Barbara Banker Kamar collection

September 18th, 2012 by Ann Morrissey

Barbara Banker was a 17 year old girl from Newton Highlands, Massachusetts who corresponded (sometimes daily) with her family when she began attending Mount Holyoke College in 1935.  The Maine Women Writers Collection has obtained almost 200 letters between Barbara and her family from the years 1935 through 1939 when she graduated.  The letters cover her concerns with clothes, boyfriends and expenses.  Even in the late 1930s, college expenses were difficult to meet.

Included in her materials is an information sheet from Mount Holyoke that explained available scholarships, loans, and various jobs that students could expect to find while attending Mount Holyoke.  It is sobering to see that unskilled work was paid at thirty cents and hour with typing work ranging “as high as fifty cents and hour.”

MWWC has an equally large collection of letters from Barbara Banker’s war years.  She joined the WACs in 1943 and was commissioned later that same year.  The WACs captivated the interest of our country at war and included in Banker’s materials is a Christmas Card printed especially for women in the WACs.  (Note that the card carried the original name of the WACs (The Women’s Army Corp) which was first known as the WAACs (The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp) until it was integrated into the regular Army in 1943.)

When the young recruits were first sent to Fort Devens in Massachusetts they were given a pre-filled post card to send home to their family.  It told them that the recruit had arrived in good health and that their first days in training would be very busy.  It then allowed the recruit to fill in their new address for letters from home.  Banker’s letters from her years in the WACs are full of her discovery of new places and new people.  She is very open about her fellow recruits and about the almost maddening Army procedures, the movies provided for them, and the array of social life that that the WACs had available to them.

Banker marries in 1946 to a career Army officer and the remaining letters in their collection are from her husband while stationed both in Korea and later back in Massachusetts.  Included below is a letter from her husband to their son.

Most summers were spent either in Maine and references to Maine are sprinkled through the entire 400 letters.  You are welcome to visit these facinating letters here at the MWWC.

Fall events sponsored by the MWWC

August 30th, 2012 by Cathleen Miller

We are excited to share a great line-up of lectures and events this fall, including our Donna M. Loring Lecture, which will feature Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe author and activist.  We hope to be collaborating once again with Maine Women Write to feature book clubs with authors, but we are awaiting details on those events.  We will keep you updated.

 

  

Joanne Dobson & Beverle Graves Myers
Face of the Enemy book launch
Thursday, September 20, 7 p.m.
Longfellow Books, Portland. Free/open to the public.

 

 

December 1941: America reels from the brutal attack on Pearl Harbor. Both patriotism and paranoia grip New York as the city frantically mobilizes for war. Nurse Louise Hunter is outraged when the FBI, in a midnight sweep of prominent Japanese residents,storms in to arrest her patient’s wife. The desperately ill Professor Oakley is married to Masako Fumi. The nurse vows to help the professor free Masako. But when the murdered body of Masako’s art dealer is discovered in the gallery where he’d been closing down her controversial show, Masako’s troubles multiply. Homicide detective Michael McKenna doubts her guilt, but an ambitious G-man schemes to lever the homicide and ensuing espionage accusations into a political cause celebre. Struggling to focus on one man’s murder while America plunges into a worldwide war, Louise and McKenna defy both racism and ham-fisted government agents in order to expose the real killer.

Face of the Enemy is a deft historical novel that offers characters to care about, an engrossing story, a believable setting — and a window into a too-often-ignored chapter in recent American history. Read it for any one of those elements, or all of them; you’ll be glad you did.” — SJ Rozan, Edgar-winning author of Ghost Hero

Joanne Dobson’s latest novel is Face of the Enemy, A New York in Wartime mystery (2012), written with Beverle Graves Myers.  She also writes the Professor Karen Pelletier mystery series from Doubleday and Poisoned Pen Press.   Quieter than Sleep won an Agatha nomination, the novels have been widely reviewed, and in 2001 the New York Library Association named her a Noted Author of the Year. Joanne has retired as a Fordham University English Professor.   www.joannedobson.com

Beverle Graves Myers made a mid-life career switch from psychiatry to full-time writing. A graduate of the University of Louisville with a BA in History and an MD, she worked at a public mental health clinic before her first Tito Amato novel was published in 2004.  Myers also writes short stories set in a variety of times and places. Her stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Woman’s World, and numerous anthologies. She has earned nominations for the Macavity Award, Kentucky Literary Award, and Derringer Award.  http://beverlegravesmyers.com

 

2012 Donna M. Loring Lecture
Winona LaDuke “Environmental Justice from a Native Perspective”
Thursday, November 8, 5:30 p.m.
Hannaford Hall, Abromson Center, 88 Bedford St., Portland Campus, USM.
Free/open to the public.

 

 

 

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) is an internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities with advanced degrees in rural economic development, LaDuke has devoted her life to protecting the lands and life ways of Native communities.

The US is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the world, and influences international policy. It turns out that Native American communities have the potential to generate up to one half of present US electrical consumption through producing power from the wind. This is the alternative to both military intervention into oil rich countries, and represents the potential for ecological sustainability. In recent years, LaDuke has been involved in moving tribal communities towards wind and alternative energy systems, and working with tribal and state governments to voluntarily meet the conditions of the Kyoto accord. She has published several articles on this topic and her lively and engaging presentations offer alternatives and a vision for the future.

In addition to numerous articles, LaDuke is the author of a number of non-fiction titles including All Our Relations, The Winona LaDuke Reader, Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming, Food is Medicine: Recovering Traditional Foods to Heal the People and her latest, The Militarization of Indian Country. She has also penned a work of fiction, Last Standing Woman, and a children’s book, In the Sugarbush.

Cosponsored with UNE Center for Global Humanities, Department of Environmental Studies, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity, Office of the Provost, Women’s and Gender Studies Program; and USM Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Women and Gender Studies.

 

 


Nicole Tonkovich “Performing the Fourth of July in Nez Perce Territory, 1885-1897”

Tuesday, Nov. 13, noon, St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library, Biddeford Campus.              Free/open to the public/lunch provided.

 

 

Making use of previously unknown archival sources, Fletcher’s letters, Gay’s photographs and journalistic accounts, oral tribal histories, and analyses of performances such as parades and verbal negotiations, Tonkovich assembles a masterful portrait of Nez Perce efforts to control their own future and provides a vital counternarrative of the allotment period, which is often portrayed as disastrous to Native polities.

Nicole Tonkovich is professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of The Allotment Plot: Alice C. Fletcher, E. Jane Gay, and Nez Perce Survivance. She is the coauthor of Trading Gazes: Euro-American Women Photographers and Native North Americans, 1880-1940 and the author of Domesticity with a Difference: The Nonfiction of Catharine Beecher, Sarah J. Hale, Fanny Fern, and Margaret Fuller.

Cosponsored with UNE Women’s and Gender Studies

 

Just the Thing: Recent Acquisitions at the MWWC

August 8th, 2012 by Catherine Fisher

“I am a Thing-finder, and when you’re a Thing-finder

you don’t have a minute to spare.”

Pippi Longstocking, in Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

 

Might you be, like Pippi, an avid collector? Is there a certain breed of stuff that you treasure, and thrill to whenever a fresh one of its kind falls into your grasp? A pristine addition to the classic stamp collection, maybe? A rare bit of Elvis memorabilia? How about fine art at an auction, or fridge magnets on vacation? Or maybe you’re one who likes to bag hurricanes, volcano eruptions, or 4,000-footers. Or maybe you just like BOOKS.

Even if you’re not one to stockpile anything in particular and your home looks more like a Zen temple than the thing-finder pad of Pippi Longstocking, still I’ll bet you can muster an imagining of what the collector’s thrill feels like. To capture and cherish something really special, and then share it with others who are equally (or even more) jazzed by it…it’s a happy pursuit that can be as much about the communion of the likewise-interested as it is about the treasured objects themselves.

Here at the Collection, collecting (and protecting) is, of course, a large part of what we do. And even though that’s the case, and has been so for over fifty years, adding new gems to it never gets old. It’s still delicious to slit the packing tape on a plain, cardboard shipping box, lift out a brown paper bundle, peel away its wrapper and release a beautiful book we’ve been expecting. Sometimes it’s old and rare, sometimes it’s fresh and new, and always it’s the one we’ve been waiting for.

And what could be even better? Picture this, if you will: It’s afternoon in our lovely, sunny space, and an author (or an author’s descendent, or agent) comes in and says, “I’ve got a bunch of boxes in the back of my car. Where should I park to bring them in?” Or, “It’s finally here! The book I was researching here last year finally came out this month. Here’s a copy for the Collection.” Or, someone arrives and announces, “We found these papers and notebooks in our barn. Would you be interested?” These are great moments. And equally as enjoyable is the visit to an author’s home to collect her papers, where we get to listen to her talk about her writing life, her home life, and her plans for her next chapter. Just yesterday we traveled to York where Rose Safran generously passed on to us the archive of her art-related journalism, unpublished book manuscripts, commercial work and teaching materials. What a stimulating morning!

Whether it’s books, notebooks, manuscripts or letters; photographs, memorabilia or all of the above; whether it’s by an author who’s well- or little-known, living or deceased; whether it’s a gift or a purchase acquired in person or by mail…new additions to the Collection always feel to me like the addition of fresh cells to the body, key pieces in assembling the whole of what we can and want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On display right now at the Collection are some of the items we’ve recently acquired, both manuscript material and books. Here is a brief synopsis, with hopes that you’ll visit and enjoy them for yourself.

Manuscript material and artist’s books

Theodora Kalikow

This new collection of professional papers of the recently-retired University of Maine, Farmington president, spanning 1974-2012, includes her scholarly articles, presentation papers and organization materials; published reviews and newspaper articles; correspondence; awards; interviews with Kalikow and a bound student thesis on her. Kalikow is taking over as the next president of the University of Southern Maine, just a day or two after her retirement from Farmington!

Rachel Carson

These additions to our Rachel Carson collection, dated 1951, 1962-1963, include correspondence between Carson and literary agent Joan Daves; a photograph of Carson by Erich Hartmann; 2 Carson postage stamps; a copy of her commencement address to Scripps College; and an exhibition catalogue.

Grace M. Calvert

A 1915 daily diary of Grace M. Calvert of Park Street in Portland has been added to our Manuscript Volumes collection, which includes diaries, ledgers and daybooks, copy books, scrapbooks, albums and other personal volumes of unpublished women writers of Maine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lael Morgan

Adding to the wealth of books and periodicals previously given by this journalist/photojournalist who has covered Alaska since the early 1960s, this extensive new acquisition contains over fifty years worth of clippings, notebooks, correspondence, sailing logs, book manuscripts, photographs, videos, slides and memorabilia, including her gold pan!

 

Sissy Buck

We acquired this beautiful artist’s book, She Tells Me, from Cumberland Foreside artist Buck along with another of hers entitled Scarlet Strawberry Runners (Angus). These join a third already in our collection, In Her Memory Garden.

 

Barbara Goodbody

We received Salutation to the Dawn as the generous gift of this Cumberland Foreside artist. The accordion fold book contains original text and eight vibrant photographs of the sunrise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katy Perry

A large amount of new material has been added to the collection of this Hallowell columnist and spans the years 1966-2012. Included are manuscripts and clippings of her articles in the Capital Weekly, Hallowell Register, Portland Press Herald and other publications.

 

Rose Marasco

Two framed photographs from Marasco’s “Domestic Objects” series have joined the sizable collection of her work already gracing our walls. We hope to follow the acquisition of Egg Diary and Sink Diary with more pieces from the series in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books

 

The earliest volume on display at the moment is the 1921 Journal of the Thirty-seventh Annual Convention of the Department of Maine Woman’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic at Portland, Maine, June 15 and 16. This slim book in a soft red paper cover records the general proceedings of the convention as well as the detailed reports given by various office holders, with a photograph of each woman accompanying her account.

 

 

Annette Vance Dorey’s Maine Mothers Who Murdered 1875-1925: Doing Time in State Prison explores the incarceration of 3 dozen female murderers in the Thomaston prison. Dorey, of the Androscoggin Historical Society and University of New Brunswick, presented on this topic at our Spring Academic Conference in March.

 

 

Red Nails, Black Skates: Gender, Cash, and Pleasures on and Off the Ice, by Erica Rand, Professor of Art and Visual Culture and of Women and Gender Studies at Bates College, is Rand’s depiction of her experience as a queer femme participating in the sport of ice skating, “a sport with heterosexual story lines and rigid standards for gender-appropriate costumes and moves.”

 

 

Maine Moderns: Art in Seguinland 1900-1940, is a beautiful book by Libby Bischof, assistant professor of history at the University of Southern Maine, and Susan Danly, curator of graphics, photography and contemporary art at the Portland Museum of Art. This companion piece to their show at the museum last September explains how forsaking New York pressures for summers on the coast of Maine influenced personally and artistically modern artists such as photographers Paul Strand and Gertrude Kasebier, painters Marsden Hartley and John Marin, sculptor Gaston Lachaise, and others.

 

Pionierin der Arktis: Josephine Pearys Reisen ins ewige Eis might not be destined for repeated use by visitors to the Collection given that it is in German, but it was very exciting for us to receive it in the mail one day, as its very personable author Cornelia Gerlach traveled from Germany to explore the Josephine Peary Collection at the MWWC for her research. We had such a great time with her.

 

 

Three books of poetry are included in the display, just a fraction of those we have added in the last six months. The language of Alicia Fuller’s Tenants is gritty and real as it comes up against and embraces daily life in all its raw imperfection; Drift: A Poem by Kirstin Hotelling Zona is a meeting of the pulsations of the earth body and the body human; and When No One is Looking, by Red Hawk pipik-w-ass (Carol Dana) paints the Indian Island experience of this Penobscot teacher, historian and conservator with both personal and universal strokes.

 

The three food-related books in the display add to the deliciousness factor of collecting in a more literal way. Baker’s Notes, published by the Scratch Baking Company in South Portland, discloses a few of their recipes and brings the reader into the warm, yeasty atmosphere of the bakery in the wee hours of the morning. Wilma Redman’s Neal Street Cookbook achieves a near-complete compilation of her old New England recipes that have stood the test of time and make one proud to be from around here. And Notes from a Maine Kitchen: Seasonally Inspired Recipes by Kathy Gunst is a literary cookbook that combines personal essays, recipes, cooking tips and foraging information. And in addition to some fun food activities, The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons by Amanda Blake Soule and Stephen Soule offers fresh, creative activities families can enjoy in harmony and connection with nature.

 

Of course, a display case and side table only allow us to exhibit a small sampling of the treasures that have been gathered into the Collection in recent months, but we’re always more than happy to pull out other precious gems from the archives and let them shine. Because after all, show and tell is definitely one of the best parts of thing-finding, don’t you think?

 

 

A Distinguished Family from Wiscasset

July 3rd, 2012 by Ann Morrissey

The Smith Family of Wiscasset Maine gained its prominence from Samuel Emerson Smith (1788-1860) who was both a Governor of Maine (1831-1833) and for many years the Chief Justice of the court of common pleas. Governor Smith had five sons, the fifth of which (Benjamin Fuller Smith) married into the Howard Family of Bangor Maine.

We here at the MWWC know the Howard family because it is the birth family of Blanche Willis Howard (1847-1898), a distinguished writer of the 19th Century.  It was her sister, Marion Louise Howard who married Benjamin Fuller Smith in 1866.  Marion Louise Howard Smith became the matriarch of the Wiscasset Smith family and is the major figure in the Smith Family papers – a collection of 260 files that give vivid glimpses into her life, the life of her actress daughter, her writer daughter-in-law and smaller stashes of materials from another daughter, her son and her second husband.

Marion Howard Smith’s (MHS, Series 1) papers are dominated by her letters to her four children.  She wrote to them almost daily during her tour of the Middle East and Europe and was particularly close to her second daughter who was an actress in New York City.  Besides her voluminous letters, MHS had a real interest in domestic finances and kept invoices for years.  We have 10 files of invoices just for the 1890s, — a good example would be the following invoice (note the price and the array of the items):

 

 

Marion’s second daughter was the actress, Marion Stuart Smith (MSS).  Her papers (Series 2) are distinguished both by her varied correspondence with family and friends, and her theatrical materials.  Given the array of family letters in her Mother’s collection, it is not surprising that MSS also kept up a feverish correspondence with her Mother and siblings; but she also had threatrical correspondence that give great panache to her letters. One of her gentlemen friends stated his love for her in four languages as you can see in the following letter:

MSS kept many theatre clippings associated with her friend actress Ada Reyhan. Pictured below is a Daly’s Theatre Programs that starred Ada Rehan as Rosalind in As You Like It with Miss Marion Stuart listed as one of the two Banished Duke’s Pages.

The third major Smith woman in our collection is Susan Smith (SS, Series 3).  She was the writer of 12 books before her early death at the age of 52.  She is described in the flyleaf of Made in America as “a woman who has had many years experience both as an editor on a magazine dealing with interior decoration called “Modes and Manners,” and in the interior decorating department at Wanamaker’s.”  Perhaps it was her business acumen that led her to write a series of books about the arts and crafts of different countries entitled Make in America, Make in Mexico …France, England, Germany and Austria and Sweden.

Susan Smith found a series of fine illustrators for her Made In … books, and showed the same attention to her novels.  Below is the cover page of 1931 The Glories of Venus which has drawings by the well known Latin American illustrator, Jose Clemente Orozco.

The Smith Family papers are completed with files from three other family members.  MHS had a second daughter, Christine Louise, who apparently was an invalid in Europe and died there in 1902.  Much of Christine Louise’s correspondence can be found in her Mother’s (MHS) correspondence, in the correspondence of both her sister (MSS) and her brother (Harold Emerson Smith).  There is also a number of files from the second husband of MHS, Henry Mellen Prentiss.  Henry wrote many warm friendly letters to MHS before and after their wedding in 1901.

And finally there are files from MHS’s son and the husband of SS (Harold Emerson Smith) who was a supporter of his wife’s writing and did illustrations for her three act play, The Honey in the Rock.  We have included here his 1897 employment application for the Long Island Railroad to show that things have not changed much in the last 115 years concerning the questions that employers ask.

 

New Rachel Carson Acquisitions

May 16th, 2012 by Catherine Fisher

This month Curator Cathleen Miller purchased five items to add to the small (but growing!) Rachel Carson manuscript collection at the MWWC. Three of the acquisitions originate around the time of the September, 1962, publication of Carson’s Silent Spring, her groundbreaking book that documented in detail for the first time the effects of pesticides and insecticides on the natural world. As 2012 marks the fiftieth anniversary of this work, which is widely credited with giving birth to the environmental movement in this country and around the world, we are particularly excited to make these items available for research here at the collection.

Already in our collection…

In adding to the professional portrait of Carson in our holdings, these new acquisitions lend balance to the more personal items of correspondence from that period that we already have, dating from 1963 to 1964 and contained in the Elizabeth Coatsworth collection. These intimate letters and notes from Carson to Maine poet and novelist Coatsworth and Coatsworth’s husband Henry Beston have given insight into the last months of Carson’s life (she died on April 14, 1964), showing her determination to keep moving despite being treated for the bone cancer that made her joints ache and walking difficult:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then, shortly after Carson’s death her longtime friend Dorothy Freeman wrote to Coatsworth and Beston:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, adding the professional to the personal…

It was just about a year before the earliest of these letters that Carson’s Silent Spring had been published and she was caught in an infamous media storm and chemical industry backlash. In June of 1962, before the September release of Silent Spring, Carson delivered the commencement address at Scripps College in Claremont, California. The date coincided with the publication in the New Yorker of the first of three articles excerpted from the forthcoming book and her speech, entitled “Of Man and the Stream of Time,” emphasized many of the same issues and ideas put forth in Silent Spring. Our newly acquired copy of this address, published by the Scripps College Bulletin, is accompanied by a signed note signed from Carson to one of her literary agents, Joan Daves, on Carson’s personal West Southport, Maine, stationery, indicating she was sending it along for copyright registration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the speech, Carson says to the young graduates of that women’s college:

“Man has long talked somewhat arrogantly about the conquest of nature…now he has the power to achieve his boast. It is our misfortune–it may well be our final tragedy–that this power has not been tempered with wisdom, but has been marked by irresponsibility; that there is all too little awareness that man is part of nature, and that the price of conquest may well be the destruction of man himself.”

A page from each the foreword by Frederick Hard, Scripps College President, and the speech itself:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second item from that period that we have added to the collection is a photographer’s print of the iconic photograph of Carson taken by Erich Hartmann in Southport, Maine, in the spring of 1962. Posing for the jacket portrait that would accompany her serious warning to humankind, Carson leans against a dead tree, wearing binoculars, with her hands in her pockets, looking at the camera with what seems a confident gravity. Together with this photograph we acquired two 17 cent Rachel Carson postage stamps, bearing an illustrated version of the same Hartmann image and issued in 1981 as part of the Great Americans series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same Hartmann image shown above also is used on the cover of our third acquisition from that period, a pamphlet for an exhibition that took place at the Patten Free Library in Bath, Maine, the following year, August 19 to September 20, 1963. The inner two pages reprint “The Enduring Sea” from Carson’s The Edge of the Sea (published in 1955), and the rear cover has a full page of biographical notes. Our copy of this pamphlet is especially interesting as it has two handwritten corrections made in ink to Carson’s list of honors, possibly made by Carson herself and passed along to her longtime friend and agent, Joan Daves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But a decade earlier…

As exciting as these new acquisitions from 1962-1963 are, perhaps even more intriguing are the earlier items Cathleen purchased: two pieces of 1950-51 correspondence from Carson to the aforementioned literary agent Joan Daves, who was the professional partner of Carson’s primary agent, Marie Rodell. Exciting on the face of it, these additions turn out to be even more interesting than one might gather at first glance because of the bit of professional drama at which they hint.

In 1950, Carson was working as a marine biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Woods Hole, MA, getting ready to publish her second book, The Sea Around Us. In her biography entitled, Rachel Carson: The Life of the Author of Silent Spring (available at the Maine Women Writers Collection), Linda Lear describes the story of a project idea hatched by Carson but never brought to fruition. Fascinated by a collection of illustration plates housed in the Fish and Wildlife Service Library created in Mexico by American ornithologist, illustrator and artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Carson had the idea to create a catalog of the images and write an extended introduction to the book. Carson described the project to Daves’ professional partner, agent Marie Rodell, who agreed it was a good idea. She then solicited and received support from the Fish and Wildlife Service, but soon discovered that permissions from the Fuertes estate to reproduce the illustrations and payment for the rights were required. Carson contacted Fuertes’ daughter, Mary Fuertes Boynton, and all seemed good at first until, as Linda Lear explains,

“By winter of 1950, Mary Fuertes Boynton, the painter’s daughter and heir, had made it clear she intended to play a larger part in the project than Carson had anticipated. Carson’s efforts to clarify ownership of the paintings and her use of Fuertes’s correspondence to describe the context of each one had apparently alarmed Boynton, who now planned a biography of her father.”

This brings us to the first piece of correspondence from Rachel Carson to Joan Daves that we acquired from this time, a handwritten 1950 Christmas greeting card in which Carson refers to this shift, saying, “It seems there are many difficulties to be straightened out in the Fuertes matter, but perhaps something will come of it, after all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But hopes for this project were to unravel even further for Carson, as Lear explains:

“At the end of March (1951), Rachel had written Mary Boynton that Harper had agreed to publish the Fuertes bird paintings in the fall of 1952. Boynton unexpectedly replied that she had decided to edit the book herself since she no longer considered Carson the best choice of author or editor because she had not known Fuertes…

“Boynton not only fired Carson from a project she had initiated but had the audacity to write Carson’s boss, Fish and Wildlife Director Dr. Albert Day, informing him of her decision to remove Carson. Boynton gave no other reason for her change of heart except to quote the opinion of one of her father’s ornithologist friends, George Sutton, who had asked, ‘What does Carson know either about Fuertes or about birds?’

“Rachel was furious. On April 3 she responded to Boynton.

‘It is too bad you have waited until now to make your true position known. The choice of an author for any such book is seldom determined by the desires or willingness of prospective writers to undertake it, and in this instance the decision is in the hands of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the publishers. I do not feel that further discussion of this subject between you and me will serve any useful purpose.’

This brings us to our second piece of newly acquired correspondence from Carson to Daves, a typewritten, signed letter dated July 30, 1951. In it Carson describes her early discussion of the plates with Boynton and refers to what has become now an ongoing conflict, saying, “If Mrs. Boynton does publish her book, she will undoubtedly use some illustrations from her father’s work, but that doesn’t seem to be anything to be concerned about.”

In this letter Carson sounds unworried, but the way Lear describes it, as the controversy wore on Carson was loath to let the matter rest:

“…Rachel was stunned by Boynton’s inexplicable change of mind. She despised personal confrontations, but she was angry, too, and stood her ground, refusing to abandon the book…Considering all the pressures on Carson with the imminent publication of The Sea Around Us, her pending leave of absence [for a Guggenheim fellowship], and the need to begin work on the shore guide, it would have been simpler if she had walked away from the Fuertes project. But Boynton’s insinuations insulted Carson’s reputation as a naturalist and a professional writer…The controversy with Boynton and the Fuertes estate dragged on until February 1953, at which point Carson bowed out. The Fish and Wildlife Service continued adjudicating its interest in the paintings, but by then Carson was committed to other more important literary efforts. In the end, the primary reason Rachel dropped the Fuertes book was her personal distaste for any further dealings with Mary Boynton.”

 The references made to the Fuertes project in these two new additions to our Rachel Carson collection hint intriguingly enough at the matter to prompt one to dig a bit for the more complex story behind them. Illumination of this professional conflict sheds important light on the character of Carson at this early stage in her literary and ecology career, showing a strength and determination that would serve her in her personal health battles and see her through conflict on a much larger professional scale, with the eventual publication of Silent Spring.