National Geographic : 1914 Dec
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE of the Cuban Census; as Geographer of the loth, IIth, and 12th censuses of the United States; as Statistician of the Na tional Conservation Commission, and as Chairman of the United States Geo graphic Board, his contributions to geo graphic knowledge were of inestimable value. "We feel deeply the great loss our Society has sustained in Mr. Gannett's death, and extend to the members of his family our own as well as the Society's profound sympathy. "We have lost a valued friend, the community a most useful citizen, his fam ily a devoted husband and father, and the cause of geographic science one who labored in its behalf with unflagging zeal, with unremitting energy, and with un usual success." For more than a third of a century Dr. Gannett had been one of the leading figures in the scientific activities of the United States Government. at the same time playing a most important role in related affairs outside of the Federal service. He was practically the father of Government map-making in the United States, the chief figure in the work of standardizing geographic names in Amer ica, and the author of our present system of statistical charting in connection with the National Censuses. Dr. Gannett was born in Maine, Au gust 24. 1846. the son of Michael Farley and Mary Church Gannett. He came of rugged Anglo-Saxon stock, and, as soon as he reached the age where he could think for himself, decided to make en gineering his life work. When 23 years of age he took the Bachelor of Science degree at Lawrence Scientific School, Harvard University. This degree, at that time, corresponded to the present degree of Civil Engineer. The next year, in 1870, he took the degree of Mining Engi neer at Hooper Mining School, Harvard University. Following his graduation he became assistant at the Harvard Astro nomical Observatory, accompanying Pro fessor Pickering to Spain in 1871 to ob serve the total eclipse of the sun that year. Upon his return from Spain two posi tions in the scientific world were tendered him - that of astronomer in the Hall North Polar Expedition and that of to pographer on the staff of Dr. F. V. Hay den, for the United States Geological and Geographic Survey of the Territories. He chose Government survey work rather than Polar exploration as the field of his activities, and was appointed topographer to the Western Division of the Hayden Survey, serving in that capacity until it was merged into the newly created United States Geological Survey. It was hazardous work and appealed to the adventurous spirit. It carried the hardy young engineer into regions where the foot of white men had never before trod; across mountain passes and torren tial rivers; among wild Indian tribes, often on the war-path. He became a pioneer explorer and to pographer of great sections, more par ticularly Colorado and Wyoming, of the vast empire which the Louisiana Pur chase added to our national domain. It was a region filled with geologic wonders and unmeasurable industrial possibilities, which appealed equally to the imagina tion and the practical turn of the young engineer's mind. He discovered and christened many a mountain peak and hidden lake and was one of the first to ascend Mt. Whitney. the highest peak in the United States outside of Alaska. In 1870 the United States Census needed the services of an experienced geographer, and the Geological Survey was asked to detail him for that work. As geographer of the Tenth Census, he laid out nearly 2,000 enumeration dis tricts with such definiteness that each census enumerator for the first time knew in advance the metes and bounds of his district. This system is in force to the present day. The statistical atlas he created for the Tenth Census marked a new epoch in statistical cartography. When his services with the Tenth Cen sus ended, Mr. Gannett returned to the Geological Survey, in 1882, which was then headed by Major J. W. Powell, the intrepid geologist. Director Powell promptly made him the Chief Geogra pher of the Survey. As Chief Geographer, Dr. Gannett de- 610 .