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In Celebration of Rachel Carson

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Wyoming. Lake d'Amalia, Wind River Mountains. Photochrome, c1898

It may sound clichéd, but as a librarian, one of the best gifts you can give me is a book. For Christmas one year, I received a re-issue of Rachel Carson’s 1965 Sense of Wonder . This book is an expansion of her 1956 essay “Help Your Child to Wonder” published in the July issue of Woman’s Home Companion. Using images of nature and writing, Carson’s Sense of Wonder inspires the children in us all to appreciate and respect the natural world around us. It reminds us that no matter how busy we are, taking a moment to observe a flower or a tree can be richly rewarding.

Rachel Carson, 1944, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 On May 27, we celebrate the birth of conservationist and scientist Rachel Carson, who has encouraged many of us to wonder about our world.

 Back in 2007, in observance of the 100th anniversary of her birth, we created a  guide of books and articles available at the Library of Congress authored by and about Miss Carson, in addition to internet resources. The impact of her seminal book, Silent Spring (1962), is felt even today as our awareness of environmental contaminants continues to grow.  Listed in this guide is her 1944 report on Fish and shellfish of the south Atlantic and Gulf coastsand  with the recent Gulf Coast oil spill, this work remains as relevant today as it was over 60 years ago.  

Field of daisies and orange flowers, possibly hawkweed, Vermont

 And if by reading this post, you get a craving to read more inspirational nature writing, you might wish to take a look at our guide to Nature Study, Nature Writing: Past and Present , where you will find titles by notable naturalists John Burroughs,  Susan Fenimore Cooper, Anna Comstock, John Muir, and many others.

Infrared view of a forest of trees in Montana

Comments (6)

  1. I am doing a big research project on Rachel Carson. I am running out of sources to use and I am looking for newspaper articles and other things like that. If there is any information you have please let me know!!!

    • @Diane . We offer many resources onsite, such as article databases, but cannot offer them over the web due to licensing or copyright. If you are in the DC area, you are welcome to visit the Library of Congress to conduct your research.

      Rachel Carson published most of her material after 1923. It is very likely that the scholarly material you need, such as articles and books are still protected by copyright and not freely available on the web. The good news is your local library can provide you access to article databases that you can use to find material for your research.

      Did you see guide about Rachel Carson? You can take this guide to your local library and a librarian can help you locate material for our research using local resources.

      I hope this information will prove helpful with your research 🙂

  2. I have covered some of the controversy over honoring Rachel Carson on my blog, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. There are lots of snippets of the history there — just do a search for “Rachel Carson.” There is a page of sources at the blog and other places in a page on the blog, “DDT Chronicles.” See search box here:

    I am also fond of the great story told about Rachel Carson by Jack Doyle at his blog, Pop History Dig:

    Australian economist John Quiggin had a solid article on the controversy in Prospect Magazine in 2008:

    William Souder, author of the Carson biography, On a Farther Shore, wrote about the controversy in Salon:

    Good luck, students of history, environment, and political bravery!

  3. Hi there,
    I am trying to do a project about Rachel Carson breaking the barriers (NHD).
    I absolutely love the Library of Congress’s website. I was wondering if there’s any more precise detailed article?
    Thank you so much for the replies.

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