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National Geographic Magazine Complete Set 1888 To 1997

Now that awful load of guilt has been lifted with the arrival on my desk of The Complete National Geographic on CD-ROM: 109 years (issues since 1888 and through 1997) on 31 disks in a slipcase (bright yellow, of course) that would hold less than three years of the real thing. If that's still too much space, the collection is available on four DVD's.

National geographic magazine complete set 1888 to 1997

Jumping from issue to issue with a click of the mouse doesn't quite equal the experience of flipping through the pages of a real magazine. And reading the stories and picture captions seriously strains the eyes, even at the darkest type setting. But the fast and efficient CD-ROM search engine beats hunting through a shelf-load of magazines for a vaguely remembered article. And The Complete National Geographic reminds us that the magazine itself, for all its perceived and sometimes imperious faults, is a national treasure. Even if the yellow-bound issues sometimes end up in a Dumpster.

A certain fascination with the National Geographic magazinehas its roots in my childhood. The pages of the yellow volumes madefor fine reading in the waiting room of many a dentist, doctor,veterinarian etc. There are any number of newspaper stories featuringeccentric recluses who died surrounded by complete collections of themagazine. The magazine seemed to be a particular thing for packrats.

Well, you can easily see why I was attracted when I saw an ad forthe complete set of National Geographic in a handsome woodencase about a foot wide. The box contains 28 CD-ROMs, which hold everyissue of National Geographic magazine between issue number 1in 1888 to volume 192 number 6 in December of 1997. The CD-ROM for1998 should available soon. There are also some sets available forsingle decades. Check the National Geographic Society (hereinafterreferred to as the NGS) at

Founded as a club of distinguished gentlemen devoted to promoting the study of geography, the National Geographic Society ranks among the largest nonprofit and educational organizations in the world. It is the publisher of one of the world's most widely circulated magazines, National Geographic, as well as National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic Adventure. National Geographic is also involved in book publishing, education, public service projects, and television production, though its flagship magazine remains its crowning achievement. Thanks in large part to the efforts of three generations of the Grosvenor family, National Geographic has become a staple of American mass culture. The Society's trustees have included such notables as Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, Lady Bird Johnson, Air Force General Curtis LeMay, astronaut Frank Borman, and businessman J. Willard Marriott, Jr. Having embraced new media and new techniques in publishing, the Society brought the far corners of the world to the doorsteps of millions of Americans. Frank Luther Mott, a journalism historian, observed that National Geographic has compiled "a fabulous record of success, especially since the magazine is founded on an editorial conviction that rates the intelligence of the popular audience fairly high." In the 21st century the National Geographic Society sought to build brand loyalty among international and more youthful audiences.

The National Geographic Society was founded in January 1888 in Washington, D.C., by a group of eminent citizens who wanted to promote geographic research and the popular distribution of the results of such research. The charter members of the Society included Alexander Graham Bell; Bell's father-in-law, lawyer Gardiner Greene Hubbard; explorers John Wesley Powell and A. W. Greeley; and scholar George Kennan, uncle of future ambassador to the Soviet Union George F. Kennan. Hubbard was one of Bell's early financial backers and had served as the first president of the Bell Telephone Company, the forerunner of AT&T. He was elected to serve as the Society's first president.

As the National Geographic Society entered the 21st century, it boasted three magazines, programs for television and home video, an expanded web site, and two freestanding retail stores in Washington, D.C. Under development were new cable and international television channels and a new magazine. The Society was also seeking partners to capitalize upon the National Geographic brand name via toys, software, and other consumer goods. The Society's magazines were selling record levels of advertising and "local language" versions, begun in 1995, surpassed expectations abroad. The Society commemorated the millennium with a seven-part series on global issues.

National Geographic gained a new editor-in-chief, Chris Johns, in January 2005. He began putting his mark on the title early in his tenure. The first edition completely under his leadership encompassed two Geographic rarities: a single topic and a cover sans photo. Then the magazine, with a normal lead time of about six months, hit the newsstands with an issue on Hurricane Katrina just weeks after the Gulf Coast disaster. "The special issue is meant to convey that the magazine can be nimble and relevant. 'We're tightening our monthly publication schedule constantly and becoming more agile,'" Johns told the New York Times in September 2005.

On the international front, the launch of a Slovenian edition of the National Geographic was planned for April 2006. Already printed in nearly 30 languages, the magazine was also seeking out a younger audience. The average Eastern European subscriber was about 30 years of age, while in the United States the average readers were about 20 years old, according to the International Herald Tribune. Typically produced under licensing agreements, the Geographic's foreign publishing partners also had begun mixing more local interest articles with American-produced content. The National Geographic Society had in some aspects transitioned from bringing the world to Americans, to bringing Americans to the world.

The society's first president was Gardiner Greene Hubbard, a lawyer, financier, and philanthropist, who helped fund the experiments of his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell. During Hubbard's tenure as president from 1888 to 1897, membership grew to about fourteen hundred, although the society remained financially unsuccessful. Hubbard died in December 1897, and the following month, Bell took the helm as the society's second president. Bell believed that the future of the society depended on the success of the magazine.

The increased revenues allowed the society to act on its mission to increase geographic knowledge through supporting research. One of its first major awards was to Robert E. Peary for his unsuccessful attempt to reach the North Pole in 1906; it sponsored his eventual conquest of the pole in 1909. On the heels of Peary's success, the society helped sponsor Hiram Bingham's exploration of the lost Inca capital of Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes in 1911. Through the magazine, the society played an instrumental role in the creation of Sequoia National Park in California and Carlsbad National Monument in New Mexico in the early 1920s. Also in the 1920s, the society gave financial support to Admiral Robert E. Byrd in his successful effort to become the first person to fly over the South Pole.

Altruistic motives set aside, the magazine is essentially highly collectable. When collecting, people are in general constantly after the full deal and the value of National Geographic magazine collection in whole could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. Amassing it is a different ballpark. Since the first issue came out in October 1888, the magazine has had thousands of issues internationally, which makes even keeping track of all of them an impossible task. 041b061a72


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