Iconic Images From 125 Years Of The National Geographic Society
Published 28 January 2013
In January 1888, a small group of scientists and enthusiasts founded the National Geographic Society (NGS) with the aim of creating “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge." The first issue of the magazine was published in October 1888. Today, 125 years later, the society is one of the largest nonprofit educational and scientific organizations in the world. To mark the occasion, the society is sharing photographs from its archive of more than 11 million images -- photographs that represent some of the most iconic moments in its history. (25 PHOTOS)
Gilbert H. Grosvenor, first full-time editor of "National Geographic" magazine, awakens after a night spent beneath a giant sequoia tree during his first trip to California's Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1915. After this visit he lobbied for passage of a bill that created the National Park Service in 1916.
By setting off a camera trap, a female tiger captures her own image in Bandhavgarh National Park in India in 1995.
The “Ice Maiden,” the 500-year-old mummy of a young Inca girl found on a Peruvian mountaintop by archaeologist and National Geographic explorer-in-residence Johan Reinhard.
Three figures on camelback behold the pyramids of Giza in 1938.
The National Geographic Society flag unfurls aboard a prewar Noah’s ark: The "M.S. Silverash" carried the society-supported Mann Expedition to the East Indies in 1937 to collect exotic animals for the National Zoo in Washington.
The first American team to summit Mount Everest in 1963 included "National Geographic’s" Barry Bishop.
The National Geographic-Army Air Corps stratosphere balloon "Explorer II" prepares to rise from the Stratobowl near Rapid City, South Dakota on November 11, 1935. It carried two “aeronauts” more than 22,000 meters into the stratosphere -- the highest humans would go for the next 21 years.
In his favorite picture, taken in 1931, legendary "National Geographic" photojournalist Maynard Owen Williams marveled how, in this Herat, Afghanistan, bazaar, no one blinked during the three seconds required to make the exposure.
Using a brassbound waterproof camera and dragging a raft rigged with a pound of explosive flash powder -- the equivalent of 2,400 flashbulbs -- marine biologist William Longley and "National Geographic" photographer Charles Martin stalked the shallows around the Dry Tortugas, making the first natural-color underwater images in 1926.
A touching moment between primatologist and "National Geographic" grantee Jane Goodall and young chimpanzee Flint at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream Reserve in 1964.
Hiram Bingham poses for an informal picture in front of his tent at Machu Picchu, the lost mountaintop city of the Inca in the Peruvian Andes. National Geographic supported Bingham’s excavations at the site from 1912 to 1915.
Washing his films in iceberg-choked seawater was an everyday chore for photographer Oscar D. Von Engeln during the summer months he spent on a society-sponsored expedition in Alaska in 1909.
Paleontologist and National Geographic grantee Louis Leakey and his family inspect the campsite of an early hominid at Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge.
In a moss-draped rain forest in British Columbia, towering red cedars live 1,000 years and black bears have white coats. They are known to the local people as spirit bears.
Behind the Iron Curtain: Workers parade through Red Square on May Day in 1964.
"National Geographic" magazine’s Thomas Abercrombie, the first correspondent to reach the South Pole, in 1957, flies the society’s flag from the pole while reporting on the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58.
A lion climbs a tree to sleep in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility, his visor reflecting Neil Armstrong and the lunar module "Eagle." The Apollo 11 astronauts carried the National Geographic Society flag with them on their journey to the moon.
"National Geographic" magazine’s “Australia man,” photojournalist Howell Walker, types away in his “office” at Inyalark Hill, where he spent a week with Charles Mountford, leader of the Arnhem land expedition, in 1948.
Research scientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Albert Lin gallops across the steppes of northern Mongolia as he searches for Genghis Khan’s tomb and other archaeological sites.
Sunset falls on Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington, named for a prominent conservationist and society board member, in a 2009 photo.
Beginning in 1938, Matthew Stirling, chief of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology, led eight National Geographic-sponsored expeditions to Tabasco and Veracruz in Mexico.
Archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Richard Adams examines pre-Columbian Mayan wall murals in Tomb One at Guatemala's Rio Azul in 1984.
The rusted prow of the "R.M.S. Titanic" in 1991, which sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg in April 1912. The wreck was found in 1991 by National Geographic explorer-in-residence Robert Ballard.
National Geographic-funded Commander Robert E. Peary’s 1909 expedition to the North Pole. Whether Peary and his assistant, Matthew Henson, reached the pole or not, they came closer to that goal than anyone before them.