- Alexander Keith Johnston (1804–1871)
Alexander Keith Johnston (
28 December 1804- 9 July 1871) was a Scottish geographer.
He was born at
Kirkhillnear Edinburgh. After an education at the high school and the University of Edinburghhe was apprenticed to an engraver; and in 1826 joined his brother (who would become Sir William Johnston, lord provost of Edinburgh) in a printing and engraving business, forming the well-known cartographical firm of W. and A. K. Johnston.
His interest in geography had developed early, and his first important work was the "
National Atlas of General Geography", which gained for him in 1843 the appointment of Geographer Royal for Scotland. Johnston was the first to bring the study of physical geographyinto competent notice in England. His attention had been called to the subject by Alexander von Humboldt; and after years of labour he published his magnificent "Physical Atlas" in 1848, followed by a second and enlarged edition in 1856. This, by means of maps with descriptive letterpress, illustrates the geology, hydrography, meteorology, botany, zoology, and ethnologyof the globe. The rest of Johnston's life was devoted to geography, his later years to its educational aspects especially. His services were recognised by the leading scientific societies of Europeand America. He died at Ben Rhydding, Yorkshire, in 1871.
Johnston published a "Dictionary of Geography" in 1850, with many later editions; "The Royal Atlas of Modern Geography", begun in 1855; an atlas of military geography to accompany
Alison's "History of Europe" in 1848 seq.; and a variety of other atlases and maps for educational or scientific purposes.
His son Alexander Keith Johnston (1844-1879) was also the author of various geographical works and papers; in 1873-1875 he was geographer to a commission for the survey of
Paraguay; and he died in Africawhile leading the Royal Geographical Society's expedition to Lake Nyasa.
* [http://davidrumsey.com/worldatlases.html DavidRumsey.com] has high resolution digital versions of A.K. Johnston's 1856 "Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena" and 1861 "Royal Atlas of Modern Geography."
* [http://stabikat.sbb.spk-berlin.de:80/DB=1/SET=5/TTL=1/MAT=/NOMAT=T/REL?PPN=13443045X Works by and about Alexander Keith Johnston] in the
Berlin State Library.
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