Honorary Fellowships are bestowed on individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of geography. At the time of the founding of The Society in 1851, provision was made for a category of Honorary Fellows, and, until the first medal was awarded in 1896, this was the only honor the institution could bestow. Many of the Honorary Fellows are some of the most recognized names in geographical and exploration history.


Since the founding of AGS in 1851, the Society has awarded various honors, awards, and prizes to many historic figures in geography and exploration. One of the most prestigious honors is to be invited to sign the Fliers’ and Explorers’ Globe. As of today, 81 fliers and explorers have signed the Globe. AGS also makes provision for 9 distinguished medal awards as well as Honorary Fellowships which are made on a regular basis. The Medals (in order of their establishment) include:

AGS also recognizes excellence through the awarding of special prizes. Currently, the Society awards the Wrigley-Fairchild Prize.

The Awards and Honors Committee of the Board of Councilors is responsible for submitting nominees of all awards and honors to the full Board of Councilors. The Board of Councilors is then responsible for the final selection of all awards and honors recipients.


The councilors of the American Geographical Society created the AGS Council Fellowship to support graduate student scholarship in pursuit of geographical knowledge and especially field work. The fellowship is open to all student members of the American Geographical Society, both Masters and Doctoral Students.


As a geographical institution, the American Geographical Society (AGS) has long worked with the world’s leading explorers, navigators, and innovators of transportation. Through this work, AGS memorialized their achievements with the Fliers’ and Explorers’ Globe. Bestowed upon the Society in 1929 by New York Times editor and AGS President John H. Finey, the Globe has accumulated signatures from some of the greatest modern heroes of exploration and aviation. The Globe, often considered to be the most valuable in the world, is signed by the likes of Amelia Earhart, Sir Edmund Hillary, and the crew of the Apollo 13 spacecraft, among many, many others. AGS is exceptionally proud of the Globe, and constantly reminds the Society of the importance and significance of geographic advancement.