The Society In Its Early Years: 399 members

This is one of the things I enjoy showing visitors to our library.

When the National Geographic Society started publishing its magazine shortly after its founding in 1888, the magazine was then, as now, a benefit of membership. So, at the end of Volume II in 1890, along with rules for publication and the Society’s bylaws, the National Geographic published a list of the Society’s 399 members, including names still recognized today: Alexander Graham Bell, John Muir, and John Wesley Powell, to name a few. Of course, with a global circulation of about 8 million, that’s not something we’d do today!

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