Books That Made a Difference

Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964)

Silent Spring


  • Born in 1907 in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
  • Educated at Pennsylvania College for Women (A.B., 1929) and Johns Hopkins University (A.M., 1932); further graduate study at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA.
  • Died of cancer in 1964 at Silver Spring, Maryland.


  • Taught zoology at University of Maryland, 1931-36, then worked as an acquatic biologist for the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries.  Became a full-time writer beginning in 1952.
  • Received numerous awards for her work, including the National Book Award (1951) for The Sea Around Us; the John Burroughs, Henry G. Bryant, and Frances K. Hutchinson Medals in 1952; the Schwietzer medal from Animal Welfare Institute (1962); the Women's National Book Association Constance Lindsay Skinner Award (1963); and the Conservationist of the Year Award from the National Wildlife Federation (1963).
  • Was awarded honorary doctorates from Oberlin College (1952), Pennsylvania College for Women (1952), Drexel Institute of Technology (1952), and Smith College (1953).

Major Writings

Under the Sea-Wind: A Naturalist's Picture of Ocean Live (1941)
The Sea Around Us (1951)
The Edge of the Sea
Silent Spring (1962)
The Sense of Wonder (1965)
The Rocky Coast (1971)
Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-64

Critical Sources and Reviews

  • Biographical and critical information in Contemporary Literary Criticism.   Gale Literary Databases can be accessed online through a subscribing library at
  • Other printed resources include:

    Anticaglia, Elizabeth, Twelve American Women
    Brooks, Paul, editor, House of Life: Rachel Carson at Work
    Sterling, Philip, Sea and Earth: The Life of Rachel Carson

  • New York Times review of Always, Rachel: The Lertters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, March 19, 1995.  (New York Times Books Archive)

Retired Discussion Series

Debbie Sturman, Director
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Phone: 307-334-3490
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