Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The purpose of this thesis is to identify, analyze, and explain the developments of American geography and geographic education as they are indicated by the publication trends of articles appearing in the Journal of Geography from 1902 to 1982. As Herbert M. Eder noted in 1964, "the [geographical] periodical is a capsule display of the kind and quality of geographers and geography of a country and an era. Thus, the primary step in understanding the history of geography of a nation is to know periodical literature." A concise study of the Journal of Geography, the major official publication of the National Council for Geographic Education, is an attempt to understand the changing character of American geography and geographic education from the turn of the twentieth century to the end of 1982. The stated purpose may give the reader an impression that this study is a history of geography in America. However, the thesis must not be interpreted purely as a historical report of individuals and events. Rather, the scope of this study emphasizes developments in the evolution of educational philosophies, teaching methods, and thematic approaches of geography as are suggested -in the content of articles appearing in the Journal over an eighty-year period. There are three important reasons for selecting the Journal of Geography as a periodical from which to derive an understanding of the development of geography and geographic education in America. First, the Journal (founded in 1897) is the oldest professional geographical periodical consecutively published in the field of educational geography. Second, although it may not be acclaimed the most scientific professional journal representing the discipline, the Journal of Geography certainly has the highest reputation for disseminating geographical knowledge to teachers and students. Third, the Journal probably is the only American geographical journal which contains so many original works from school and college teachers. Their contributions, together with those from the research oriented professional geographers, provide many new aspects and ideas on improving and promoting geographic education in this country. For these reasons, the author believes that contents of the Journal articles mirror the changing thoughts and interests of the teachers and geographers who are rigorously concerned with keeping abreast of the knowledge and trends in the teaching of geography.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

National Council of Geographic Education

Geography -- Study and teaching -- Periodicals -- History

The Journal of geography

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University