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The Dust Bowl

November 14, 2012

I’ve always been interested in the Dust Bowl. My grandmother kept a book with a dust bowl story at our summer cabin in Colorado and I must have read it every summer. I was fascinated by the stories of people getting lost in their front yards, farmers digging down to find their fence posts, children setting the table with the plates upside down over the silverware to keep the dust off them until it was time to eat.

So… at 7:00 in the evening on November 17 & 18, I’ll settle in to watch Ken Burns’ documentary on the Dust Bowl.

For a little background information, take a look at this short article in the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture.

Or, read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men or In Dubious Battle. Steinbeck drew on the conditions he had seen in the course of his investigations for a 7-part series he wrote on the migrant camps for the San Francisco News. Public response to The Grapes of Wrath was extreme. It was banned and burned, but everyone read it – it was an immediate bestseller.

For more, take a look at one of the dust bowl photo archives like the Wind Erosion Multimedia Archive housed at K-State, or listen to oral history interviews at Farming in the 1930s (Living History Farm in York, NE), or watch this footage made in 1934 by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee. posted on UTube by the Kansas State Historical Society.

Don’t have time for any of the above? Well, come by the library to see the display on the dust bowl with photos and snippets from diaries and newspaper clippings.

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