Donald W. Meinig

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from D.W. Meinig)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Donald W. Meinig
Born(1924-11-01)November 1, 1924
DiedJune 13, 2020(2020-06-13) (aged 95)
EducationGeorgetown University
University of Washington
Spouse(s)Lee Meinig
AwardsCharles P. Daly Medal (1986)
Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010)
Fulbright Scholar (1958)
Guggenheim Fellow
Scientific career
InstitutionsSyracuse University
Doctoral advisorHoward H. Martin,
Other academic advisorsGraham H. Lawton
Doctoral studentsEvelyn Stokes

Donald William Meinig (November 1, 1924 – June 13, 2020) was an American geographer. He was Maxwell Research Professor Emeritus of Geography at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.[1]


Meinig studied foreign service at Georgetown University, and then earned graduate degrees in geography from the University of Washington in 1950 and 1953, under the supervision of Howard H. Martin; he was also strongly influenced by historian Carroll Quigley and Australian geographer Graham H. Lawton.[2]

Starting in 1950, Meinig held a faculty position at the University of Utah. However, in 1958 he left Utah for a visiting position at the University of Adelaide in Australia, under a Fulbright scholarship,[3] and in 1960 he joined the Syracuse faculty.[2] He was chairman of the geography department at Syracuse from 1968 to 1973,[4] became Maxwell Professor at Syracuse in 1990,[4] and retired in 2004.[2]

At Syracuse, Meinig was the doctoral advisor of more than 20 graduate students, including New Zealand geographer Evelyn Stokes.[5][6]


Meinig's work focuses on historical geography, regional geography, cultural geography, social geography, and landscape interpretation. His most ambitious and well known work is the four volume series "The Shaping of America" (published 1986, 1993, 1998, and 2004), published by the Yale University Press. Meinig dedicated 25 years of his academic career to this research, which offers a detailed overview of the country's geographic development from Columbus' arrival to the year 2000.[7] He also concentrated on literary spaces and geography, stating, "Literature is a valuable storehouse of vivid depictions of the landscapes and lives of modern day society."

Awards and honors[edit]

Meinig was a Fulbright Scholar, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities.[1] He was the first American geographer to be elected as a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, in 1991.[4] In 1965 the Association of American Geographers awarded him a citation "For Meritorious Contribution to the Field of Geography," and the American Geographical Society gave him their Charles P. Daly Medal in 1986.[4] Meinig received an honorary doctorate (D.H.L.) from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in 1994.[8] In 2004, he received the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize for the best book interpreting the geography of America.[9] The Geographical Review devoted a special issue to him in July 2009.[10][11] In 2010, he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Meinig was born on November 1, 1924 in Palouse, Washington and was raised on a farm.[13] He self-identified as Anglo-Saxon of German and British ancestry.[2][14] Meinig enlisted in the Army in May 1943 and served in the Corps of Engineers. In August 1944, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and honorably discharged from active duty in February 1946.[13]

Meinig died at Syracuse, New York on June 13, 2020 at the age of 95.[13]


His principal publications include:

  • The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 4: Global America, 1915-2000 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2004).
  • The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 3: Transcontinental America, 1850-1915 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1995).
  • The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 2, Continental America, 1800-1867 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1992).
  • The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 1, Atlantic America, 1492-1800 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1986).
  • (Editor, with John Brinckerhoff Jackson) The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes (New York, Oxford University Press, 1979).
  • Southwest: Three Peoples in Geographical Change 1600-1970 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1971).
  • Imperial Texas, An Interpretative Essay in Cultural Geography (Austin, University of Texas Press, 1969).
  • The Great Columbia Plain, A Historical Geography, 1805- 1910 (Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1968).
  • On the Margins of the Good Earth: The South Australian Wheat Frontier, 1869–84 (London: John Murray, 1962)


  1. ^ a b Maxwell faculty awards and honors, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, retrieved 2010-01-30.
  2. ^ a b c d Zelinsky, Wilbur (2009), "Thanking Donald Meinig", The Geographical Review, 99 (3): 293–296, doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2009.tb00433.x, archived from the original on 2010-09-17, retrieved 2010-01-31.
  3. ^ "Meinig Receives Fulbright Grant". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Palouse, WA. March 15, 1958. p. 3 open access. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Haskin prize lecturer: Donald W. Meinig, American Council of Learned Societies, retrieved 2010-01-30.
  5. ^ Wyckoff, William; Colten, Craig E. (2009), "A tribute to Donald Meinig", The Geographical Review, 99 (3): iii–x, doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2009.tb00432.x, archived from the original on 2010-09-17, retrieved 2010-01-31.
  6. ^ Bedford, Richard (2001), Bedford, R.; Longhurst, R. (eds.), "Honouring New Zealand's geographers: Dame Evelyn Stokes" (PDF), New Zealand Geographer, 57 (2): 3–5, doi:10.1111/j.1745-7939.2001.tb01603.x, archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-14. Reprinted in Datum: Newsletter of the New Zealand Map Society, no. 23, November 2005.
  7. ^ Perreault, Thomas (13 July 2020). "Maxwell School remembers renowned geographer Donald Meinig". Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  8. ^ Recipient of Honorary Degrees Archived 2016-07-30 at the Wayback Machine, Syracuse University, retrieved 2010-01-31.
  9. ^ "JB Jackson Prize | AAG". Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Geographical Review: Vol 99, No 3". Geographical Review. 99 (3). July 2009. doi:10.1111/gere.2009.99.issue-3. ISSN 0016-7428. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  11. ^ Donald W. Meinig: Shaping American Geography 2009-08-15 }}, The Geographical Review 99 (3), July 2009.
  12. ^ "SU's Meinig elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences". SU News. April 19, 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  13. ^ a b c "Donald Meinig Obituary (2020) - Syracuse, NY - Syracuse Post Standard".
  14. ^