National Geographic : 1949 Aug
National Geographic Photographer John E. Fletcher Famous Explorer, Devoted Wife, and Colleagues Honor a Notable Career Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd, USN (ret.), is recipient of two National Geographic medals for his polar flights. Mrs. Grosvenor, daughter of Alexander Graham Bell, accompanied the geographer-editor on many of his world travels. Beside her (left to right): Dr. John Oliver La Gorce, Vice President of The Society and Associate Editor of The Magazine; Dr. Robert V. Fleming, Treasurer of The Society, who served as chairman of the Constitution Hall ceremony; and Dr. Charles F. Kettering, who presented the Grosvenor Medal. the nesting place of the bristle-thighed curlew; and Dr. F. M. Setzler, the 1948-49 expedition to Stone Age Arnhem Land in Australia. The climax of the ceremony was the presen tation for the first time of the Grosvenor Medal, especially created by the Board of Trustees for the occasion. Dr. Grosvenor has received honors from many other geographic societies and honorary degrees from many universities, but the Trus tees realized that no honor would lie closer to his heart than this recognition from his own Society. The chairman, Dr. Robert V. Fleming, The Society's Treasurer and a member of its Board of Trustees, read the letter of congratulation from President Truman (page 254) and then introduced Dr. Charles F. Kettering. Also a Trustee of The Society and formerly Director of Research and Vice President of General Motors Corporation, as well as a distinguished inventor in his own right, Dr. Kettering made the formal presentation of the medal (pages 254 and 255). "Presenting this medal," Dr. Kettering said, "is the most appreciated of all the many pleasures life has brought me. "If there ever is 'one world,' " he added, "a copy of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC will be on the center of the table!" When the large gold medal was presented to Dr. Grosvenor, he held it up for the vast audience to see, in a friendly, unstudied ges ture as if to share it with his friends, which brought the crowd to its feet for prolonged cheering. "Every morning when I look into my mirror," he said, "I am going to say to my mirror, 'You lie.' Then I shall take this beau tiful medal, look at the idealized Grosvenor face on it which Mrs. Fraser has modeled with fingers of genius, and chuckle to myself! My descendants happily will not know the differ ence between fact and fiction." On the platform stood a basket of 50 golden roses presented to him by his colleagues and 800 associates. The inscription, "To Our Be loved Chief," meant as much to him, he told the audience, "as this glorious medal." And he went on to say that "our great Society is the first and, I believe, the only one in the world that has enlisted, not a select few, but hundreds of thousands of people in a joint cooperative effort for re search and exploration and the diffusion of geographic knowledge."