|Birth Day:||May 27, 1907|
|Death Date:||Apr 14, 1964 (age 56)|
|Birth Place:||Springdale, United States|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Rachel Carson died on Apr 14, 1964 (age 56).
She wrote for the school newspaper while attending the Pennsylvania College for Women.
Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907, on a family farm near Springdale, Pennsylvania, just up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh. She was the daughter of Maria Frazier (McLean) and Robert Warden Carson, an insurance salesman. She spent a lot of time exploring around her family's 65-acre (26 ha) farm. An avid reader, she began writing stories (often involving animals) at age eight and had her first story published at age ten. She especially enjoyed the St. Nicholas Magazine (which carried her first published stories), the works of Beatrix Potter, and the novels of Gene Stratton-Porter, and in her teen years, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad and Robert Louis Stevenson. The natural world, particularly the ocean, was the common thread of her favorite literature. Carson attended Springdale's small school through tenth grade, then completed high school in nearby Parnassus, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1925 at the top of her class of forty-four students.
At the Pennsylvania College for Women (today known as Chatham University), as in high school, Carson was somewhat of a loner. She originally studied English, but switched her major to biology in January 1928, though she continued contributing to the school's student newspaper and literary supplement. Though admitted to graduate standing at Johns Hopkins University in 1928, she was forced to remain at the Pennsylvania College for Women for her senior year due to financial difficulties; she graduated magna cum laude in 1929. After a summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory, she continued her studies in zoology and genetics at Johns Hopkins in the fall of 1929.
After her first year of graduate school, Carson became a part-time student, taking an assistantship in Raymond Pearl's laboratory, where she worked with rats and Drosophila, to earn money for tuition. After false starts with pit vipers and squirrels, she completed a dissertation project on the embryonic development of the pronephros in fish. She earned a master's degree in zoology in June 1932. She had intended to continue for a doctorate, but in 1934 Carson was forced to leave Johns Hopkins to search for a full-time teaching position to help support her family during the Great Depression. In 1935, her father died suddenly, worsening their already critical financial situation and leaving Carson to care for her aging mother. At the urging of her undergraduate biology mentor Mary Scott Skinker, she settled for a temporary position with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, writing radio copy for a series of weekly educational broadcasts entitled Romance Under the Waters. The series of 52 seven-minute programs focused on aquatic life and was intended to generate public interest in fish biology and in the work of the bureau, a task the several writers before Carson had not managed. Carson also began submitting articles on marine life in the Chesapeake Bay, based on her research for the series, to local newspapers and magazines.
Carson's supervisor, pleased with the success of the radio series, asked her to write the introduction to a public brochure about the fisheries bureau; he also worked to secure her the first full-time position that became available. Sitting for the civil service exam, she outscored all other applicants and, in 1936, became the second woman hired by the Bureau of Fisheries for a full-time professional position, as a junior aquatic biologist.
At the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, Carson's main responsibilities were to analyze and report field data on fish populations, and to write brochures and other literature for the public. Using her research and consultations with marine biologists as starting points, she also wrote a steady stream of articles for The Baltimore Sun and other newspapers. However, her family responsibilities further increased in January 1937 when her older sister died, leaving Carson as the sole breadwinner for her mother and two nieces.
In July 1937, the Atlantic Monthly accepted a revised version of an essay, The World of Waters, that she originally wrote for her first fisheries bureau brochure. Her supervisor had deemed it too good for that purpose. The essay, published as Undersea, was a vivid narrative of a journey along the ocean floor. It marked a major turning point in Carson's writing career. Publishing house Simon & Schuster, impressed by Undersea, contacted Carson and suggested that she expand it into a book. Several years of writing resulted in Under the Sea Wind (1941), which received excellent reviews but sold poorly. In the meantime, Carson's article-writing success continued—her features appeared in Sun Magazine, Nature, and Collier's. Carson attempted to leave the Bureau (by then transformed into the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) in 1945, but few jobs for naturalists were available, as most money for science was focused on technical fields in the wake of the Manhattan Project. In mid-1945, Carson first encountered the subject of DDT, a revolutionary new pesticide—lauded as the "insect bomb" after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—that was only beginning to undergo tests for safety and ecological effects. DDT was but one of Carson's many writing interests at the time, and editors found the subject unappealing; she published nothing on DDT until 1962.
Carson rose within the Fish and Wildlife Service, by 1945 supervising a small writing staff and in 1949 becoming chief editor of publications. Though her position provided increasing opportunities for fieldwork and freedom in choosing her writing projects, it also entailed increasingly tedious administrative responsibilities. By 1948, Carson was working on material for a second book and had made the conscious decision to begin a transition to writing full-time. That year, she took on a literary agent, Marie Rodell; they formed a close professional relationship that would last the rest of Carson's career.
Oxford University Press expressed interest in Carson's book proposal for a life history of the ocean, spurring her to complete by early 1950 the manuscript of what would become The Sea Around Us. Chapters appeared in Science Digest and The Yale Review—the latter chapter, "The Birth of an Island", winning the American Association for the Advancement of Science's George Westinghouse Science Writing Prize. Nine chapters were serialized in The New Yorker beginning June 1951 and the book was published July 2, 1951, by Oxford University Press. The Sea Around Us remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 86 weeks, was abridged by Reader's Digest, won the 1952 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the John Burroughs Medal, and resulted in Carson's being awarded two honorary doctorates. She also licensed a documentary film based on it. The Sea's success led to the republication of Under the Sea Wind, which became a bestseller itself. With success came financial security, and in 1952 Carson was able to give up her job in order to concentrate on writing full-time.
Early in 1953, Carson began library and field research on the ecology and organisms of the Atlantic shore. In 1955, she completed the third volume of her sea trilogy, The Edge of the Sea, which focuses on life in coastal ecosystems, particularly along the Eastern Seaboard. It appeared in The New Yorker in two condensed installments shortly before its October 26 book release by Houghton Mifflin (again a new publisher). By this time, Carson's reputation for clear and poetical prose was well established; The Edge of the Sea received highly favorable reviews, if not quite as enthusiastic as for The Sea Around Us.
Through 1955 and 1956, Carson worked on a number of projects—including the script for an Omnibus episode, "Something About the Sky"—and wrote articles for popular magazines. Her plan for the next book was to address evolution, but the publication of Julian Huxley's Evolution in Action—and her own difficulty in finding a clear and compelling approach to the topic—led her to abandon the project. Instead, her interests were turning to conservation. She considered an environment-themed book project tentatively titled Remembrance of the Earth and became involved with The Nature Conservancy and other conservation groups. She also made plans to buy and preserve from development an area in Maine she and Freeman called the "Lost Woods."
In early 1957, a family tragedy struck for a third time when one of her nieces she had cared for since the 1940s died at the age of 31, leaving her 5-year-old son, Roger Christie an orphan. Carson took on the responsibility of Roger Christie when she adopted him, alongside caring for her aging mother. Carson moved to Silver Spring, Maryland to care for Roger, and much of 1957 was spent putting together a new living situation and studying on specific environmental threats
By late 1957, Carson was closely following federal proposals for widespread pesticide spraying; the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) planned to eradicate fire ants, and other spraying programs involving chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates were on the rise. For the rest of her life, Carson's main professional focus would be the dangers of pesticide overuse.
By 1959, the USDA's Agricultural Research Service responded to the criticism by Carson and others with a public service film, Fire Ant on Trial; Carson characterized it as "flagrant propaganda" that ignored the dangers that spraying pesticides (especially dieldrin and heptachlor) posed to humans and wildlife. That spring, Carson wrote a letter, published in The Washington Post, that attributed the recent decline in bird populations—in her words, the "silencing of birds"—to pesticide overuse. That was also the year of the "Great Cranberry Scandal": the 1957, 1958, and 1959 crops of U.S. cranberries were found to contain high levels of the herbicide aminotriazole (which caused cancer in laboratory rats) and the sale of all cranberry products was halted. Carson attended the ensuing FDA hearings on revising pesticide regulations; she came away discouraged by the aggressive tactics of the chemical industry representatives, which included expert testimony that was firmly contradicted by the bulk of the scientific literature she had been studying. She also wondered about the possible "financial inducements behind certain pesticide programs."
By 1960, Carson had more than enough research material, and the writing was progressing rapidly. In addition to the thorough literature search, she had investigated hundreds of individual incidents of pesticide exposure and the human sickness and ecological damage that resulted. However, in January, a duodenal ulcer followed by several infections kept her bedridden for weeks, greatly delaying the completion of Silent Spring. As she was nearing full recovery in March (just as she was completing drafts of the two cancer chapters of her book), she discovered cysts in her left breast, one of which necessitated a mastectomy. Though her doctor described the procedure as precautionary and recommended no further treatment, by December Carson discovered that the tumor was malignant and the cancer had metastasized. Her research was also delayed by revision work for a new edition of The Sea Around Us, and by a collaborative photo essay with Erich Hartmann. Most of the research and writing was done by the fall of 1960, except for the discussion of recent research on biological pest controls and investigations of a handful of new pesticides. However, further health troubles slowed the final revisions in 1961 and early 1962. During this time while writing the book Carson had to hide her illness so that the pesticide companies couldn't use it against her. She worried that if the companies knew it would give them additional ammunition to make her book look untrustworthy and biased.
Silent Spring, Carson's best-known book, was published by Houghton Mifflin on 27 September 1962. The book described the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment, and is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement. Carson was not the first, or the only person to raise concerns about DDT, but her combination of "scientific knowledge and poetic writing" reached a broad audience and helped to focus opposition to DDT use. In 1994, an edition of Silent Spring was published with an introduction written by Vice President Al Gore. In 2012 Silent Spring was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society for its role in the development of the modern environmental movement.
Most of the book's scientific chapters were reviewed by scientists with relevant expertise, among whom Carson found strong support. Carson attended the White House Conference on Conservation in May 1962; Houghton Mifflin distributed proof copies of Silent Spring to many of the delegates, and promoted the upcoming New Yorker serialization. Among many others, Carson also sent a proof copy to Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas, a longtime environmental advocate who had argued against the court's rejection of the Long Island pesticide spraying case (and who had provided Carson with some of the material included in her chapter on herbicides).
In one of her last public appearances, Carson testified before President John F. Kennedy's Science Advisory Committee. The committee issued its report on May 15, 1963, largely backing Carson's scientific claims. Following the report's release, she also testified before a United States Senate subcommittee to make policy recommendations. Though Carson received hundreds of other speaking invitations, she was unable to accept the great majority of them. Her health was steadily declining as her cancer outpaced the radiation therapy, with only brief periods of remission. She spoke as much as she was physically able, however, including a notable appearance on The Today Show and speeches at several dinners held in her honor. In late 1963, she received a flurry of awards and honors: the Audubon Medal (from the National Audubon Society), the Cullum Geographical Medal (from the American Geographical Society), and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Weakened from breast cancer and her treatment regimen, Carson became ill with a respiratory virus in January 1964. Her condition worsened, and in February, doctors found that she had severe anemia from her radiation treatments and in March they discovered that the cancer had reached her liver. She died of a heart attack on April 14, 1964, in her home in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In 1965, Rodell arranged for the publication of an essay Carson had intended to expand into a book: The Sense of Wonder. The essay, which was combined with photographs by Charles Pratt and others, exhorts parents to help their children experience the "...lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world ... available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea and sky and their amazing life."
A number of conservation areas have been named for Carson as well. Between 1964 and 1990, 650 acres (263 ha) near Brookeville in Montgomery County, Maryland were acquired and set aside as the Rachel Carson Conservation Park, administered by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. In 1969, the Coastal Maine National Wildlife Refuge became the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge; expansions will bring the size of the refuge to about 9,125 acres (3,693 ha). In 1985, North Carolina renamed one of its estuarine reserves in honor of Carson, in Beaufort.
The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the Nixon Administration in 1970 addressed another concern that Carson had brought to light. Until then, the same agency (the USDA) was responsible both for regulating pesticides and promoting the concerns of the agriculture industry; Carson saw this as a conflict of interest, since the agency was not responsible for effects on wildlife or other environmental concerns beyond farm policy. Fifteen years after its creation, one journalist described the EPA as "the extended shadow of Silent Spring." Much of the agency's early work, such as enforcing the 1972 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, was directly related to Carson's work.
Carson's birthplace and childhood home in Springdale, Pennsylvania, now known as the Rachel Carson Homestead, became a National Register of Historic Places site and the nonprofit Rachel Carson Homestead Association was created in 1975 to manage it. Her home in Colesville, Maryland where she wrote Silent Spring was named a National Historic Landmark in 1991. Near Pittsburgh, a 35.7 miles (57 km) hiking trail, called the Rachel Carson Trail and maintained by the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, was dedicated to Carson in 1975. A Pittsburgh bridge was also renamed in Carson's honor as the Rachel Carson Bridge. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection State Office Building in Harrisburg is named in her honor. Elementary schools in Gaithersburg, Montgomery County, Maryland, Sammamish, Washington and San Jose, California were named in her honor, as were middle schools in Beaverton, Oregon and Herndon, Virginia (Rachel Carson Middle School), and a high school in Brooklyn, New York.
A variety of groups ranging from government institutions to environmental and conservation organizations to scholarly societies have celebrated Carson's life and work since her death. Perhaps most significantly, on June 9, 1980, Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. A 17¢ Great Americans series postage stamp was issued in her honor the following year; several other countries have since issued Carson postage as well. In 1973, Carson was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Carson is also a frequent namesake for prizes awarded by philanthropic, educational and scholarly institutions. The Rachel Carson Prize, founded in Stavanger, Norway in 1991, is awarded to women who have made a contribution in the field of environmental protection. The American Society for Environmental History has awarded the Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation since 1993. Since 1998, the Society for Social Studies of Science has awarded an annual Rachel Carson Book Prize for "a book length work of social or political relevance in the area of science and technology studies." The Society of Environmental Journalists gives an annual award and two honourable mentions for books on environmental issues in Carson's name, such as was awarded to Joe Roman's Listed: Dispatches from America's Endangered Species Act in 2012.
Carson first met Dorothy Freeman in the summer of 1953 in Southport Island, Maine. Freeman had written to Carson welcoming her to the area when she had heard that the famous author was to become her neighbor. It was the beginning of an extremely close friendship that would last the rest of Carson's life. Their relationship was conducted mainly through letters, and during summers spent together in Maine. Over the course of 12 years, they would exchange somewhere in the region of 900 letters. Many of these were published in the book Always, Rachel, published in 1995 by Beacon Press.
Shortly before Carson's death, she and Freeman destroyed hundreds of letters. The surviving correspondence were published in 1995 as Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952–1964: An Intimate Portrait of a Remarkable Friendship, edited by Martha Freeman, Dorothy's granddaughter, who wrote at publication: "A few comments in early letters indicate that Rachel and Dorothy were initially cautious about the romantic tone and terminology of their correspondence. I believe this caution prompted their destruction of some letters within the first two years of their friendship..." According to one reviewer, the pair "fit Carolyn Heilbrun's characterization of a strong female friendship, where what matters is 'not whether friends are homosexual or heterosexual, lovers or not, but whether they share the wonderful energy of work in the public sphere'."
In addition to the letters in Always Rachel, in 1998 a volume of Carson's previously unpublished work was published as Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson, edited by Linda Lear. All of Carson's books remain in print.
The centennial of Carson's birth occurred in 2007. On Earth Day (April 22), Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson was released as "a centennial appreciation of Rachel Carson's brave life and transformative writing." It contained thirteen essays by environmental writers and scientists. Democratic Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland had intended to submit a resolution celebrating Carson for her "legacy of scientific rigor coupled with poetic sensibility" on the 100th anniversary of her birth. The resolution was blocked by Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who said that "The junk science and stigma surrounding DDT—the cheapest and most effective insecticide on the planet—have finally been jettisoned." The Rachel Carson Homestead Association held a May 27 birthday party and sustainable feast at her birthplace and home in Springdale, Pennsylvania, and the first Rachel Carson Legacy Conference in Pittsburgh with E. O. Wilson as keynote speaker. Both Rachel's Sustainable Feast and the conference continue as annual events.
Also in 2007 American author Ginger Wadsworth wrote a biography of Carson.
Munich's Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society was founded in 2009. An international, interdisciplinary center for research and education in the environmental humanities and social sciences, it was established as a joint initiative of Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Deutsches Museum, with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The Rachel Carson sculpture in Woods Hole, Massachusetts was unveiled on July 14, 2013. Google created a Google Doodle for Carson's 107th birthday on May 27, 2014. Carson was featured during the "HerStory" video tribute to notable women on U2's tour in 2017 for the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree during a performance of "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" from the band's 1991 album Achtung Baby.
The University of California, Santa Cruz, named one of its colleges (formerly known as College Eight) to Rachel Carson College in 2016. Rachel Carson College is the first college at the University to bear a woman's name.
Rachel was born to Maria Frazier (McLean) and Robert Warden Carson and had two siblings.
Currently, Rachel Carson is 115 years, 8 months and 10 days old. Rachel Carson will celebrate 116th birthday on a Saturday 27th of May 2023. Below we countdown to Rachel Carson upcoming birthday.
Rachel’s 111th Birthday anniversary – Rachel Carson Homestead