Few men present as magnificent a subject for American biography as George Washington Carver of Tuskegee. His genius, patient and pure, ranks him with the great men of the 20th century, men who recognized his kinship with them and admitted him to their distinguished circle and gave him their friendship: Edison, Ford, Wallace. George Washington Carver’s profound knowledge of botany, agriculture, and soil economy enabled him to devise ways of helping the economically submerged post-Civil War South to better ways of living. This book automatically takes its place among the major books of all time--a great American biography.
Modest and unassuming, almost to the point of self-effacement, George Washington Carver was not content with mere scientific discovery for its own sake; he was passionately convinced that the results of research must be brought directly into the lives of the people. To this end he traveled through the South in the Jesup wagon, which was filled not alone with scientific exhibits of all kinds and with examples of aids to further better farming, but also with books. These excursions into the remote districts thus brought not only practical aids to a better life, but almost the first touch of culture the people had ever received.
Dr. Carver’s positive contributions to science are legion and embrace many diverse fields of research. He developed over three hundred products from the peanut and provided the South with an escape from her one-crop economy. During World War I he demonstrated to the Government that a sufficient and varied diet, balanced in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, could be made up from the sweet potato and peanut alone.
In the course of his lifetime he was honored by learned societies and scientific and humanitarian bodies throughout the world. His first formal recognition came from the Royal Society of England when it elected him to a fellowship in 1916. In 1923 he was awarded the Springarn Medal for distinguished service in agricultural chemistry; in 1939 he received the Roosevelt Medal for distinguished service in the field of science.
Born in slavery, George Washington Carver was not only one of America’s most visionary scientists, but a splendid human being whose life was spent in the service of his fellow men.
His story is an epic of modern America.
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Margaret Von Vechten Holt, writing as Rackham Holt, published this groundbreaking work in 1943. Reprinted by Greenwoman Publishing.
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Rackham Holt, the woman who wrote this extraordinary book, was born Margaret Van Vechten Saunders in Denver, Colorado, in 1899. She was married to New York publisher Guy Holt, and given the nickname Rackham by a family friend, who thought she looked like one of artist Arthur Rackham’s distinctive drawings. She decided to use Rack-ham Holt as her pen name. Guy Holt died in 1934, at the age of 42, leaving Margaret to raise their ten-year-old daughter alone. In addition to her work in biography, Holt was an editor, book reviewer, librarian, ghost writer, and journalist. In the late 1940’s she was one of the prominent literary figures who spoke in defense of best-selling writer Howard Fast, a man put in prison for three months after refusing to give information to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Rackham spent three years on Carver’s biography, including five months at Tuskegee In-stitute. After this book was published, she donated half its royalties to the Carver Institute at Tuskegee.
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