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.


    Lesley Rogers, a long-time research director and former managing editor, became involved with the manual in the mid-1980s when, as Ann's associate director of research, Lesley was included in the group Ann 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 Ann's retirement, when a new print edition was released.

    In April 1990, having succeeded Ann at the helm of research and style, Lesley expanded the Style Committee to include a cross section of editorial talent from throughout the Society and began regular 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 online and also listed under New & Revised. Tom Puckett of IS&T was instrumental in setting up the current web-based manual; Robert Harris helped maintain the previous online version. Special thanks to 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, when the first-ever copydesk at National Geographic magazine was created, style editing of text moved from the Research Division. And since 2010, David Brindley has chaired the committee and oversees the manual.

Revised April 2014