Writer Rachel Carson’s 1962 environmental science book Silent Spring served as a warning to the American public about harmful chemicals and pesticides we had been surrounding ourselves with and sparked a massive movement for change.
Who knows what would have happened without Rachel’s influential novel having educated everyday citizens? Here is the story of Rachel’s life and what led her to write her legendary book.
Rachel was born in 1907 on a farm in Springdale, Pennsylvania. She developed a love for nature early in life. She loved reading and started writing her own stories as a child, one of which was published when she was only 10-years-old.
She majored in biology at the Pennsylvania College for Women before attending Johns Hopkins University to study zoology and genetics. To financially support herself, she began working as a laboratory assistant.
Rachel received her master’s in 1932 and wanted to get her doctorate, but she had to put everything on hold in 1934 to take on a full-time teaching job to help support her family.
When she was 29 in 1936, Rachel took on a job at the US Bureau of Fisheries. She created brochures and other educational literature for the public and analyzed data on fish populations.
Around this time, tragedy struck her family, and Rachel became responsible for her two orphaned nieces, so to supplement some extra income, she continued writing.
Rachel wrote many essays, articles, and her first book, Under The Sea Wind. She stayed with the bureau for 15 years and was eventually promoted to Editor-in-Chief of the bureau’s publications before deciding to write full-time. Her second book, The Sea Around Us, was published in 1951.
Rachel resigned from the bureau at the age of 46 and moved to Southport Island, Maine, to continue writing.