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We consider it a distinct privilege to present as our Man-of-the-Month for January, Mr. Charles H. Deetz.

Mr. Deetz was born on April 10, 1864, at Sellersville, Pa. He received his education at the Phillips Exeter Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and took special courses in ancient and modern languages at George Washington University.

He entered the service of the Bureau on January 28, 1889, and until 1898 executed various field assignments including triangulation in Alabama and Florida, hydrography and topography in Florida, Massachusetts and Maine.

Assigned to the Washington Office as a Cartographer, Mr. Deetz became an outstanding authority on map projections. He is the author of several publications on this subject, including Lambert Conformal Conic Projection, 1918; Lambert Projection Tables for France, with conversion tables for the Army, 1918; (with O.S. Adams) Elements of Map Projection with applications to map and chart construction; Cartography, A Review and Guide for the Construction of Maps and Charts, 1936; and contributions to scientific and technical publications.

His outstanding achievement in this field is his transverse polyconic projection of the North Pacific Ocean. During the many hours which he spent at home on this work, he was ably assisted by Mrs. Deetz. An interesting story whispered about the office relates that a high official many years ago remarked that this projections was especially good because, “it brought Alaska down into low latitudes.”

Mr. Deetz numbers among his hobbies the collection of coins, rare prints and books and has valuable collections of these. He can repeat from memory many of the literary gems which he has collected.

His one activity which must remain a dark secret is his frequent visits to New York City. He admits that the beer in New York has an exotic flavor not found in local brews, but we suspect he may also have felt the lure of some very dusty but interesting second hand book stores.

His charming personality has endeared him to his many friends and associates, and many a young man has benefited by his help and advice.

Mr. Deetz retired in May 1936, only to be recalled to duty when his country’s need was greatest.

Last December, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the science of cartography and geography, Mr. Deetz was elected a Life Member of the National Geographic Society.

Mr. Deetz is a member of the Philosophical Society of Washington, Federal Board of Surveys and Maps and American Numismatic Association.

In: “The Buzzard, Vol. X, pp. 1-2. January 14, 1943.




Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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