Louis C. DeVorsey

1929 - 2012

Louis C. DeVorsey, professor emeritus of geography at the University of Georgia, has died at the age of 83.

DeVorsey received a B.A. from Montclair State University in New Jersey and an M.A. in geography from Indiana University. He earned a Ph.D. in geography in 1965 from the University of London. DeVorsey entered the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport News, Rhode Island, in 1954, where he was commissioned as an Ensign. At his death he held the rank of Commander, USNR-Retired.

DeVorsey worked at East Carolina University from 1962 to 1965 and at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill from 1965 to 1967. He then spent the following 21 years at University of Georgia, where he was promoted to professor in 1973. He retired in 1988.

DeVorsey produced an extensive list of impressive publications in the fields of exploration and discovery and the history of cartography. Some of the better known works he authored or edited include The Georgia-South Carolina Boundary: A Problem in Historical Geography (1982, reprinted 2008), The Indian Boundary in the Southern Colonies, 1763-1775 (1966), The Atlantic Pilot (1974), De Brahm’s Report of the General Survey in the Southern District of North America (1971), In the Wake of Columbus: Islands and Controversy (1985), and the award-winning Keys to the Encounter: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of the Age of Discovery (1992).

As an expert witness, DeVorsey appeared in at least five original actions before the U.S. Supreme Court in regard to litigation concerning sea and land boundaries. He conducted research for the U.S. Department of State in connection with the U.S.-Canada seaward boundary dispute in the Gulf of Maine. This case was adjudicated by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands, where he was one of three geographers who served as consultants to the U.S. Litigation Team.

The Association of American Geographers (AAG) presented DeVorsey with the AAG Award for Meritorious Contributions to the Field of Geography in 1975. In 1980, the University of Georgia Research Foundation presented him its Medal for Research Creativity in the Social Sciences. DeVorsey served the Society for the History of Discoveries as Vice President/President from 1979 to 1982, and he was named a fellow of the society in 2005.

Louis C. DeVorsey (Necrology). 2012. AAG Newsletter 47(6): 28.