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Chatham University Rachel Carson Institute Records

Identifier: 2019.005

Scope and Contents

The Rachel Carson Institute Records includes documentation of the Institute’s administrative and outreach programing dating from 1986 – 2012.  All materials relate to the Institute’s mission to spread the environmental message of Rachel Carson, member of the Chatham class of 1929. Material types include: documents, reports, program flyers, event brochures, curriculum outlines, photographs, and a placard. Files pertaining to the Institute’s records on operating plans, monthly payroll, energy bills; budgets and expense reports including the Environmental Studies Department’s budget for the 2002 – 2003 fiscal year.


  • created: 1986-2008, 2011-2012


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access. The records are open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Biographical or Historical Information

Chartered on December 11, 1869 by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, the Pennsylvania Female College was initiated by Reverend William Trimble Beatty and several members of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church with the intention of providing “for young ladies what colleges of the first class accomplish for young men.” The campus was situated in the affluent Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in a building that held the previous distinction of being the largest private residence in Allegheny County.  A Board of Trustees which included Rev. Beatty and several members of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, led the selection of college administrators and the development of college curriculum aiming to “furnish [students] the means of a thorough, well-proportioned and liberal education adapted to their wants in life.” In 1890 the name of the institution was changed to Pennsylvania College for Women, and in 1955 the name was changed again to Chatham College in honor of William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham and namesake of the City of Pittsburgh. In 1994, Chatham College expanded around its historic undergraduate women’s college by beginning to offer graduate programs to both men and women with a special emphasis in the health science fields.  University status was granted in 2007 and the institution is thereafter named Chatham University.  Additional campus locations, including one in the East Liberty neighborhood called East Side and one in Gibsonia called Eden Hall Farm, were added in 2008. In 2014, Chatham University’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution to implement coeducation within all colleges and schools while creating structures and programs that preserve the University’s commitment to women’s education and leadership. Founded in 1989 at Chatham University, the Rachel Carson Institute promotes awareness and understanding of significant environmental issues of the time, through national and regional conference, debates, lecture series, seminars, panel discussions and other educational programs. Named in honor of Rachel Carson, member of the class of 1929, the Institute focuses on research, public education, and policy.  Additionally, the Institute examines the role of women as environmental leaders and the impact of environmental issues on women worldwide.  It sponsors campus-based curricular and co-curricular programming in environmental studies, including a campus greening project called "Chatham eCollegie", and an environmental education programming for area schools.

Note written by Emily Simons and Molly Tighe


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Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Arranged in 16 Series reflecting the major activities of the Rachel Carson Institute from 1986 to 2012. Series 1, Administrative Files: 1986 – 2007, 2011 – 2012 This series contains administrative records dated between 1986 and 2007 and between 2011 and 2012. Series 2, Financial Files: 2005 – 2006, 2010 – 2012 This series contains financial records dated between 2005 and 2006 and between 2010 and 2012. Series 3, Budgets and Expense Reports: 2002 – 2006 This series contains budgets and expense reports dated between 2002 and 2006. Series 4, Grants and Funding Sources: 1994 – 2004, 2008, 2011 The series includes documents from the many different foundations and organizations which gave funding to the Rachel Carson Institute. Series 5, Strategic Plans and Reports: 1989 – 1996, 2000 – 2003 This series contains the annual program reports and strategic plans for the Institute’s future programs. Series 6, Scholarships and Awards: 1997 – 1998, 2001 – 2002 The series contains the files for two award winners and then miscellaneous scholarships. Series 7, Curriculum, Course Schedules, and Registration: 1993 – 1996, 2011 – 2012 The R.C. Institute sponsored and created courses which highlighted sustainability, environmentalism, and ecology for the Pittsburgh community. This series contains the materials for those courses as well as the scheduling and registration documents. Series 8, Rachel Carson Institute Program Binders: 1994 – 1996 These materials are in their original order from binders made internally by/for the R.C. Institute to compile various programming and events from the year with articles and reports. Series 9, Programs and Events: 1987 – 2008, 2011 – 2012 The series contains event pamphlets, posters, files, brochures, and pictures from the hundreds of events the Rachel Carson Institute sponsored or put on. Many of the events focus on the legacy of Rachel Carson while trying to inspire environmental learning in the community. Series 10, Projects and Initiatives: 2000- 2001, 2004 The series contains documents pertaining to the Rachel Carson Greenhouse project, an energy assessment, and the Toxic Reduction and Alternatives on Campus (TRAC) Initiative. Series 11, Research Files: 1989 – 1992, 1997, 2000, 2011 The series contains information compiled on environmental issues such as pesticides, pollution, cancers, and cleaning products which helped the Rachel Carson Institute create reports on various subjects related to creating a less toxic environment both on an individual and community levels. Series 12, Photographs: 1987, 1989 – 1992, 1995, 2001 The Photograph series holds various pictures which were used in marketing the R.C. Institute as well as of events held by the Institute. Series 13, Publications: 1989 – 1995, 2000 The R.C. Institute issued press releases, an Environmental Directory, as well Environmental Manuals and guides to aid teachers in explaining environmental issues. Series 14, Clippings and Articles: n.d. These clippings and articles were compiled by the R.C. Institute to keep track of media coverage of Rachel Carson, Chatham, and the Institute. Series 15, Miscellaneous: 1990, 2000, 2002, 2007 This series contains miscellaneous information on Rachel Carson, a trail map, materials from a teacher’s institute, the Rachel Day Proclamation, an Anniversary Issue of the Fish and Wildlife Magazine, and an old Rachel Carson Reading Room Placard. Series 16, Oversized: 90s and 2001 Materials in this series were too large to be properly incorporated into other files. It contains 1 large photo album from the 2001 WASTE Summit and two sleeves of 3” Floppy Discs from the Community Programs Office.

Related Materials

Collection on Rachel Carson, Chatham University Archives

Processing Information

Processed by Logan Lazalde and Emily Simons.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Emily Simons and Molly Tighe
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Chatham University Archives Repository

Woodland Road
Pittsburgh PA 15232 US