Collection on Rachel Carson, 1910-1964
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Brief Description:

The Collection on Rachel Carson documents activities of Chatham University to collect, research, and promote the work and successes of Rachel Carson following her graduation from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University) in 1929. The collection includes copies of many, though not all, published writings by Rachel Carson dating from her years as a student at Pennsylvania College for Women (P.C.W.) and continuing throughout her career as a professional writer. The collection also includes a copy of Rachel Carson’s student transcript, a book identified as belonging to Rachel Carson, and a series of correspondence between Rachel Carson and the Treasurer of P.C.W. between 1929 and 1934 relating to Rachel Carson’s debt to the school and also between P.C.W. and real estate agents in Pittsburgh and Springdale, PA relating to Carson family property used as collateral for Rachel Carson’s school loans.

Much of the collection consists of records, brochures, flyers, photocopies, clippings, and correspondence related to Chatham College’s (now Chatham University) efforts to recognize the professional achievements of Rachel Carson after the publication of The Sea Around Us. These materials include correspondence between Chatham College President Edward Eddy and Rachel Carson about plans to host a campus visit by Rachel Carson as part of a new “Chatham Visitors” program and several campus efforts to honor Rachel Carson’s legacy after her death in 1964, including public programs in 1987 and 1994 and more. The collection also includes photocopies and clippings collected and maintained by Chatham University Alumni Office featuring Rachel Carson.

The collection also includes photographs and copies of photographs of Rachel Carson during her childhood, college years, and during the later years of her life.

Held at:
Chatham University Archives
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-365-1212
Fax: 412-365-1465
Email: m.tighe [at]
Record Series Number: RG11/2018.004
Created by: Chatham University
Volume: 3.0 Object

The Collection on Rachel Carson is arranged into 6 Series:

Series 1: Essays and Articles by Rachel Carson, 1925 – 1963, bulk 1925 – 1928

Series 1 contains the writings by Rachel Carson, including her high school thesis, college essays, student newspaper articles, one article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press in 1963, and editions of Silent Spring, Under the Sea Wind, The Rocky Coast, Edge of the Sea Wind, etc in English and several other languages. Of particular note among Rachel Carson’s student writing is her essay, “Master of the Ship’s Light” for which she was awarded the Omega prize. Items in this series are copies compiled for ease of access and original publications appearing in the campus publications The Arrow and The Englicode are available in the related Campus Publications Collections. Materials are ordered chronologically, with the books using the most recent copyright date.

Series 2: Rachel Carson Student Records, 1926 – 1944

Series 2 is comprised of student records about Rachel Carson at Chatham, including a copy of her transcript and correspondence relating to tuition payments. This correspondence, which dates from 1928 to 1944, addresses repayment of a tuition loan made to Rachel Carson by the school and for which her family used land they owned near Pittsburgh as collateral. The letters detail the financial struggles of the Carson family during the Great Depression and Rachel Carson’s role as the sole family provider. Rachel Carson’s loan repayment was completed in the 1940s. Also included is an edition of The Æneid of Virgil with inscription “Rachel Louise Carson” donated by Alden M. Rollins.

Series 3: Chatham Recognition of Rachel Carson, 1925- 1995 (bulk 1952-1995)

Series 3 includes documentation of Chatham’s efforts to recognize Rachel Carson and her contributions. These efforts include an invitation to participate in the Chatham Visitors Program, a Rachel Carson Remembrance Committee, the More than Aware conference held on campus, and numerous notices and articles about Rachel Carson that appear in Chatham publications. Though Rachel Carson was one of the first individuals invited to join the Chatham Visitors Program, health issues interfered with her visit planned for May 1964. The Rachel Carson Remembrance Committee, composed of members from Chatham, the Rachel Carson Homestead, and the Landscape Design Society of Western Pennsylvania, produced a series of events during May 1987 to commemorate the 25 th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring. Events included the commission of a portrait, concerts, lectures, and a tree planting on campus. The More than Aware conference, held in conjunction with the 125 th anniversary of Chatham, commemorated the legacy of Rachel Carson by establishing the Rachel Carson Award, arranging a benefit concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lorin Maazel, and lectures discussing the role of women in science featuring discussion of Margaret Sanger. Materials documenting More than Aware include programs, correspondence, clippings, and an audio cassette. Chatham publications about Rachel Carson, ranging from mentions of her as a student in The Arrow to articles about her in the Alumni Recorder, are also included. Additional records in this series document assorted activities by Chatham to recognize Rachel Carson, including a reading room and nomination to Phi Beta Kappa. Activities of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University can be found in the related collection. Subseries: A Visitor’s Program Subseries B: Chatham Publications about Rachel Carson Subseries C: Rachel Carson Remembrance Committee Subseries D: More Than Aware

Series 4: Alumni Office Research Files, 1955 – 1995

This series contains documentation collected and maintained by the Chatham Alumni Office about Rachel Carson, including articles about Rachel Carson, the clippings on Rachel Carson Homestead, several pieces of correspondence with the Japan Rachel Carson Council and the Rachel Carson Council, and Rachel Carson’s alumnae questionnaire. The collection of articles reflects those available and maintained for research purposes, rather than the entirety of articles published about Rachel Carson during the years represented.

Series 5: Photographs, c. 1910 – 1952

This series contains photographs and photograph duplicates depicting Rachel Carson during her childhood, during her years as a student at Chatham, and after leaving Chatham. Many documents in this series are duplicates from the student yearbooks. Several images are duplicates collected by Chatham from other archival repositories during the course of research. All known photographers and source repositories have been noted. Subseries A: Childhood Photographs Subseries B: Student Photos Subseries C: Campus Friends & Colleagues Subseries D: Assorted Rachel Carson Photos

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access. The records are open for research use.
Subject Index
Carson, Rachel, 1907-1964--Archives
Carson, Rachel, 1907-1964--History--Sources
Chatham University-- history-- sources
Eddy, Edward Danforth--Correspondence
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
French [fre]
German [ger]
Japanese [jpn]
PreferredCitation: Collection on Rachel Carson, 1910-1964, RG11.2018.004