Annie Smith Peck : Pan-Americanist
Annie Smith Peck, a scholar, explorer and Pan-Americanist, educated the general public and businessmen about geography, especially Latin American geography. Peck wrote and lectured to Americans about tourist sights, archeology, exploration, mountaineering, and Latin America- including travel, industry, and trade. Peck also educated Latin Americans about the United States. This was significant because, as is the case today, the American public was geographically illiterate. The Pan-American movement, the idea of peace between North and South America, was in full force at the time, and thus Peck was one of the movers and shakers in the movement. Peck believed education was the most important means of freedom for the impoverished- in both North and South America. Methodologies include: letters to the editor by Peck, newspaper articles about her, and correspondence between her and other explorers and diplomats. I also read Pecks writings, including her four books and many of her newspaper and magazine articles. I reviewed numerous articles and books about South American politics and diplomacy in the early 1900s. Historical organizations, corporations, colleges, and other groups she had contact with, such as the Wisconsin State Historical Society, and Smith College, provided materials about Peck. Information about other explorers of her time, Pecks friends, and diplomatic acquaintances also yielded much primary biographical knowledge. I conclude that Peck contributed to the geographic education of North and South Americans as a mover and shaker in the Pan-American movement. In doing so, she attempted to promote peace and understanding between the Americas.