The Woods Hole’s Rachel Carson Memorial

” I had my first prolonged contact with the sea at Woods Hole. I never tired of watching the tidal currents pouring through the Hole – that wonderful place of whirlpools and eddies and swiftly racing water.”    – Rachel Carson

Woods Hole's Rachel Carson Memorial

Woods Hole’s Rachel Carson Memorial

Rachel Carson - Scientist, Writer and Colleague at MBL, NOAA and WHOI.

Rachel Carson – Scientist, Writer and Colleague at MBL, NOAA and WHOI.

Earlier this month a new bronze memorial statue was unveiled at Waterfront Park in the Woods Hole section of Falmouth. The statue depicts Ms. Carson sitting on a bench while comfortably resting her back against a wooden piling. Her hair is pulled back and she is wearing a simple blouse, skirt and loafer style shoes. She looks calm, composed and content as she jots notes on a pad and gazes out over the waters of her beloved Woods Hole Passage.

Looking out on Woods Hole Passage

Looking out on Woods Hole Passage

Woods Hole’s Rachel Carson, author of “The Sea Around Us”, “The Edge of the Sea”, “Under the Sea Wind” and “The Silent Spring”, is credited with advancing the global environmental movement. She was born in 1907 and grew up on her family’s 65 acre farm in Springdale, PA. She held degrees from Pennsylvania College for Women, now known as Chatham University where she graduated with a degree in biology and Johns Hopkins University where she earned a masters degree in zoology.  She had planned to continue for a doctorate but found it necessary to leave Johns Hopkins to find full time employment to support her family. Her undergraduate mentor, Mary Scott Skinner, persuaded her to take a position as a copy writer for a radio broadcast that was funded by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. The shows name was, “Romance Under the Water” and it was a series of fifty-two, seven minute programs that focused on  aquatic life. Its goal was to generate public interest in fish biology and the work of the bureau. Her work was a success and she began to submit articles on marine life in the Chesapeake Bay area based on her research, for a series of local newspapers and magazines. In 1936 she became the first woman to be hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries for a full-time professional position, as a junior aquatic biologist. In 1937 she wrote an essay for a fisheries brochure. Her supervisor thought that it was too good for that purpose and in July of that year a revised version of the article, “Undersea” was published in the Atlantic Monthly. It marked a turning point in Carson’s career. The publishing house Simon & Schuster, suggested that she expand the assay into a book. Several years later, in 1941 she published “Under the Sea Wind”. It received excellent reviews but sold poorly.

Her widely praised 1951 best seller “The Sea Around Us” won her the U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer. It also provided her with financial security. She then wrote “Edge of the Sea” and reissued her first book “Under the Sea Wind” that also became a bestsellers. This amazing sea trilogy talks about ocean life in its entirety.

Rachel Carson Memorial at a Woods Hole park.

Rachel Carson Memorial at a Woods Hole park.

In the late 1950’s Ms. Carson started to devote all of her energies to conservation, with an emphasis on environmental problems. In 1962 she published “Silent Spring” the book that is widely credited with launching the environmental movement. Although “Silent Spring” was met with strong opposition from chemical companies, it inspired a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to the nationwide banning of DDT and other pesticides and inspired a grass roots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ms. Carson was awarded the presidential medal of Freedom by President Carter.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A

Cape Cod’s Stowe Room, A

Woods Hole is one of the villages of Falmouth and located a short drive from the Palmer House. While all of our rooms have their own individual charm, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room or the Emily Dickinson room. Both rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your adventures around Falmouth and Woods Hole.

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