National Geographic : 1966 Oct
however, for its management, inspired by Alexander Graham Bell, had a revolutionary idea: "Why not popularize the science of geogra phy and take it into the homes of the people? Why not transform the Society's magazine from one of cold geographic fact, expressed in hieroglyphic terms which the layman could not understand, into a vehicle for carrying the living, breathing, human-interest truth about this great world of ours to the people? Would not that be the greatest agency of all for the diffusion of geographic knowledge?" By the end of his first month, young Mr. Grosvenor's appointment had been confirmed for one year at a salary of $100 a month (paid personally by Dr. Bell for five years). Within a year and a half he was Managing Editor, and before two years were over the battle with the McClure faction had been won and the magazine brought back from its brief Babylonian captivity in New York. Now Gilbert could concentrate on improv ing the magazine, as well as enlisting new members by writing to every possible pros pect that his father, father-in-law, wife, and friends could suggest. Soon membership was steadily rising, and members were reading the little magazine instead of relegating it to a shelf with other scholarly publications and promising themselves to consult it someday. Photographs Open Windows on the World In February, 1903, the Board applauded its young dynamo's efforts by giving him the proud title of Editor. Actually, as the maga zine's only professional, he had been the editor from the outset. Remembering Professor Grosvenor's elab orate use of photographs in his Constantinople book, his son was making his magazine more and more a window on the world. Distant lands became vividly near and exciting when presented in pictures and maps teamed with informative, clearly written text. The Editor bought a camera and took pic tures himself, besides getting photographs from Government agencies and buying all he could afford. Explorers and travelers told their first-person stories, taking the reader along in imagination to feel as they felt and learn as they learned. No wonder that people with inquiring minds everywhere began to respond by the thousands-especially in the new 20th century, when the war with Spain had expanded American horizons to the far off Philippines. Members found that, as if by magic, the magazine in their mailbox bore timely in formation about places in the news, with photographs and maps. Guam, Luzon, Manila Bay-where were they? Here they were, on this map in the GEOGRAPHIC! "An eye-opener," the Editor called his experiences with the 1904 traveling ses sions of the Eighth International Geographic Congress, meeting in the United States for the first time. Here, in Chicago, delegates ride a horse-drawn sightseeing coach on a warm September day. The Editor sits oppo site his wife on the top deck, left. "Elsie was the belle of the Congress," Gilbert wrote to his mother. "The admiration was expected but no less pleasant."