Benjamin Harrison photo

Special Message

December 23, 1891

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

My attention having been called to the necessity of bringing about a uniform usage and spelling of geographic names in the publications of the Government, the following Executive order was issued on the 4th day of September, 1890:

As it is desirable that uniform usage in regard to geographic nomenclature and orthography obtain throughout the Executive Departments of the Government, and particularly upon the maps and charts issued by the various Departments and bureaus, I hereby constitute a Board on Geographic Names and designate the following persons, who have heretofore cooperated for a similar purpose under the authority of the several Departments, bureaus, and institutions with which they are connected, as members of said board:

Professor Thomas C. Mendenhall, United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, chairman.

Andrew H. Allen, Department of State.

Captain Henry L Howison, Light-House Board, Treasury Department.

Captain Thomas Turtle, Engineer Corps, War Department.

Lieutenant Richardson Clover, Hydrographic Office, Navy Department,

Pierson H. Bristow, Post-Office Department.

Otis T. Mason, Smithsonian Institution.

Herbert G. Ogden, United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Henry Gannett, United States Geological Survey.

Marcus Baker, United States Geological Survey.

To this board shall be referred all unsettled questions concerning geographic names which arise in the Departments, and the decisions of the board are to be accepted by these Departments as the standard authority in such matters.

Department officers are instructed to afford such assistance as may be proper to carry on the work of this board.

The members of this board shall serve without additional compensation and its organization shall entail no expense on the Government.

The report of the board thus constituted has been submitted to me, and is herewith transmitted for the information of Congress and with a view to its publication in suitable form if such action is deemed by Congress to be desirable.


Benjamin Harrison, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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