Although a separate Geography department was not established at Indiana University until the summer of 1946, geography was taught in the Geography department by Stephen S. Visher beginning in January, 1919. He was assisted by J. Elmer Switzer (appointed 1923) and at various times by W.N. Logan, Wallace Bucley, William D. Thornbyrt, Chauncy Harris, Edward Ullman, and Otis Freeman. In 1923, Clifford M. Zierer received the first M.A. in Geography. Five others received M.A. degrees in Geography before the Geography department separated from Geology. Although graduate work in Geography was informal and consisted of readings, and supervised research, these six M.A.'s have produced significant accomplishments in teaching and research.
The newly established Geography department took up "temporary" quarters in the attic of Rawles Hall. It was the year of the first G.I. Bulge and school started three weeks late. In addition to the space in Rawles Hall, the new chairperson, Otis P. Starkey, purchased and renovated an old house to house some of his enlarged staff. At first, the department was primarily a service department for education and business students, but graduate students increased and by 1951-1952, 20 were in residence. Many of these early graduate students went on to hold important posts in government and education.
In addition, several distinguished geographers were on our staff as regular faculty or as visiting professors. These include Dudley Stamp, Carl O. Sauer, Robert S. Platt, Estyn Evans, A. Austing Miller, Benjamin Garnier, Ronald Peel, Yi Fu Tuan, Hilgard O'Reilly Steinberg, Robert N. Taaffe, and others, all of whom contributed to the intellectual heritage of our faculty and our graduate and undergraduate students.