|Credits & History
Throughout the years many people have contributed to the National Geographic Style Manual. The earliest version was created on a typewriter (with carbon copies) in 1962 under the direction of Margaret Bledsoe, head of the Editorial Research Division of National Geographic magazine. Enlarged and updated, the manual next appeared in 1969, its pages set in type by our Phototypographic Division and contained within a Geographic yellow loose-leaf binder.
Over the next two decades Miss Bledsoe, as almost everyone called her, and her successor, Ann Wendt, maintained editorial style for the Society, occasionally publishing new editions of the manual. Late morning meetings held in the 1970s to revise the manual are said to have been helped along on occasion by a sip of sherry.
| My involvement with the manual began in the mid-1980s when, as Ann's associate director of research, I was included in the group she convened to revise the manual one more time before her retirement. Even with weekly meetings that task was not completed until October 1988, a year after her retirement, when a new print edition, this time contained within a blue binder, was released.
In April 1990, having succeeded Ann at the helm of research and style, I expanded the Style Committee to include a cross section of editorial talent from throughout the Society and began monthly meetings, at which questions are raised, style is debated, and amendments to the manual worked out.
The manual moved online in 1995, giving us the ability to update frequently and eliminating space constraints. New entries and revisions are now entered monthly and are listed under New & Revised. I am particularly indebted to Tom Puckett of IS&T for his technical expertise in setting up this Web-based manual and to Robert Harris who helped maintain the previous online version. And, of course, I am grateful for the dedication and expertise of the entire Style Committee, for the members' unending knowledge of the finest points of grammar and punctuation and for their good humor and careful consideration when there are differences of opinion. After all, style is often a matter of personal preference.
In 2007, with the separation of style editing from the Research Division and the creation of the Copydesk, style at National Geographic has entered a new phase. Beginning in 2010, NGM Copydesk Director David Brindley now chairs the committee and oversees the manual.
I hope you find the National Geographic Style Manual useful and that you'll feel free to send me or David Brindley comments and suggestions.
Managing Editor, National Geographic