National Geographic : 1898 Oct
THE GEOSPHERES* By W J McGEE, Vice-President of the National GeographicSociety Perhaps it is my first duty, as it is a privilege, to offer you a word of welcome on behalf of the Society which I have the honor to represent-one of the institutions of the National Cap ital engaged in its own way in educational work. Speaking for that Society, Mr President and ladies and gentlemen of the National Educational Association, I bid you cordial welcome to Washington, and place at your disposal all the facilities which are ours. Before leading you away from the earth's surface, which has been so admirably described by the last speaker, I wish to con fess that I labor under a certain embarrassment. In the first place, I am attempting to speak for another man, and on his subject. The subject was chosen by Major J. W. Powell; first an educator like most of you; then a soldier who left an arm at Shiloh; next the explorer of Colorado canyon, the boldest piece of exploratory work in the history of our country; then a geol ogist and long Director of the U. S. Geological Survey; at the same time an ethnologist and founder of the Bureau of Ameri can Ethnology; and from first to last a philosopher, one of the most vigorous thinkers America has produced. It is but natural that I should shrink from discussion of a subject developed by so original a thinker and selected by him for presentation be fore you in his own inimitable way. Again, I belong to the class of knowledge makers who most feel their own limitations in appearing before those who assim ilate and apply knowledge, placing it within reach of the people and thereby performing the real work of raising humanity from plane to plane as time goes on. I apprehend that my ideas may seem vague and my expressions obscure, but I confidently appeal to your intelligence to aid in making the ideas clear and useful to the multitude of American youth for whom you stand sponsors. * An address delivered before the National Educational Association, Washington, July 9, 1898.