February 28, 2020

I welcome the proposed session at the Armidale IAG conference on “Diverse children and childhoods in changing landscapes.” Congratulations to Lisa Stafford, Wendy Steele and Harriot Beazley for their initiative.

It reminded me of Marilyn Soergel, an undergraduate geography major at the University of Cincinnati who graduated c.1970. Marilyn convinced Kenner Toys that they needed a behavioural geographer’s perspective on the play patterns of children. They hired her to record and analyse the spatial aspects of children at play. Her findings shaped the development of new products, but remain corporate property, hidden from “academic peer review.” That was fifty years ago.

Marilyn Soergel married Gerard Hyland (Ph.D., Geography, Clark University), Director of Neighbourhood Development for the City of Cincinnati. They became a formidable couple in state and county politics. Even in retirement, they still found time to resuscitate a community supermarket.

What a firebrand she became! Google the Marilyn Hyland Agency, her marketing and public relations firm, while grasping your fire extinguisher.

Bruce Ryan
Emeritus Professor of Geography
University of Cincinnati, USA


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