Saturday, May 19, 2007

Rachel Carson Centennial

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s birth. The Washington Post did a great story about the activities in the metropolitan Washington, DC region celebrating this centennial of Carson’s birth. The Rachel Carson Council is an organization that works to continue the legacy of Rachel Carson. The best overview of Carson and her life and work is available at

I’ve been reading Linda Lear’s biography of Carson over the past two weeks. First, her book is an extraordinary achievement. Meticulously researched it puts together a thorough history of Carson’s life. Lear includes extensive accounts of Carson’s life from individual interviews and personal correspondence. As always in reading a biography such as this, I feel nostalgic for letter writing. I have a few people with whom I regularly correspond by letter, but always want more after reading books such as this. Though I suppose if I’m being honest, I want a correspondent who will also save all of the letters in some organized way and I then want a life that will necessitate a biography. This is probably a tall order, especially since I no longer meticulously save all of the written correspondence that comes to me! (Though I do save at least 80% of it. As a child though, I was much more organized and devoted to this task. As an adult the sheer volume of paper has begun to overwhelm me.) The biography is lovely though and a great read. It is easily on par with Cook’s biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. I am, of course, wishing for more analysis about Carson’s sexual orientation. She was clearly affectionally oriented to women. In fairness, however, I’ve just been dipping into the biography at night when tired and have not been reading sequentially. I hope to do that over the summer and maybe there is a more full explication of Carson’s sexuality orientation. Either way, however, I recommend not only this fine biography but also the opportunity to commune with Carson who truly was an extraordinary and visionary woman.

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