Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman were friends for the remaining
12 years of Carson's life (before she died of breast cancer)
Were they lesbians?  Who knows...  Dorothy was apparently happily
married to a man, Stanley Freeman, but she also expressed great love for Rachel in her letters. Virginia Woolf was also married, as were other lesbians from history who had to conform to the 'standard' of the day. 

In a recent book, Always Rachel: the letters of Rachel Carson
and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964, an intimate portrait of a 
remarkable friendship (edited by Martha Freeman [Dorothy's 
granddaughter and published by Beacon Press), the editor tells of
Rachel and Dorothy burning some of their letters to each other
(Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickock did the same, to hide their
love from a homophobic world that prosecuted gays.)  The editor
even states, "A few comments in early letters indicate that 
Rachel and Dorothy were initially cautious about the romantic 
tone and terminology of their correspondence.  I believe this 
caution prompted their destruction of some letters within the 
first two years of their friendship..." (p. xvi)

The editor also tells that that Dorothy and Rachel often wrote 2 
letters, mailed together, sometimes in separate envelopes.  One 
for sharing and the other just between the two women.  The public 
letters were often addressed "Dearest" and the private letters 
"Darling".

The sharing of letters with Dorothy's husband Stanley is even 
discussed.  " Rachel wrote that she did not object to Dorothy's 
desire to share a private letter with her husband Stanley: "'And 
darling, I hope I made it clear in my little note that I was so 
glad you read him the letter- or parts of it.  I want him 
to know what you mean to me.' This episode in the correspondence 
reveals that Stanley Freeman recognized and supported their love 
and was supported in turn by their friendship... Rachel and 
Stanley developed their own relationship around photography of 
seashore life." p. xviii 


Excerpts from The Letters:

Jan. 1, 1954
"...As I told you, you were always with me when I wakened in the 
night- and I did often, not being a very good train sleeper- and 
always the sense of your presense, and of your sweet tenderness, 
and love was very real to me.  And I wondered if perhaps, in the 
same sense, I stayed in West Bridgewater that night.  You don't 
need to answer that, for I think I know.

And let me say again how truly perfect it all was.  Reality can 
so easily fall short of hopes and espectations, especially where 
they have been high.  I do hope that for you, as they truly are 
for me, the memories of Wednesday are completely uncloded by any 
sense of disappointment, or of hopes unrealized.  And as for you, 
my dear one, there is not a single thing about you that I would 
change if I could!  Once written, that seems an odd thing to say; 
I am trying to express my complete and overflowing happiness in 
the whole thing!

I have always loved these lines of Keats' and how they keep 
coming into my mind as describing the feeling that exitsts 
between us:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams.

I am certain, my dearest, that it will be forever a joy, of 
increasing loveliness with the years, and that in the intervals 
when being separated, we cannont have all the happiness of 
Wednesday, there will be, in each of our hearts, a little oasis 
of peace and "sweet dreams" where the other is." p. 15

"My darling [Dorothy},
Now I have read the letter that only you could have written.  I 
waited until we could be alone together on the train, and it has 
been sweet to have you traveling with me... Darling, if one can 
assume anything so unthinkable as to suppose I did not know why I 
had dedicated the book to you,your letter would make it all 
clear.  It is because there is no one else like you in my life- 
now or ever.  As only you could, you summed up in the pages of 
your note all the sweetness and joy and deep happiness of the 
past two years and made me feel it all again in its fresh and 
delicate beauty.  The one thing I wish today above all else is 
that as the years pass we may never come to take for granted this 
beautiful sympathy and udnerstanding that exist between us, but 
may always feel their shining wonder as we do today.

For me- and I think for you too- it is set apart from all other 
experience.  No one but you, darling, has ever expressed such 
lovely thoughts so beautifully as you have in your letters and in 
some of the precious moments we have had together in the woods or 
by the shore or under the night sky.  And who but you would care 
so deeply as to wish to know what I am doing each hour of every 
day?  When I read that in a recent letter- though it is not a new 
thought between us- it somehow touched me very deeply and made me 
wonder if I could ever express to you the warmth and joy that 
come with knowing you do care that much.  And I am sure you must 
know there is a returning flood of love as deep and lasting...

Now, darling I must close.  In a few hours I am to see you.  I 
hope and believe it will be a happy party.  I know our little 
private celebration tomorrow with be happy.

Goodnight, dearest, I shall be thinking of you as you read this. 
 You know I love you deeply and tenderly- and all ways! -Rachel"
p. 124-125

"Oh darling [Dorothy],
Can you understand what it meant to me to have you take me into 
your heart as you did in that letter?  I think perhaps you can if 
you will think about it and that should erase any possible 
lingering regret that you did write and did sent that letter: To 
be chose as the one to whom another feels she can communicate 
something so intimate, so sacred, so intangible that it is most 
difficult to express, is a very wonderful expeience, deraest, and 
makes me both deeply glad and humble.  It was the first thing 
that came to my mind when I opened my eyes this morning.  Please 
don't insist that the letter go into the Strong box (code word 
for destroying it) darling- atleast not immediately.  It is very 
precious and wonderful- containing, or implying so much that is 
uniquely You- so many of the qualities that make me love you so 
dearly.  Of course your deep sensitivity is one of that.  It is 
not always a comfortable quality to possess, I know, but perhaps 
its rewards- the awareness of so much that is unnoticed and 
unappreciated by all but a few- and compensation.

Last night on the train I told you I had such a strong sense of 
coming home to you.  And how much of you I found! Darling!

Looking back over what I've written, I don't seem to be saying 
all that I want to say, nor to be able to find words to do so.  
Perhaps for now it is enough to say that everything in your 
letter- your insight into the deeper meanings of the book, your 
response to the music, and your transfer of those emotions to 
your own personal situation- all make me love you even more 
deeply and tenderly than ever, if possible.  And I am so glad I 
am to be with you so soon.

Now I must go, darling.  My dearest love -Rachel" (p.178)


"Oh darling [Dorothy],
It was so wonderful to feel last night that you might be with me 
soon.  I do need you so... of course I long to show you the house 
and talk over plans for it.  It is such a big thing in my life 
that it has grieved me not to have you part of it.  But there are 
so many other reasons why I need you and want you!  Oh please do 
say you'll come!  And stay just as long as you can!  I love you 
dearly, Rachel" p. 228

"My darling [Dorothy],
It surely seems some Voice must have spoken to me this morning, 
telling me to call you...Darling, please don't ever feel you 
should withhold such news from me even if I'm sick.  I want to 
know, always.

Oh, you poor precious, I am so, so sorry.  My heart aches for 
you...When you were talking this morning I was longing to put my 
arms around you and feel your head on my shoulder.  If only I 
could go to you.  But I know you understand my own health doesn't 
allow me to...and to your darling, my dearest, truest love 
-Rachel" p. 300

"My darling [Dorothy],
You could not have wished for- or dreamed of- anything lovelier 
than the great box of freesias that arrived early this morning! 
They are a wonderful golden yellow- much like the color of those 
I raised- and each stalk is laden with perfect bells, and with so 
many buds I know I shall have them for many days.  And all as 
dewy fresh as though they had just come from someone's springtime 
garden.  I'm so glad they waited for these to come it!  Darling, 
it was sweet and dear of you to do this.  It brings you very 
close.

If only I could talk to you every night now while you are so 
alone.  Even while we're talking I feel so helpless and aware 
that I can't really do anything for you and I long to so 
desperately.  I do wish there was someone there who could give 
you understanding and comfort... I love you dearly and tenderly 
and I'm so sorry.  -Rachel" p. 300

"Darling [Dorothy], 
Just an extra word or two before I mail this.  I have not really 
told you since our return how it warmed my heart to be with you 
again in your home, even for so short a time.  It closed the long 
gap of years since I have been there.  And I, too, loved the few 
moments we had all to ourselves."
p. 309


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