Semple, Ellen Churchill

Semple, Ellen Churchill, 1863–1932, American geographer, b. Louisville, Ky., grad. Vassar, 1882, and studied at the Univ. of Leipzig. A follower of the German geographer Friedrich Ratzel, she helped develop the study of anthropogeography (or human geography, the science of geographical distribution of mankind) and lectured (1906–23) on the subject at the Univ. of Chicago. From 1921 to 1932 she was professor of anthropogeography at Clark Univ. Semple was an environmental determinist, and some of her ideas are considered too one-sided. She was a frequent contributor to geographical journals; her writings include American History and Its Geographic Conditions (1903, rev. ed. 1933), Influences of Geographic Environment (1911), and The Geography of the Mediterranean Region (1931).

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