Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vaughan Cornish : geographer

Vaughan Cornish was one of the most influential geographers of his time. He was born in the 1860s in Suffolk, and had a career spanning 60 years. He was President of the Geographical Association during that time.

Last Friday, while putting some boxes down in the warehouse at Solly Street in preparation for the official opening (of which more later), I found a brown cardboard box, which was labelled "Vaughan Cornish Original Prints" and excitedly opened it to find about 50 large prints on thick card, several of them stamped as being entered for the 1904 St. Louis photographic exposition. Took a few images of some of them...


Some of them featured pictures of wave forms, an area which Cornish was particularly interested in.
I loved the silvered blue finish on some of the prints, which had faded in the century since they had been made, and then hand labelled by Cornish himself. There was also a print taken after an earthquake in the Caribbean, which I had read about him experiencing (he was injured in the event), and a snowdrift in Manitoba (another area that he was interested in)
Made me re-visit a plan that I had about 5 years ago to write a short book(let) on Cornish, when I did a bit of research about him.
Might be worth rethinking... would be a good excuse to delve into the GA and RGS archives, and also apparently those of the University of Oxford.

There's a good article on Vaughan by Andrew Goudie (another influential geographer) on JSTOR, and the abstract provides a few clues to follow up on his various interests.

I also have a copy of the book "The Beauties of Scenery", which was an attempt of his to objectively evaluate the landscape, and is worth hunting out in a second hand book-shop.

Google Books has a few links such as HERE

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