Quotes from George Washington Carver


On His Childhood and Quest for an Education

“Day after day I spent in the woods alone in order to collect my floral beauties, and put them in my little garden I had hidden in the brush not far from the house, as it was considered foolishness in the neighborhood to waste time on flowers.”

“…many are the tears I have shed because I would break the roots or flowers of some of my pets while removing them from the ground, and strange to say al sorts of vegetation seemed to thrive under my touch until I was styled the plant doctor…”

“From a child I had an inordinate desire for knowledge, and especially music, painting, flowers, and the sciences.”

“Never since have I been without this consciousness of the Creator speaking to me through flowers, rocks, animals, plants, and all other aspects of His creation.”

When questioned about college by Susan Carver, George replied,

“No man has enough learning, Aunt Sue, and me, I’m still trying to find out what makes it rain and why sunflowers grow so tall.”

“The opening of the school found me at Simpson College, attempting to run a laundry for my support…I lived on prayer, beef suet and corn meal, and quite often being without the suet and meal.”

On Purpose and Success

“It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobiles one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.”

“There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.”

“No individual has any right to come into this world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.”

“…how can I be sure that I’m on the right road? … ’In all they ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths.’ Now you must learn to look to Him for direction and then follow, and you will never go wrong.”

“…the further anyone gets away from themselves, the greater will be their success in life… You can’t get very far in life if you don’t get away from self… and see a richer and broader horizon.”


Missions, Hopes, and Dreams

“We are brothers, all of us, no matter what race or color or condition; children of the same Heavenly Father. We rise together or we fall together.”

“I hold before you my hand with each finger standing erect and alone, and so long as they are held thus, not one of all the tasks that the hand may perform can be accomplished. I cannot lift. I cannot grasp. I cannot hold. I cannot even make an intelligible sign until my fingers organize and work together. In this we should also learn a lesson.”

“One reason I never patent my products is that if I did it would take so much time, I would get nothing else done. But mainly I don’t want my discoveries to benefit specific favored persons.”

“I find so many wonderful possibilities here in the South. Indeed, I believe the South is the richest section of the United States in undeveloped resources.”

“Take care of the waste on the farm and turn it into useful channels’ should be the slogan of every farmer.”

“You doubtless know that I come here solely for the benefit of my people, no other motives in view.”

“I am trying to get our people to see that their color does not hold them back as much as they think.”

“If I know the answer you can have it for the price of a postage stamp. The Lord charges me nothing for knowledge, and I will charge you the same.”

“The primary idea in all of my work was to help the farmer and fill the poor man’s empty dinner pail… My idea was to help the “man farthest down,” this is why I have made every process just as simple as I could to put it within his reach.”

“I am no great person. I am no great scientist. I have only been able to point the way in a few things. After we will come those who read and interpret the signs, the great of the world. I am only the trailblazer.”

“One of the things that has helped me as much as any other, is not how long I am going to live but how much I can do while living.”


On God and Science

“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the ways of doing it are revealed to me.”

“I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed at the moment I am inspired to create something new… Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.”

“Marvel of marvels, how I wish I had you in God’s little workshop for a while, how your soul would be thrilled and lifted up.”

“My prayers seem to be more of an attitude than anything else. I indulge in very little lip service, but ask the Great Creator silently, daily and often many times per day. To permit me to speak to Him through the three great Kingdoms of the world, which He has created, viz. – the Animal, Mineral and Vegetable Kingdoms; their relations to each other, to us; our relations to them and the Great God who made all of us.”

“How I thank God every day that I can walk and talk with Him. Just last week I was reminded of His omnipotence, majesty, and power through a little specimen of mineral sent to me for analysis, from Bakersfield, California. I have dissolved it, purified it, made conditions favorable of crystals, when before my very eyes, a beautiful bunch of sea green crystals have formed an along side of them a bunch of snow white ones.”

Dr. Carver tells the story behind the discovery of the peanut byproducts. He asked his Great Creator,

“’Dear Mr. Creator, please tell me what the universe was made for.’ The Great Creator answered, ‘You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask for something more your size.’ Then I asked, “Dear Mr. Creator tell me what man was made for.’ Again the Great Creator replied, ‘Little man, you are still asking too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.’ So then I asked, “Please Mr. Creator will you tell me why the peanut was made?’”

“The finite mind of man can never grasp the mysteries of the infinite. It is the highest wisdom, as it is our great happiness, to accept our limitations, to use what we have, and leave the rest to God.”

On the Natural World

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”

“…to me, my dear young friends, nature in its varied forms are the little windows through which God permits me to commune with Him, and to see much of His glory, majesty, and power by simply lifting the curtain and looking in.”

“More and more as we come closer and closer in touch with nature and its teaching we are able to see the Divine and are therefore fitted to interpret correctly the various languages spoken by all forms of nature about us.”

Advice to Others

“…nothing is so damaging as ignorance. I don’t know, you say! What reason is there for you not knowing – you have no looked, you have not searched. Study to be approved of the Great Creator. Be master of things…”

“…sometimes it is wise not to look for too much appreciation. The main thing is to be sure you’re right and go ahead regardless of whether people appreciate it or… don’t, because in time they will appreciate it.”

“Selfishness and self are at the bottom of a lot of troubles in the world. So many people fail to realize that serving God and one’s fellow-men are the only worthwhile things in life. It is service that counts.”