Isaiah Bowman

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Isaiah Bowman, AB, Ph. D. (26 December 1878, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – 6 January 1950, Baltimore, United States) was an American geographer. He was educated at Harvard and Yale where he taught from 1905 to 1915, after which time he became the director of the American Geographical Society, a position he held for 20 years from 1915 to 1935. He was chief territorial adviser to President Woodrow Wilson at the Versailles conference and served the Department of State as territorial adviser during World War II. Some of his more notable works include:

  • Forest Physiography (1911)
  • Well-Drilling Methods (1911)
  • South America (1915)
  • The Andes of Southern Peru (1916)
  • The New World-Problems in Political Geography (1921).

In 1916 he became associate editor of the Geographical Review. He was associate editor of the Journal of Geography in 1918-19 and editor in 1919-20. In 1921 he became a director of the newly formed Council of Foreign Relations. Bowman served as President of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland from 1935 to 1948. Before and during World War II he served on the Council of Foreign Relation's War and Peace Studies as chairman of its territorial group.[1] From 1945 to 1949 he was a CFR vice-president.[2]

Bowman Expeditions

Beginning in 2005, the American Geographical Society has helped launch international collaborative research projects, called the Bowman Expeditions in Bowman's honor, in part to advise the U.S. government concerning future trends in the human terrain of other countries. The first project, in Mexico, is called Mexico Indigena, and has generated considerable controversy, including a public statement from the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) denouncing Mexico Indigena's lack of full disclosure regarding funding procured from the DOD, via the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Services Office, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas [1].


Further reading

  • Smith, Neil (2003). American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23027-2.