William Morris Davis- " otac americke geografije "

William Morris Davis- " otac americke geografije "

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William Morris Davis is often called the "father of American geography" for his work in not only helping to establish geography as an academic discipline but also for his advancement of physical geography and the development of geomorphology.

Life and Career

Davis was born in Philadelphia in 1850. At the age of 19, he earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University and one year later earned his masters degree in engineering. Davis then spent three years working at Argentina's meteorological observatory and subsequently returned to Harvard to study geology and physical geography.

In 1878, Davis was appointed an instructor in physical geography at Harvard and by 1885 became a full professor. Davis continued to teach at Harvard until his retirement in 1912.

Following his retirement, he occupied several visiting scholar positions at universities across the United States. Davis died in Pasadena, California in 1934.


William Morris Davis was very excited about the discipline of geography; he worked hard to increase its recognition. In the 1890s, Davis was an influential member of a committee that helped to establish geography standards in the public schools. Davis and the committee felt that geography needed to be treated as a general science in primary and secondary schools and these ideas were adopted. Unfortunately, after a decade of the "new" geography, it slipped back to being rote knowledge of place names and eventually disappeared into the bowels of social studies.

Davis also helped to build geography up at the university level. In addition to training some of America's foremost geographers of the twentieth century (such as Mark Jefferson, Isaiah Bowman, and Ellsworth Huntington), Davis helped to found the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Recognizing the need for an academic organization composed of academics trained in geography, Davis met with other geographers and formed the AAG in 1904.

Davis served as the AAG's first president in 1904 and was reelected in 1905, and ultimately served a third term in 1909. Though Davis was very influential in the development of geography as a whole, he is probably best known for his work in geomorphology.


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