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Schaefer, Fred (1904–1953)

  • By: Richard Morrill
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Fred Schaefer was a founding member of the department of geography at the University of Iowa, remaining there until his death in 1953. Schaefer is revered as a pioneer of the “quantitative revolution” in geography, for providing the greatest philosophical impetus for a scientific geography, although he died before many of its subsequent adherents met him.

Schaefer was born in Berlin and was an undergraduate at the University of Berlin (1928–1931) and a statistician for the city. But as a member of the Social Democratic Party, he fled from Nazi Germany in 1931 to Britain and then to the United States in 1938. He worked at an American Friends Service Committee refugee camp in Iowa before he joined the University of Iowa. His radical politics led ...

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