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John Wesley Powell was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first passage of European Americans through the Grand Canyon. Powell served as second director of the US Geological Survey (1881-1894), and was also the director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution, where he supported linguistic and sociological research and publications.

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