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Rachel Carson, continued

Rachel graduated in 1932 from Johns Hopkins, and then she began to work for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries.  Her boss took a great risk in hiring a woman scientist, but was quite pleased with her work.  She had a gift for writing and combined this with her scientific knowledge.  He even told her some writings were too good for government publication.  He recommended that she submit the paper to the Atlantic Monthly. She mumbled her thanks and threw that manuscript in a drawer thinking it wasn’t good enough.

She continued to work for the government and continued to write about nature.  Just before World War II she published her first book Under the Sea Wind.  After Pearl Harbor was attacked, all book sales plummeted, and she only earned $1000 for it.  Her part in the war effort (working for the Fish and Wildlife Service), was to encourage Americans to eat fish instead of the red meat that was sent off for the troops.  She was promoted rapidly, and in 1947 became the Editor-in-Chief of the Information Division of the Fish and Wildlife Service.  

While the war effort kept her busy, and the financial rewards of the first book weren’t great, she still wanted to write another.  This time it would be a book about the ocean and its various creatures.  As the book took form, the publishers realized that the chapters would make excellent magazine articles.  However, these articles were turned down by the Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic and several other magazines.  Finally in 1951, The New Yorker published some of her articles, which eventually became about half of the book (The Sea Around Us).  Soon after the book came out, the publisher had to go back to press and print more!  Such popularity helped gain recognition for her first book. Eventually, both books were on the best-seller list. 

Other books followed, including Help Your Child to Wonder (1956), and Our Ever-Changing Shore (1957).  In all her writings, Rachel incorporated her view that humans were only part of the ecosystems they inhabited, yet had the greatest power to damage those ecosystems. 


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