Rachel Carson

In 1951 Rachel Carson wrote a book called The Sea Around Us that won the National Book Award and was on the bestseller list for 86 weeks! Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania. She loved nature ever since she was a child.

Rachel graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929. She switched from a major in English to science after a biology course. Then she went to John Hopkins University to earn a M.A. in zoology in 1932, studied at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Rachel taught zoology at the University of Maryland from 1931 to 1936. For the next fifteen years she worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a scientist and editor. She was able to combine her love nature and her gift for writing. Rachel wrote pamphlets on conservation and natural resources. She became famous as a naturalist. In 1952 Rachel Carson left government service to work on her writing.

Rachel wrote these books:

  • Under the Sea Wind ( 1941)
  • The Sea Around Us (1951)
  • The Edge of the Sea (1955)
  • Silent Spring (1967)
  • The Sea Around Us showed just what a talented writer Carson was. Silent Spring warned about harmful pesticides. "It was a spring without voices….there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh." This is a quote from Silent Spring. Rachel called it a silent spring because the birds had been killed by pesticides. Rachel testified before the U.S. Congress in 1963. She asked Congress to write new policies that protected humans and the environment from pesticides.

    After a long fight with breast cancer Rachel Carson died in April 14, 1964 in Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1970 the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine was named after her.

    Image courtesy of Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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    by Claire & Rachel, fourth grade, 2006