Born and raised in Ohio, Robert W. Hines never took a formal art course after high school. He began as a staff artist for the Ohio Division of Conservation and Natural Resources during the Great Depression. In 1948 he accepted employment as an artist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, chagrined to find that a female biologist named Rachel Carson was his supervisor. Carson and Hines developed a congenial working relationship that evolved into a loyal friendship and an important professional collaboration.
Carson asked Hines to illustrate the third book in her trilogy on the ocean, The Edge of the Sea, a study of sea life along the Atlantic coast. Together they traveled from Maine to the Florida Keys. Hines learned first hand about Carson’s reverence for life. After Carson collected an animal and Hines drew it, she insisted that the creature be returned to the same location from whence it came.
Hines’s pencil drawings immensley enhanced the book when it was published in 1955. N. J. Berrill’s review in the Saturday Review concluded: "The Edge of the Sea becomes the product of two naturalists working in close cooperation, each one scientifically trained and each an artist, the one with a pen and the other with a pencil. Together they take us on a good journey."
Hines served as one of the six honorary pall bearers at Rachel Carson’s funeral in at the Washington National Cathedral in 1964. Prior to his retirement from the FWS in 1981, Hines was designated "National Wildlife Artist", the only person ever granted that distinction. His last major commission was the pencil drawings for the 50th anniversary edition of Carson’s Under the Sea-Wind, reprinted in 1991. Hines died in Arlington, Virginia, three years later. His remains were returned to his native Ohio.
(Contributed by John D. Juriga, June 2010)