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History Science Sustainability

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was born on May 27, 1907. She was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her parents are Maria Frazier McLean and Robert Warden Carson. Later when she was 11 years old, she won a prize because she wrote a story that got published in the St. Nicholas Magazine. Very later when she was in Parnassus, Pennsylvania High School, she graduated with honors and won a scholarship to Pennsylvania College For Women (now in the present it is called Chatham University) in Pittsburgh. What she wanted to do was to study English and she also wanted to become a teacher. When she was finished with college, she graduated with very excellent grades.

Right after she graduated, in 1927, instead of wanting to study English she wanted to study biology. She got her inspiration of wanting to change what she wants to study from her biology professor Mary Scott Skinker. Then she won a scholarship to Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Later, she received another scholarship from John Hopkins University to study Zoology. She then went to study in John Hopkins University in the Department of Zoology. In the summer of 1930, she started teaching Zoology at John Hopkins Summer School with Grace Lippy. Then, for two years, Rachel taught at the Dental and Pharmacy School in the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

In 1932 Rachel gets awarded an MA degree. But sadly, in 1935, Robert Warden Carson (Rachel’s dad) dies at age 71. That same year Rachel takes an exam to be a junior wildlife biologist and a junior aquatic biologist. Then she gets hired by Elmer Higgins to do 52 short radio programs on a topic called “Romance Under the Water.’’ She then gets hired to work in the Department of Commerce as a junior aquatic biologist. She also begins writing small articles. She wrote “ The Baltimore Sun.” She starts getting paid a small amount of money f0r her articles.

In 1937, a Marian Carson Williams dies and leaves behind her 2 daughters. One of them is Virginia who was 12. The other daughter is Marjorie who was 11. Rachel Carson and her mom adopted them. They moved into a house together in Silver Spring, Maryland. A few months later, Rachel writes an article that is published in Atlantic Monthly. The article was called “Undersea.” 

About 2 years later Rachel starts working on a book that will soon be called “Under the Sea-Wind.’’ In that same year Carson is promoted to Assistant Aquatic Biologist. Another 2 years later Rachel Carson is promoted to be officially an Aquatic Biologist. Rachel then goes on the SS Phalanthrop, Bureau of Fisheries Research ship. After going on the ship, she transfers (or moves) to the same organization (which is called Bureau of Fisheries). She goes to the office in Chicago. After, the book she was working on is published by Simon & Schuster. The book “Under the Sea-Wind” was the very first book she ever wrote.

In 1943, Rachel and her mom move back to Washington. She also continued to write little articles. The articles get published in famous magazines. 

In 1950 Rachel had a breast tumor but, thankfully, it got removed. She was not going to need anymore surgeries or anymore treatments. A year later she resigns from The US Fish and Wildlife Service. She resigned so she can have writing as a full time job. Then another year later, she gets awarded the following awards:

  • The National Book Award for Non Fiction
  • The John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing
  • The Henry Grier Bryant Gold Medal of the Geographical Society
  • The New York Zoological Gold Medal
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Simon Guggenheim Fellowship Award (for her next book ‘‘The Edge of the Sea’’

In 1953, she buys a piece of land. The land is located in West Southport Island, Maine. She then builds a cottage. After building the cottage, she moves into her new home. She named her home “Silverledges.” Her neighbors are Dorothy & Stanley Freeman. 5 years later Rachel’s mom dies. Then in 1959 Rachel hires a person to be her administrative assistant and her secretary. Her name is Jeanne V Davis. One year later Rachel Carson gets breast cancer. Sadly in 1964 Rachel Carson dies in Silver Spring, Maryland.