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Women of the Hall

Year Honored: 1973
Birth: 1907 - Death: 1964
Born In: Pennsylvania, United States of America
Died In: Maryland, United States of America
Achievements: Science
Educated In: Pennsylvania, Maryland
Schools Attended: Pennsylvania College for Women, Chatham College, Johns Hopkins University
Worked In: Maryland, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Maine

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Rachel Carson

A shy young woman who loved books and nature equally well, Rachel Carson trained as a zoologist. She joined the Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington to work on their publications. In 1951 she came to national prominence when her book, The Sea Around Us, topped the best seller list for 86 weeks. Her graceful prose opened up scientific knowledge about the oceans to the layperson. An earlier work, Under the Sea Wind, was reissued. When she studied marine life in Maine for her next book, The Edge of the Sea, she stayed for hours wading in icy tidal pools until she was so numb with cold she had to be carried out. She was not by nature a crusader, but when aerial spraying of DDT killed the birds in a friend's bird sanctuary, she began to investigate the effects of pesticides on the chain of life. "The environment" and "ecology" have since become household words for Americans, but it all began with her Silent Spring in 1962. Driven by the knowledge that the book was desperately needed, she pored over and combined the work of many individual researchers. She wrote of the heedless pesticide poisoning of our rivers and soils, warning that we might soon face a spring when no bird songs could be heard. Rachel Carson had to weather a storm of controversy and abuse, and she did not live to see the eventual banning of DDT. But the environmentalist movement carries on the work she began, preserving our natural heritage for the future.
Additional Sources:

Brooks, Paul. Rachel Carson: The Writer at Work. Sierra Books, 1998. Formerly known as--The House of Life: Rachel Carson at Work. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1972. NOTES: Includes index. Bibliography: p. [331]-338. ""Rachel Carson bibliography"": p. [339]-343.

Hynes, H. Patricia. The Recurring Silent Spring. New York: Pergamon Press, 1989. NOTES: Includes index. Bibliographical references and index.

Edited by: Gino J. Marco, Robert M. Hollingworth, and William Durham. Silent Spring Revisited. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society, 1987. NOTES: Based on a symposium on the topics posed in Rachel Carson's Silent spring, held in Philiadelphia, Aug. 1984. Includes bibliographical references and indexes.

Lear, Linda. Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature. Henry Holt & Co., 1997. NOTES: Considered the definitive biography.

Edited by: Martha Freeman. Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

Under the Sea-Wind. New York: Oxford University Press, 1941.

The Sea Around Us. New York: Oxford University Press, 1951.

The Edge of the Sea. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1955.

Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1962.

Papers 1928-1932, 50 items. Johns Hopkins University, Milton S. Eisenhower Library. Baltimore, Maryland.