Longtime PSU Geographer Wes Dow Honored

May 29th, 2008 by Adam

Geographers on Film lauded as one of the richest, discipline-based oral history resources in the academic world.

PLYMOUTH,N.H.—Maynard Weston Dow, longtime professor of geography at Plymouth State University, was recently honored by the Association of American Geographers (AAG) for his internationally recognized 40-year effort to visually record and archive a landmark oral history of American geography. Dow, a Bristol, N.H. resident, is professor emeritus at Plymouth State.

Known as Geographers on Film (GOF), Dow’s work includes more than 550 film and video interviews of distinguished geographers and selected scholarly sessions.

The project resulted from Dow’s years of teaching the history and philosophy of geography. “Students would pour over writings of cognoscenti to acquire an appreciation for the genesis and development of the discipline as a field of learning,” Dow said. After considering what an educational windfall it would have been to have Aristotle on film, Dow decided to record for posterity the thoughts of modern scientists in the field. The collection covers much of 20th Century geography.

Citations and awards were presented to Dr. Dow and his late wife, Nancy Freeman Dow at the 104th AAG Annual Meeting in Boston. Nancy Dow served as series videographer from 1982-2004. She is best remembered in New Hampshire as executive director of the Plymouth regional arts organization, Friends of the Arts.

A highlight of the recognition ceremony was announcement that the AAG will assume responsibility for archiving, digitizing and disseminating via the Internet and video discs, this “hidden treasure.” Additionally, copies will be archived at several major academic libraries throughout the United States.

“The format of the series, plus its depth and span, make GOF one of the richest, discipline-based oral history resources in the academic world,” said AAG Executive Director, Douglas Richardson.

Availability of the collection will significantly aid teaching the history and philosophy of geography, because students will be able to review the development of geographical knowledge from a variety of aspects.

For information about Geographers on Film, logon to the Geographers on Film Web site: oz.plymouth.edu/~gof/home.html or contact Dr. Dow by e-mail to mwd@plymouth.edu

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