The Green Blog
A Pioneer for Green – Rachel Mason Peden, Epsilon
All Delta Zetas know who Grace Mason Lundy, Epsilon was--Delta Zeta Past National President from 1940 - 1946 and the woman for whom the Grace Mason Lundy Award (given annually to members of Delta Zeta who are college seniors, recognizing their devotion and service to Delta Zeta) was named. But few may know of her sister, Rachel Mason Peden.
 

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Rachel was Delta Zeta's Woman of the Year for 1972. A nationally known columnist and author, her column (written under the byline of Mrs. R.F.D.) was a feature in the Indianapolis STAR and the Muncie, Indiana STAR for many years, and was reprinted often in other national newspapers. During the 1930s, she began authoring a popular feature in The LAMP called "Wholly Smoke; or Don't Say I Said Anything," an irreverent humor column.

Where is the green connection? In 1961, Rachel's first book was published, entitled Rural Free. The book, subtitled "A Farmwife's Almanac of Country Living" celebrated the spiritual freedom of country life. Rachel's writing captured the variety, motion, and events of four seasons on a farm. Moreover, she makes a plea to preserve the land and was an environmental advocate ahead of her time.

Rachel wrote two more books about rural life: The Land, the People, which explored the inescapable ties human beings have to the Earth, and Speak to the Earth, which espoused her "naturalist's philosophy," seeing the role of her farm as "a place of opportunity simultaneous with obligation, an immaculate fitting-together of plant and animal life." Each year on her farm brought Rachel new opportunities for priceless observations on the natural world and the importance that it not be taken for granted.

The dust jacket of Rachel's first book, Rural Free.
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She passed away in 1975, receiving accolades not only from Delta Zetas, but from newspaper journalists around the country who loved and respected her work.

You can find copies Rachel's books (which are now out of print but still available) through www.amazon.com or www.alibris.com. Isn't it truly remarkable that Delta Zeta can call as one of her own an environmental champion like Rachel Mason Peden!

Update:  As of the fall of 2010, IU Press of Indiana University began reprinting Rachel's works.  You can order copies here.