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Geography in print

The cultural production, circulation, and reception of geographical knowledge at the Royal Geographical Society 1830–c.1930.

Research by Ben Newman

Ben Newman

September 2014 start, 2018 completion, Royal Holloway, University of London; PI Dr Innes Keighren.



The early 19th century saw a sharp increase in the production and dissemination of geographic literature to both specialist and popular audiences. Given the proliferation of print, it is perhaps unsurprising that when founded in 1830, one of the principle aims of the Society was both democratic and textual. As the prospectus details, the Society was ‘To collect, register, and digest, and to print for the use of the Members, and the public at large, in a cheap form and at certain intervals, such new, interesting, and useful facts and discoveries as the Society may have in its possession, and may, from time to time, acquire’. Ever since – albeit under various titles – the Society has published The Geographical Journal. Drawing upon the extensive manuscript collections housed in the Society’s archives, this project attended to questions of authorship, editing, publication, circulation, and reception of the journal during in the first 100 years of the Society’s existence.


Find out more

A printed copy of this thesis is available for consultation in the Foyle Reading Room (reference only). An electronic copy can be accessed through the University of Royal Holloway University of London, Research Portal.

Ben has also written a guide to using the Journal Manuscripts Collection, available here. The guide explores what is in the JMS Collection, and how to search and use it.