The American Geographical Society (AGS) is a membership learning society and professional organization of geographers dedicated to promoting the advancement of geographic thinking, knowledge, and understanding. The oldest professional geographical organization in the United States, AGS was established in 1851 and is headquartered in New York City. The American Geographical Society's stated mission is "to advance and promote geography in business, government, science, and education, and to enhance the nation’s geographic literacy so as to engender sound public policy, national security, and human well-being worldwide." AGS seeks "to engage the American public, from its youngest to its oldest citizens, with new and amazing ways to understand and characterize our changing world."
The American Geographical Society was founded in 1851, with significant financial support from Gilded Age philanthropist Archer Huntington, for the specific intent to rescue missing Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew, who were lost and believed to be still alive in the Arctic Ocean. The Franklin rescue expedition was unsuccessful, but the AGS expanded its network and played an active role in various high profile explorations, surveys, data collection, and map making efforts.
In the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st century, AGS’s mission largely shifted from exploration and research to promoting geographic education. While the AGS carries out funded research projects and funds scholarly research, it more broadly supports education and teacher development, works with with the Geographic Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) to promote standards and instructional materials for K-12 education, promotes geography through white papers and online content, and publishes geographic journals. The AGS is funded by individual member contributions, patron donations, and corporate partnerships.
In 2021, the major initiatives of the American Geographical Society included Geography 2050, Geography 2050: DC, EthicalGEO, Geography Educator Initiative, Council Fellowship, Student Scholar Internship, GeoAI, Honorary Fellows, Medals, Council Fellowship, and The Fliers’ And Explorers’ Globe. The American Geographical Society publishes several publications, including Geographical Review, its flagship periodical devoted to scientific geography; FOCUS On Geography, a digital version of it paper magazine with a more dynamic and interactive format; and DailyGeo, a daily digital newsblast highlighting geography in headline stories delivered to readers' email inboxes on weekdays. It also produces The American Geographical Society Podcast.
The American Geographical Society Podcast - American Geographical Society | Since 1851