The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

Research Guide


  • Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives at Connecticut College
    Lear/Carson Collection. The collection consists of Linda Lear's archive of materials used for her biography, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, and for the anthology, Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson , as well as personal papers given to Lear by Carson's colleagues and friends. Open to Students and Scholars. Contact: Benjamin Panciera, Director of Special Collections & Archives 860-439-2654.
  • The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
    The Rachel Carson Papers, given by the estate of Rachel Carson in 1965, are included in The Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, PO Box 208240, New Haven CT 06520, 203-432-2962.
  • The Ladd Library at Bates College
    The custodian of the Dorothy Freeman Collection, letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman. Special Collections, Ladd Library, Bates College, Lewiston ME 04240, 207-786-6272.
  • The Ferdinand Hamburger Archives, Milton Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University
    A collection of manuscripts related to Carson's graduate studies in zoology at the university during the early 1930's. Archivist James Stimpert, Archivist, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21218, 410-516-8323.
  • Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, A Book That Changed the World
    This virtual exhibition presents the global reception and impact of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as well as the book’s legacy in popular culture, music, literature, and the arts. Read chronologically starting with the overview, or go directly to a specific chapter that interests you by clicking on the navigation slider below.
  • Photographs: The Estate of Rachel Carson has put most non-copyrighted photographs in the public domain. All the research institutions listed above, plus several of the named organizations listed below, hold some photographs. Format, cost, and availability depend on the institution, as well as courtesy permission. Captions and name of photographer, if known, should be verified from the lending institution. Commercial photographs are available from Magnum Photo, 212-929-6000, and Corbis Images at 800-260-0444. The Martin Luther King Library Photograph Department in Washington, DC has press photographs as do AP Wire Service, World Wide Photo, and Time/Life.


  • See Books for listing of books by and about Rachel Carson.


  • See Organizations for listing of organizations related to the legacy of Rachel Carson.


This section is currently under review. Please use the two links to perform simple searches against and Google Scholar.


Natural Sites Named for Rachel Carson

  • Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
    Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1966 in cooperation with the State of Maine to protect valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. Scattered along 50 miles of coastline in York and Cumberland counties, the refuge consists of ten divisions between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth. It will contain approximately 7,600 acres when land acquisition is complete.
  • The North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve
    Designated a Rachel Carson Component near Beaufort, North Carolina.
  • Great Barrier Reef for Rachel Carson
    President Clinton named a section of the Great Barrier Reef during a November, 1996 visit.
  • The Rachel Carson Trail
    Passes within 1/4 mile of the Homestead on its 34-mile route from North Park to Harrison Hills Park in Allegheny County. The trail is maintained by the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy.
  • The Rachel Carson Greenway
    Maintained by the Boothbay Regional Land Trust, Boothbay Harbor, ME 207-633-4818.
  • Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
    A favorite bird-watching spot for Rachel Carson. More than 75 Years of Raptor Conservation. Located in east-central Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain is the world's first refuge for birds of prey. Open year-round, visitors enjoy scenic vistas, 8-miles of ridge and valley trails, a Visitor Center, Bookstore, and native plant garden, and each autumn, the chance to observe large numbers of hawks, eagles and falcons as they migrate past our lookouts. Operating as a non-profit eco-tourism site, your trail fee or membership dues directly support scientific research, public education and Sanctuary maintenance.


  • Tribute to Rachel Carson
    Written for Ada Lovelace Day by Jim Stimpert, Sheriden Library, Johns Hopkins University.
  • Telling Lives
    "I am not a biographer interested in "the life and times" but rather in telling a life in time. We cannot ever get the truth of another’s life, but we can try to catch at its creative spirit and the varieties of a life lived. 'Telling Lives' is my record of some of these people who have caught at me, and whose creativeness touched the natural world." - Linda Lear

Other Media

* Media listed in order by publication.

  • Rachel Carson: Voice of Nature Aired: 03/22/18
    Focus on Rachel Carson’s connection to Pennsylvania and the impact her work has had on PA environmental and conservation policy. Inspired by a supportive mother, her natural surroundings and the Allegheny River, it was her formative years in Springdale that would shape her passionate environmental ethic.
  • Rachel Carson
    PBS, January 24, 2017 [preview]
    Featuring Linda Lear.
    When Silent Spring was published in September 1962 it became an instant bestseller and would go on to spark dramatic changes in the way the government regulated pesticides. Drawn from Carson’s own writings, letters and recent scholarship, the film illuminates both the public and private life of the soft-spoken, shy scientist who launched the modern environmental movement.
  • "Rachel Carson's Silent Spring" produced by Peace River Films for the American Experience in 1993. It is available at some libraries and from PBS.
    Mark Stoll
    Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: A Book that Changed the World This virtual exhibition presents the global reception and impact of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as well as the book’s legacy in popular culture, music, literature, and the arts.
  • Living Downstream

    Based on the acclaimed book by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, PhD., Living Downstream is an eloquent and cinematic documentary film.

    BOOK JACKET: Living Downstream This poetic film follows Sandra during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. After a routine cancer screening, Sandra receives some worrying results and is thrust into a period of medical uncertainty. Thus, we begin two journeys with Sandra: her private struggles with cancer and her public quest to bring attention to the urgent human rights issue of cancer prevention.

    But Sandra is not the only one who is on a journey—the chemicals against which she is fighting are also on the move. We follow these invisible toxins as they migrate to some of the most beautiful places in North America. We see how these chemicals enter our bodies and how, once inside, scientists believe they may be working to cause cancer.

    Several experts in the fields of toxicology and cancer research make important cameo appearances in the film, highlighting their own findings on two pervasive chemicals: atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and the industrial compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Their work further illuminates the significant connection between a healthy environment and human health.

    At once Sandra’s personal journey and her scientific exploration, Living Downstream is a powerful reminder of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the health of our air, land, and water.

  • The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson

    The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson is a groundbreaking documentary examining the life of Rachel Carson and the profound implications of her environmental work. Perfect for classrooms and community events, this 51-minute film features interviews with Rachel Carson’s adopted son, Roger Christie, her biographer, Linda Lear, and other notable writers, scientists and advocates. By highlighting the power of Carson’s voice, we hope to inspire others to add their voices to this essential conversation. More details, including DVD purchase information, at .