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Marcus, Melvin G. (1929–1997)

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

Melvin Gerald Marcus was born in Seattle, Washington, an environment that molded him as a geographer, environmental educator, and mountaineer. He claimed 52 first ascents by age 19, becoming the youngest person elected to the American Alpine Club. Recruited to Yale, he majored in geology while playing basketball and reaching the NCAA Final Four. While at Yale, Maynard Miller invited him to explore the Juneau Icefields, leading to a series of expeditions that fueled Marcus's interest in glaciology.

The Korean War interrupted his education in 1951. Volunteering for the Air Force, he piloted B-26 bombers. Postwar military duty in Japan prompted him to switch to a field that encompassed mountains, travel, and people. He left Yale, which had no geography department, and graduated with geography degrees ...

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