Grosvenor, Gilbert

Grosvenor, Gilbert (Hovey)

(1875–1966) editor, naturalist, geographer; born in Constantinople, Turkey. Son of an American professor of history, he returned to the U.S.A as a teenager. After graduating from Amherst College, he became an editorial assistant in 1899 at the National Geographic magazine; in 1903 he became its editor, a position he held until 1954. He married Alexander Graham Bell's daughter in 1900. From 1920–54 he also served as president of the National Geographic Society, parent organization of the magazine. By using more engaging illustrations and approaching geography in the broadest possible manner, he made the magazine more accessible to lay readers than it had originally been. During his tenure, membership in the Society also increased from about 1,000 to over 4 million. The increased revenue was used to sponsor scientific teams and exploration expeditions all across the globe and under the oceans, so that instead of just reporting on the world, he and his magazine were instrumental in opening it up. Grosvenor Lake in Alaska, Gilbert Grosvenor Range in Antarctica, and Grosvenor-filliet, a mountain in the Svalbard islands off Norway, are named after him.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.