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Andrews, Eliza Frances (10 August 1840–21 January 1931), author and educator, was born at Haywood Plantation near Washington, Georgia, the daughter of Garnett Andrews, a judge and planter, and Annulet Ball. After attending the Ladies’ Seminary in Washington, Georgia, Andrews, often known as “Fanny,” was, in 1857, one of the first students to receive an A.B. degree at LaGrange Female College in LaGrange, Georgia....

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Rachel Carson Speaking before the Senate Government Operations subcommittee studying pesticide spraying, 1963. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111207).

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Carson, Rachel Louise (27 May 1907–14 April 1964), writer and scientist, was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Robert Warden Carson, a salesman, and Maria Frazier McLean, a teacher. Her father was never successfully employed. He sold real estate and insurance and worked for the local public utility company. Her mother, who had had the benefit of a fine education at the Washington Female Seminary, was an avid naturalist and passed on her deep respect for the natural world and her love of literature to her daughter. Mother and daughter, who never married, lived together almost continuously until Maria Carson died in 1958....

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Cooper, Susan Augusta Fenimore (17 April 1813–31 December 1894), writer, was born at Heathcote Hill in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York, the daughter of the novelist James Fenimore Cooper and Susan Augusta DeLancey. The Cooper family members were devoted to one another, and the parents saw to it that each child received a fine education. Susan had tutors, attended private schools, spoke and read four languages, and studied American and English literature and history, as well as zoology and botany. She was also skillful in music, drawing, and dancing. She once danced in a great Parisian house to waltzes played by Chopin and Liszt while the hired musicians were eating their dinner....

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Doubleday, Neltje de Graff (23 October 1865–21 February 1918), natural history writer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Liverius de Graff, owner of a men’s clothing store, and Alice Fair. She attended St. John’s School in New York City and the Misses Masters’ School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. In 1885 her family moved to Plainfield, New Jersey. On 9 June 1886 she married ...

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Douglas, Marjory Stoneman (07 April 1890–14 May 1998), author and environmentalist, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Florence Lillian Trefethen Stoneman, who went by the name of Lillian, and Frank Bryant Stoneman, a businessman and newspaper editor. When Marjory was three her father's business failed, and the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Further business reverses took a toll on Lillian Stoneman's mental health and resulted in a nervous breakdown. Not long thereafter, Lillian separated from her husband and, with her six-year-old daughter, traveled to Taunton, Massachusetts, to live with her parents and unmarried sister....

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Eifert, Virginia S. (23 January 1911–16 June 1966), writer, was born in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of Ernest Snider, a building engineer for the Elks Club, and Felicie Cottet. As a child Eifert was fascinated by wildlife. She spent much time outdoors, especially in Springfield’s Washington Park, and read nature books by such authors as ...

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Herrick, Sophia McIlvaine Bledsoe (26 March 1837–09 October 1919), editor and writer, was born in Gambier, Ohio, the daughter of Albert Taylor Bledsoe, a lawyer and professor of mathematics, and Harriet Coxe. Sophia, or Sophie, grew up in Springfield, Illinois, where her father practiced law, and in Mississippi and Virginia, where he taught at the state universities. She was educated at boarding schools in Cincinnati and Dayton. In 1860 she married James Burton Herrick, an Episcopal clergyman, and moved with him to New York City. Between 1862 and 1865 Sophia and James had three children. In 1868 they separated, and Sophia and the children moved to Baltimore to join her father, who had served as assistant secretary of war in the Confederate government....

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Miller, Harriet Mann (25 June 1831–25 December 1918), author and naturalist, known by the pseudonym Olive Thorne Miller, was born in Auburn, New York, the daughter of Seth Hunt Mann, a banker, and Mary Field Holbrook. During her youth she lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri and was educated in private schools....

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Neal, Marie Catherine (07 December 1889–06 June 1965), botanist and author, was born in Southington, Connecticut, the daughter of Linus B. Neal, a banker, and Eva W. Chedney. As a girl, she went on hunting and fishing excursions with her father, discovering in nature her future life’s work. Neal’s interest in plant life was heightened by her first course in botany at Smith College, from which she graduated in 1912 with a B.A. degree. She had worked in college as a secretary for Travelers Insurance Company and the Connecticut Children’s Aid Society. Upon graduation, she became a secretary in the geology department at Yale, working for Herbert E. Gregory. She moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1920 to continue her work for Gregory, after his appointment as director of the Bishop Museum. Neal was placed as research assistant in the museum’s conchology department in the division devoted to the study of mollusks, as there were no museum openings in botany. She worked there for ten years from 1920 to 1930. In 1923 Neal cataloged 200,000 terrestrial mollusks and in 1928 coauthored with Henry A. Pilsbry and C. Montague Cooke, Jr., a monograph titled “Land Snails from Hawaii, Christmas Island and Samoa.” While completing these tasks, she continued to pursue her botany studies, made an extensive botanical collecting trip to New Zealand, and completed her master’s thesis in marine algae of Hawaii, obtaining her master’s degree from Yale in 1925. Her articles written in this period for the ...

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Sinclair, Isabella McHutcheson (1840–1890), author and illustrator, was born near Stirling, Scotland. William and Isabella Phelps McHutcheson are believed to be her parents, and her father was employed by the Inland Revenue Service. He is thought to have been the brother of Elizabeth McHutcheson Sinclair, the matriarch who bought the Hawaiian island of Niihau with her sons in 1864. The William McHutcheson family migrated in 1861 from Scotland to Canterbury, New Zealand, probably to live near the family of Elizabeth Sinclair (widowed in 1846), who had originally settled at Pigeon Bay in 1843. Private tutoring offered Isabella McHutcheson a gentlewoman’s education and developed her early-recognized artistic abilities. She was well versed in the lore of the Maoris and understood their knowledge of flowering New Zealand plants....

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Stratton-Porter, Gene (17 August 1863–06 December 1924), novelist and nature writer, was born in Wabash County, Indiana, the daughter of Mark Stratton, a prosperous farmer and licensed Methodist minister, and Mary Shallenberger. Christened Geneva Grace Stratton, she later changed her name to Gene. At an early age and with her father’s encouragement, she developed an interest in nature and roamed in the woods, collecting Indian artifacts and gathering bird feathers, moths, and butterflies. When she was not quite twelve, her mother died. Gene was taught to read and write by her older siblings (she was the last of twelve children), and she attended rural schools until age eleven....

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Mabel Osgood Wright. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102414).

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Wright, Mabel Osgood (26 January 1859–16 July 1934), naturalist and author, was born in New York City, the daughter of Samuel Osgood, a Unitarian minister, and Ellen Haswell Murdock. Her father, a member of William Cullen Bryant’s literary circle, was the pastor of the Church of the Messiah in New York City from 1849 to 1869, after which he entered the Episcopal ministry. ...