Taylor, Thomas Griffith

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Taylor, Thomas Griffith

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1880-

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Thomas Griffith Taylor was an Antarctic explorer and pioneer geographer at the University of Toronto. Born in 1880 in Walthamstow, England, the son of a metallurgical chemist, he was educated in England and Australia, receiving a degree in mining and metallurgy from the University of Sydney in 1905. He was elected a fellow of the Geological Society, London in 1909 and was hired as a physiographer for the Commonwealth Weather Service in 1910. Taylor was selected by Robert Falcon Scott as a senior geologist and representative of the Commonwealth Weather Service for his Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica (1910-1913). Five of Taylor’s fellow explorers, including Scott, would perish after reaching the South Pole. Taylor was the leader of the western geological party, which led successful expeditions to the Koettlitz Glacier and Granite Harbour region, which led to Taylor being made a fellow in the Royal Geographical Society of London and awarded the King’s Polar medal upon his return. He would use his topographical and glaciological research of Antarctica in his doctoral dissertation from the University of Sydney (1916). He founded the first University geography department at the University of Sydney in 1920, and became the chair of geography at the University of Chicago in 1927. In 1935, he became the founding chairman, and first professor, of the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography, a post he would hold until 1951. He retired to Australia and continued writing and publishing until his death in 1963. Taylor published over 20 books and 200 scientific articles.

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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