Courtesy of Rachel Carson

393: Rachel Carson

Marine Biologist, Author, and Conservationist

Born: 27 May 1907, Springdale, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Died: 14 April 1964, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America

Rachel’s book Silent Spring launched the movement to eliminate harmful pesticides (like DDT) from being used through crop dusting and other widespread uses.

Her work would eventually lead to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States.

By the age of ten, Rachel was already a published author for children’s magazines.

She managed to get her master’s degree in Zoology from Johns Hopkins University but had to drop out of college before pursuing a doctorate because of financial and family reasons. Rachel helped her ailing mother for a time, and then became a surrogate mother to her nieces after her sister’s death. A few years later, she would also adopt a son.

In 1936, she became the second woman hired by the United States Bureau of Fisheries. Originally hired to write articles for different nature subjects, she would eventually rise to the position of Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

She was suffering from Breast Cancer at the time of Silent Spring’s publication and had to hide that fact for fear people would think she was biased in her research. She was attacked from chemical corporations as well as members of Congress, even when she testified before them on the dangerous harm pesticides were doing not just to plants and animals, but humans as well.

In 1980, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rachel was great friends with a woman named Dorothy Freeman. They were so close in fact, that some have characterized their relationship as more than friends. While nothing can ever be confirmed of course, I have included a link to some of the evidence people use to color their relationship as more than friends below.

Badges Earned:

Find a Grave Marked

Located In My Personal Library:

Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

Who Knew Women in History by Sarah Herman

The Book of Awesome Women: Boundary Breakers, Freedom Fighters, Sheroes, and Female Firsts by Becca Anderson

Time Magazine's 100 Women of the Year (Rachel appears in the 1963 article, "Rachel Carson”)

Whose Who in American History: Leaders, Visionaries, and Icons who Shaped Our Nation by John M Thompson, William R Gray, and KM Kostyal