Rogers Birnie

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Rogers Birnie

Rogers Birnie (1851 – 25 September, 1939) was an American army officer and explorer of Death Valley.


Rogers Birnie was born in 1851 in Taneytown, Maryland. Birnie grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and could hear the guns from his house during the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Birnie graduated from West Point in 1872, and immediately went out west to Fort Douglas near Salt Lake City. Birnie joined the Wheeler Survey in 1874. During the survey, Birnie found some Anasazi ruins which in the 20th century were made a UNESCO world heritage site. In 1875, Birnie led an expedition from Los Angeles, over the San Gabriel Mountains, and through the Mojave Desert. During that same expedition, Birnie did the first scientific exploration of Death Valley before climbing Mt. Whitney. Rogers Birnie was one of the co-founders of the National Geographic Society in 1888, where he served as the first manager of the board of directors. Birnie was an ordnance officer in Cuba during the Spanish–American War, and was a civilian consultant to the army in world War I. Rogers Birnie died in Washington on September 25, 1939.[1]


  1. ^ "A Historic Journey Into Death Valley". National Geographic Society. July 20, 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 

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