GEOGRAPHERS AND THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY*

Authors


  • *

    I wish to thank Marion E. Marts, Gilbert F. White, Chauncy D. Harris, and Geoffrey Martin for critical guidance in the early stages of the study. I also owe a special debt to the many people who provided information in letters and interviews, as well as to Edwin J. Best, reference librarian of the Tennessee Valley Authority, for verifying all the writings of geographers while at the TVA. I wish to thank particularly the three anonymous reviewers of this article for their helpful advice. Thanks also to Dominic Williamson and Andrew Rodman, Instructional Technology Services, Seattle Pacific University, for preparing the illustrations for publication. Finally, I would like to thank the editors of the Geographical Review, Douglas Johnson and Viola Haarmann, for all their assistance.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was the largest, most comprehensive, and most controversial regional development and planning project in U.S. history. Geographers were involved from its inception and made impressive contributions. Aside from the unit area method of data gathering and mapping, little is known about their contributions, some of which were truly ahead of their time. Although their work and recommendations were often discarded and unheeded because of political turbulence, the geographers rarely complained or entered into the political arena. Their work in the TVA has generally gone unheralded and even unappreciated within the geography profession. The primary purpose of this article is to document their contributions.

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