Burton W. Adkinson

1909 - 2004

Burton W. Adkinson, a former Secretary for the AAG, died in September of 2004. Adkinson was a geographer who worked in numerous federal positions, most notably in the Office of Strategic Services, the Library of Congress, and at the National Science Foundation.

Adkinson was born in Washington State in 1909. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Washington, and his PhD in physical geography at Clark University.

Active in the federal arena, during the 1940s Adkinson worked at the Office of Geography in the Department of State; as Assistant Director for the U.S. Board of Geographical Names; Assistant Chief of the Map Intelligence Section, in the Map Division Office of Strategic Services; and as Assistant Chief and then Acting Chief in Map Division at the Library of Congress (LOC). He served as Director of the LOC’s Reference Department 1949-57 and as Head of Office of Science Information at the National Science Foundation 1957-70. Adkinson served as Secretary for the AAG 1954-57, Director of the American Geographical Society 1971-73, and President of the Cosmos Club in 1982.

Burton W. Adkinson (Necrology). 2005. AAG Newsletter 40(5): 21.