Henry Gannett (August 24, 1846 - November 5, 1914) was an American geographer who is described as the 'Father of American topographic map making'. Born in Bath, Maine, Gannett entered Harvard at the age of twenty and received a bachelor's degree in 1869. He earned the degree of mining engineer from the Hooper Mining School in 1870. He joined the Hayden Survey in 1871, at the age of twenty-one, and continued worked for its successor, the U.S. Geological Survey until his death. Gannett was among those lobbying to centralize all government mapmaking under one agency. Before the creation of the United States Geological Survey, individual mapmakers and agencies had to compete for money from Congress to fund projects. He became chief geographer of the U.S. Geological Survey, a position he held for fifteen years. Most of the Survey's map-making methods developed during his tenure as chief geographer. Gannett also earned a reputation as an indefatigable compiler of geographic materials. His first job with the USGS was geographer of the 1880 United States Census. The completion of the census in 1882 is considered the start of true topographical work in the United States and the birth of the quadrangle. Gannet served as chief geographer on two subsequent censuses, 1890 and 1900, and was one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society. Gannett was also one of the founders of the Association of American Geographers and the Geological Society of America. Gannet organized the Board of Geographic Names, which became a permanent part of the federal government and considers geographic names in official use. Gannett served as chairman of this Board from 1894. Upon his death, the Annals of the Association of American Geographers lamented, 'in the death of Henry Gannett American Science has lost one of the pioneers who had an important share in the development of geography in this country into an organized science'. Gannett married Mary E. Chase in 1874 with whom he had two daughters and a son.

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