Women’s Power | Women’s Justice


This week’s Theme Thursday features another woman whose works were attacked when tSilent_Spring_First_Edhey were made public, but were praised after reports generated by men upheld her claims. Taking four years to complete, Silent Spring documented the dangers of pesticides and herbicides, showed the long-lasting presence of toxic chemicals in water and on land, and concluded that DDT and other pesticides, after entering the food chain, caused cancer and genetic damage after building up in the body.

The evidence presented Rachel Carson’s book initiated an attack on her from the agricultural chemical industry, calling the book everything from “sinister” and “hysterical” to “bland,” but the public’s concern was raised. Then President John F. Kennedy read the book and ordered an advisory committee to examine Carson’s findings. The report upheld the findings presented in the book, and in 1963 the US Senate opened an investigation of pesticides.

  1. IWU owns a first edition of this work–it is part of a larger collection with strengths in local environmental organizations(see descriptions at https://www.iwu.edu/library/archives/enviro-studies.html.

    Anyone can use these collections by stopping in at Tate Archives & Special Collections on the library’s 4th floor! Questions? Contact Meg Miner (x1538 or mminer@iwu.edu)!

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