Tag Archives: Science/Nature

Murphy, Robert Cushman

MURPHY, ROBERT CUSHMAN (1887-1973). Born in Brooklyn, Robert Cushman Murphy graduated from Brown University in 1911. The following year he married Grace E. Barstow and embarked on the whaler Daisy for the South Atlantic. A naturalist nominally in search of Continue reading & text links

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Safina, Carl

SAFINA, CARL (1955-). Carl Safina is a biologist, author, activist, and educator. Born on May 23, 1955, in Brooklyn, NY, Safina spent his childhood fishing, breeding pigeons, and playing music. In high school, he participated in a bird-banding survey on Continue reading & text links

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Yang, Jeffrey

by Jaehyun Jeong (2015) YANG, JEFFREY (1974-) Jeffrey Yang is an American poet, translator, and editor best known for his books of poetry An Aquarium (2008) and Vanishing-Line (2011). Born in Escondido, California, Yang attended the University of California San Diego. With an initial interest Continue reading & text links

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Williams, William Carlos

WILLIAMS, WILLIAM CARLOS (1883-1963). Although modern poet, novelist, and essayist William Carlos Williams once said that all of his art came out of the work-yard of his lifelong home in Rutherford, New Jersey, where he practiced medicine, that is not Continue reading & text links

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Wilkes, Charles

WILKES, CHARLES (1798-1877). Charles Wilkes was an American naval officer, hydrographer, and writer. He commanded the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838 to 1842, wrote its five-volume Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition (1844), edited the expedition’s eighteen scientific volumes, Continue reading & text links

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Warner, William W.

WARNER, WILLIAM W[HITESIDES]. (1920-2008). Naturalist-author William W. Warner was born in New York City. From 1944 to 1946, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, and was awarded a Navy Commendation Continue reading & text links

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Walcott, Derek

WALCOTT, DEREK [ALTON] (1930-2017). Winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in literature, Derek Walcott identifies in his life and work two primary inspirations: the Caribbean Sea and his mixed-race heritage. Born and raised in the harbor city of Castries, St. Continue reading & text links

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Vukelich, George

VUKELICH, GEORGE (1927-1995). “[I]t was good to be on the Great Lakes,” wrote George Vukelich in 1955 to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal, after a spell as an ore boat deckhand. This sentiment pervades much of his work, including Continue reading & text links

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Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.

VONNEGUT, KURT, JR (1922-2007). Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis but soon moved east, eventually settling in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1951, where he lived for twenty years. His essay “Brief Encounters on the Inland Waterway” (first pub. in Venture Continue reading & text links

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Vollmann, William T.

VOLLMANN, WILLIAM T[ANNER]. (1959- ). William T. Vollmann’s very ambitious project is a seven-novel series entitled Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes, which interweaves history, myth and legend, imagination, illustrations, and personal travel experience to chronicle the “symbolic Continue reading & text links

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Thoreau, Henry David

THOREAU, HENRY DAVID (1817-1862). Henry David Thoreau is most often associated with his birthplace and home, Concord, Massachusetts, and the woods, ponds, and streams in the vicinity of the town. But he frequently made excursions to other places, and often Continue reading & text links

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Thaxter, Celia Laighton

THAXTER, CELIA [LAIGHTON] (1835-1894). Celia Thaxter was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Thomas and Eliza Laighton, who moved to the Isles of Shoals, nine miles off the coast of New Hampshire, when Celia was five years old. They eventually Continue reading & text links

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Steinbeck, John

by Susan F. Beegel (2000) STEINBECK, JOHN [ERNST] (1902-1968). John Steinbeck, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in literature, was born in Salinas, California. As a child, he divided his time between his family’s home in the rich agricultural land of Continue reading & text links

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Sobel, Dava

By Marija Miklavčič (2020) SOBEL, DAVA (1947 – ). Dava Sobel grew up in the Bronx, NY, and received her college degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. A journalist and science writer, Sobel has written six Continue reading & text links

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Snyder, Gary

SNYDER, GARY [SHERMAN] (1930- ). Born in San Francisco, Gary Snyder grew up among the forests, mountains, and shores of the Pacific Northwest. A graduate of Reed College (1951), Snyder first went to sea during the summer of 1948 and Continue reading & text links

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Siegel, Robert Harold

SIEGEL, ROBERT HAROLD (1939-2012). Growing up in the Midwest, Robert Harold Siegel also spent time on Long Island’s Jones Beach, cruised the Caribbean, and sailed and whale-watched off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and California. His Whalesong trilogy is Continue reading & text links

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Rudloe, Jack

RUDLOE, JACK [J.] (1943- ). Born in New York, Jack Rudloe moved to Florida as a boy and began his self-education as a marine biologist. In 1964 he founded the Gulf Coast Specimen Company of Panacea, Florida, which collects marine Continue reading & text links

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Ricketts, Edward F.

RICKETTS, EDWARD F[LANDERS]. (1897-1948). Edward F. Ricketts, marine biologist and ecologist, was John Steinbeck’s collaborator on Sea of Cortez (1941) and the model for “Doc,” protagonist of Steinbeck’s Monterey novels Cannery Row (1945) and Sweet Thursday (1954), and for “Friend Continue reading & text links

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Oliver, Mary

OLIVER, MARY (1935-2019). A popular and highly acclaimed American poet, recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Mary Oliver composed numerous lyric poems set on coastal Cape Cod. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Oliver began writing poems Continue reading & text links

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Kolbert, Elizabeth

KOLBERT, ELIZABETH (1961-) Born in New York City, Elizabeth Kolbert is a preeminent literary journalist and author. After graduating from Yale University with a degree in literature in 1983, Kolbert studied at the Universität Hamburg in Germany on a Fulbright Continue reading & text links

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Moore, Marianne

MOORE, MARIANNE [CRAIG] (1887-1972). A member of the generation of poets that included T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore was highly regarded by her contemporaries for poetry that was metrically unique and that characteristically subjected Continue reading & text links

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Metcalf, Paul

METCALF, PAUL [CUTHBERT] (1917-1999). Since his three-volume Collected Works was published (1996-1998), Paul Metcalf’s writings are widely available. He is probably best understood as a member of the Black Mountain group; although he never attended that experimental North Carolina college, Continue reading & text links

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McNally, Terrence

McNALLY, TERRENCE (1938-2020). Terrence McNally’s seriocomic dramas have won him acclaim as one of the most prolific playwrights of the 1990s, one particularly interested in the representation of gay men. Along with other dramatists who portray the healing and redemptive Continue reading & text links

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Matthiessen, Peter

MATTHIESSEN, PETER (1927-2014). New York-born Peter Matthiessen has borne the double titles of author and naturalist since the beginning of his professional writing career. Son of an architect father who was also a trustee of the National Audubon Society, Matthiessen Continue reading & text links

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Little, George

Life on the Ocean, or Twenty Years at Sea (1843) Continue reading & text links

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Jeffers, Robinson

JEFFERS, [JOHN] ROBINSON (1887-1962). Robinson Jeffers, best known for his verse narratives set on California’s rugged northern coast, was born in Pennsylvania. In 1903 he moved with his family to Los Angeles and entered Occidental College, where he studied geology, Continue reading & text links

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Higginson, Thomas Wentworth

HIGGINSON, THOMAS WENTWORTH (1823-1911). This Harvard graduate and versatile man of letters felt at home in water from his early childhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While ministering to the Unitarian church at Newburyport, Massachusetts, he then formed friendships on the Isles Continue reading & text links

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Eiseley, Loren

EISELEY, LOREN C[OREY]. (1907-1977). Loren C. Eiseley, anthropologist, educator, and author, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He collected fossils as a child and began speculating on the evolution of humankind and the universe. His early books, The Immense Journey (1957) Continue reading & text links

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Earle, Sylvia

EARLE, SYLVIA ALICE. (1935-  ). Marine biologist, ocean conservationist, underwater explorer, and author Sylvia Earle wrote in The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s Are One (2009): “Even if you never have the chance to see or touch Continue reading & text links

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Dana, Richard Henry, Jr.

DANA, RICHARD HENRY, JR. (1815-1882). Son of a genteel poet and member of a prominent Boston family, Richard Henry Dana Jr. gained literary fame by turning his back on his Brahmin upbringing, sailing aboard a merchant vessel, and subsequently describing Continue reading & text links

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Carson, Rachel

CARSON, RACHEL [LOUISE] (1907-1964). Though Rachel Carson’s fame as an environmental writer rests on the warnings about pesticide pollution in her last book, Silent Spring (1962), her previous three books on the sea established her reputation. Under the Sea Wind: A Naturalist’s Picture Continue reading & text links

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Calvin, Jack

CALVIN, JACK (1901-1985). Jack Calvin was well acquainted with the Pacific coast from Monterey north. His first two novels, Square-Rigged (1929) and Fisherman 28 (1930), are based on his experience sailing from San Francisco to the Bering Sea. After leaving his position as a Continue reading & text links

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Bowditch, Nathaniel

BOWDITCH, NATHANIEL (1773-1838). Mathematician, navigator, and astronomer, Nathaniel Bowditch authored the book that since 1802 has been the standard reference for celestial navigators worldwide. Schooled only to age ten, Bowditch taught himself mathematics and several foreign languages in the course Continue reading & text links

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Beston, Henry

BESTON [SHEAHAN], HENRY (1888-1968). Born Henry Boston Sheahan in Quincy, Massachusetts, Henry Beston is the author of about a dozen books, including The Outermost House. A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod (1928). In 1925 Beston built a Continue reading & text links

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Benchley, Peter

BENCHLEY, PETER [BRADFORD] (1940-2006). Born in New York City, Peter Benchley earned a B.A. at Harvard in 1961 and took up a career in travel writing, journalism, and government. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1962 to Continue reading & text links

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Beebe, William

BEEBE, WILLIAM [CHARLES] (1877-1962). William Beebe was born in Brooklyn and attended Columbia University, where he earned his B.S. in 1898. He led more than sixty scientific expeditions, many of them intentionally maritime. Influenced especially by the writings of Jules Continue reading & text links

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Barth, John

BARTH, JOHN [SUMMONS] (1930- ). There is a great deal of water in the fiction of John Barth, as one would expect of a writer who was born in Cambridge on the eastern shore of Maryland, was educated at Johns Continue reading & text links

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