight over the South Pole, Jacques Cousteau’s oceanographic work, and Jane Goodall’s observations of wild chimpanzees. One of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions, the society today sees itself as a guardian of the planet’s natural resources.
I love the National Geographic. They take great pictures. For that they are to be congratulated. But they don’t create the nature they photograph. That honor belongs to God. And for that He is to be congratulated.