Charles P. Daly's Gendered Geography, 1860-1890

Publication Date



Annals of the Association of American Geographers





First Page


Last Page



The American Geographical Society (AGS) serves as a case study for considering the nature of “gendered geography” in the nineteenth-century United States. This article links the ideals and programmatic interests of the society—which were fundamentally commercial in nature—with the personal subjectivity of its chief protagonist, Charles P. Daly, AGS president from 1864 until his death in 1899. Daly is presented as an “armchair explorer” who shifted the focus of the society away from statistical representations of the world toward the action packed narrative descriptions of the world supplied by embodied explorers in the field. The gender dynamics associated with the center versus the field provide a useful way to contrast both sides of Daly’s persona—as a scholar performing detached, careful study yet someone who also derived a great deal of personal authority by staging popular and dramatic spectacles in New York City, speechifying and presenting himself on stage at geographical society meetings with returning heroic explorers. Daly not only served as New York’ smost influential access point to the Arctic at the time, he also served as an important node in the reproduction of masculine culture in promotion of a particularly masculinist commercial geography. Key Words: American Geographical Society, Charles Patrick Daly, gender and geography, history of geography, masculinity.

This document is currently not available here.