Its first president was Gardiner Greene Hubbard, a lawyer, financier, and philanthropist who helped found a school for the deaf and promoted the experiments of his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell. Acknowledging in his introductory address that he was neither “a scientific man, nor...a geographer,” Hubbard stated, “By my election you notify the public that the membership of our Society will not be confined to professional geographers, but will include that large number who, like myself, desire to promote special researches by others, and to diffuse the knowledge so gained, among men, so that we may all know more of the world upon which we live.”
 
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