Ellen Churchill Semple (January 8, 1863 – May 8, 1932) was an Americangeographer. Ellen was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the youngest of five children by Alexander Bonner Semple and Emerine Price. She is most closely associated with work in anthropogeography and environmentalism. In a series of books and papers she communicated certain aspects of the work of German geographer Friedrich Ratzel to the Anglophone community. Standard disciplinary accounts often attribute to Semple a prevailing interest in environmental determinism, a theory that the physical environment, rather than social conditions, determines culture; however her later work emphasized environmental influences as opposed to the environment's deterministic effect on culture, reflecting broader academic discontent with environmental determinism after the First World War. Semple studied at Vassar College and the University of Leipzig. She taught at the University of Chicago and at Clark University. She died at West Palm Beach, Florida. Ellen C. Semple Elementary School in Louisville is named after Semple. She is buried in the Cave Hill National Cemetery in Louisville.
Civilization Is at Bottom an Economic Fact. 1896
The Influence of the Appalachian Barrier Upon Colonial History. 1897
The Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky Mountains: A Study in Anthropogeography. 1901
The Badlands of Tillydrone. 1902
American History and Its Geographic Conditions. 1903
The North-Shore Villages of the Lower St. Lawrence. 1904
The Influence of the Watering Hole Upon Hillhead Halls. 1904
Influences of Geographic Environment: On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography. 1911
Barrier Boundary of the Mediterranean Basin and Its Northern Breaches As Factors in History. 1915
Pirate Coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. 1916
Texts of the Ukraine "Peace": With Maps. 1918
The Ancient Piedmont Route of Northern Mesopotamia. 1919
The Barbarians of Balnagask 1920
Geographic Factors in the Ancient Mediterranean Grain Trade. 1921
The Influence of Geographic Conditions Upon Ancient Mediterranean Stock-Raising. 1922
The Templed Promontories of the Ancient Mediterranean. 1927
Ancient Mediterranean Agriculture. 1928
Ancient Mediterranean Pleasure Gardens. 1929
The Geography of the Mediterranean Region: Its Relation to Ancient History. 1931
Keighren, Innes M. “Bringing geography to the book: charting the reception of Influences of geographic environment.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 31, no. 4 (2006): 525–40.
Keighren, Innes M. Bringing geography to book: Ellen Semple and the reception of geographical knowledge. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010.
"Semple, Ellen Churchill." Notable American Women. Vol. 2, 4th ed., The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1975