Science: Happy 100, National Geographic

For armchair roamers, the magazine remains a window on the world

In the beginning, there was stodginess. When the 33 charter members of the National Geographic Society first met on Jan. 13, 1888, at Washington's musty Cosmos Club, their mission was to spur the "increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge." The hidebound organization founded by these scientists, bankers, lawyers and educators allowed "gifts to natives" as legitimate expenses; it waited until 1964 before permitting men and women to eat together in its main cafeteria. Still, the society's flagship, the yellow- bordered National Geographic magazine, which is now distributed in 167 countries, eventually came to rival Mom and apple pie as an American...

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