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Whittlesey, Derwent (1890–1956)

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

One of the more important figures of cultural geography in the early to mid 20th century, Derwent Stainthorpe Whittlesey is best known for advocating the notion of sequent occupance. He served as president of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in 1944 and was editor of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers for 12 years.

Born in the farming community of Pecatonia, Illinois, Whittlesey studied at the University of Chicago, where he completed a degree in history in 1915; he then attended the School of Geography, where he studied under Ellen Churchill Semple and Harlan Barrows. After graduation, he taught at Chicago from 1920 to 1928, when he moved to Harvard to become its first human geographer; for the remainder of his career, he ...

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