Oklahoma dust bowl refugees. San Fernando, California

The Dust Bowl

Maryland State Archives
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Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: (410) 260-6400
Internet: mdsa.net
e-mail: archives@mdsa.net

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945) 

STANDARD 1: The causes of the Great Depression and how it affected American society. 

Standard 1B: The student understands how American life changed during the 1930s. 

5-12: Explain the effects of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl on American farm owners, tenants, and sharecroppers. [Analyze multiple causation]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Film clip, dust storm during the 1930s
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1930s
    SOURCE:
    From the website of the USDA/ARS Wind Erosion Research Unit at Kansas State University.

  2. DESCRIPTION: Baca County, Colorado. April 14, 1935. Dust storm. Colorado.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 1935
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  3. DESCRIPTION: Prowers County, Colorado. Dust storm.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 1935
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  4. DESCRIPTION: Oklahoma dust bowl refugees. San Fernando, California.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 1935
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  5. DESCRIPTION: Squatters along highway near Bakersfield, California. Penniless refugees from dust bowl. Twenty-two in family, thirty-nine evictions, now encamped near Bakersfield without shelter, without water and looking for work in the cotton.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 1935
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  6. DESCRIPTION: Dust storm. Baca County, Colorado
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1936?
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  7. DESCRIPTION: Soil blown by "dust bowl" winds piled up in large drifts near Liberal, Kansas
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1936 Mar.
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  8. DESCRIPTION: Results of a dust storm. Cimarron County, Oklahoma.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1936 Apr.
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  9. DESCRIPTION: Buried farm machinery. Cimarron County, Oklahoma.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 1936
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  10. DESCRIPTION: Dust storm. Amarillo, Texas.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 1936
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  11. DESCRIPTION: A possible solution to the dust problem is irrigation. This farmer is pumping water from a well to his parched fields. Cimarron County, Oklahoma
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 1936
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  12. DESCRIPTION: Farm machinery buried under sand. Cimarron County, Oklahoma.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 1936
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  13. DESCRIPTION: Dust storm. Elkhart, Kansas.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 21, 1937
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  14. DESCRIPTION: Home of a dust bowl refugee in California. Imperial County
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March 1937
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  15. DESCRIPTION: Four families, three of them related with fifteen children, from the Dust Bowl in Texas in an overnight roadside camp near Calipatria, California.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March 1937
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  16. DESCRIPTION: Window in kitchen of house, Williams County, North Dakota. During dust storms in this area, windows have to be stuffed in this manner
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 1937
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  17. DESCRIPTION: Dust Bowl farm. Coldwater District, near Dalhart, Texas. This farm is occupied. Others in this area have been abandoned
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: June 1938
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  18. DESCRIPTION: Mr. Bosley of the reorganization unit standing in a field of sudan grass on his farm in Baca County, Colorado. This grass is one of the best cover crops which can be grown in this region in order to bring it back from its present stricken stage due to dust storms.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1939
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  19. DESCRIPTION: Mr. and Mrs. Schoenfeldt pulling beets from their tile garden, Sheridan County, Kansas. Tile gardens are a part of the FSA (Farm Security Administration) program in the former dust bowl.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 1939
    SOURCE: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

  20. DESCRIPTION: Interview with Mary Owsley, a farm worker who cleaned up after the dust storms in Oklahoma.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1971
    INTERVIEWER: Studs Terkle
    NOTES: Real Audio is required to listen to this recording. The Real Audio Player can be downloaded for free at http://www.real.com.
    SOURCE: Studs Terkle: Conversations with America

  21. DESCRIPTION: `Black Sunday' recalls experience at dawning of Dust Bowl era
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March 28, 2001
    NOTES: Newspaper article includes account of Doris Crandall, who as a young child, witnessed the dust storm approaching the family farm on April 14, 1935.

    SOURCE: Amarillo Globe News

Additional Media Resources

Surviving the Dust Bowl. From American Experience.

Farming in the 1930s. From Wessels Living History Farm, York, Nebraska.

Drought in the Dust Bowl Years. From the National Drought Mitigation Center 

The Plow that Broke the Plains. Produced by Pare Lorentz, 1936. A U.S. Government Short Film about the Dust Bowl. 30. min. / B&W. Windows Media Format (wmv), 46.7 Megabytes, 320x240. From the website of the USDA/ARS Wind Erosion Research Unit at Kansas State University.

Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940

Studs Terkle: Conversations with America

Additional Instructional Resources 

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

Surviving the Dust Bowl: Suggestions for the Classroom. From American Experience

Visions In the Dust: A Child's Perspective of the Dust Bowl

César E. Chávez and the Great Depression

The Place Beyond the Dust Bowl

Immigration/Migration: Today and During the Great Depression

Dust Bowl Days

Secondary Resources

Argersinger, Peter H. "The People's Past: Teaching American Rural History" The History Teacher, Vol. 10, No. 3. (May, 1977), pp. 403-424.

Lee, Jeffrey A. and Vatche P. Tchakerian. "Magnitude and Frequency of Blowing Dust on the Southern High Plains of the United States, 1947-1989" Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 85, No. 4. (Dec., 1995), pp. 684-693.

Low, Ann Marie. Dust Bowl Diary. University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

Stallings, Frank L. Black Sunday: The Great Dust Storm of April 14, 1935

Visher, Stephen S. "Drouths and Floods in the United States" Economic Geography, Vol. 19, No. 1. (Jan., 1943), pp. 1-15.

Wunder, John R. Americans View Their Dust Bowl Experience. University Press of Colorado, 1999.
NOTE: This books is available online to holders of UMBC library account through NetLibrary

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

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