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Agriculture - Environment - Soil - Soil erosion

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A Dust Cloud Rolling Over the Prairies (near Hugoton, Kansas)

A Dust Cloud Rolling Over the Prairies (near Hugoton, Kansas)
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: April 14, 1935
This is a photograph of a dust cloud rolling over the prairie near Hugoton, Kansas. Southwest Kansas was among the hardest hit areas during the Dust Bowl. Dust storms, such as the one depicted here, could blow for a full day, coating everything in their path with a layer of dirt. It was taken by the Stovall Studio in Dodge City, Kansas on Sunday April 14, 1935. It is labeled #3.


Aftermath of a dust storm in Kansas

Aftermath of a dust storm in Kansas
Date: Between 1934 and 1936
This photograph shows agricultural equipment covered with dust after a storm, possibly in Scott County, Kansas.


A living example of our problem in soil conservation

A living example of our problem in soil conservation
Creator: Works Progress Administration Indian Program
Date: 1935
This image, part of the New Deal Indian Program scrapbook compiled by the Works Progress Administration, depicts a gully created by severe erosion. Erosion such as this depleted the soil of its nutrients and decreased fertility, and blowing soil contributed to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.


Approaching Dust Storm in Middle West

Approaching Dust Storm in Middle West
Creator: Conard, Frank Durnell, 1884-1966
Date: 1935
This is a view of an approaching dust storm somewhere on the southern Plains. The photograph was taken by Frank D. ("Pop") Conard, a well known photographer in Garden City, Kansas. Dust storms, such as this one, rolled over the the southern Great Plains from 1932-1936, removing top soil from agricultural lands and prompting important changes in agricultural practice. The image is labeled #24 Conard.


Approaching dust storm

Approaching dust storm
Creator: Conard, Frank Durnell, 1884-1966
Date: Between 1935 and 1936
A photograph of an approaching dust storm in the Middle West; most likely in southwest Kansas. The southwest corner of the state was one of the hardest hit areas during the Dust Bowl. Dust storms, such as this one, rolled over the the southern Great Plains from 1932-1936, removing top soil from agricultural lands and prompting important changes in agricultural practice.


Approaching dust storm in middle west

Approaching dust storm in middle west
Creator: Conard, Frank Durnell, 1884-1966
Date: Between 1935 and 1936
A postcard showing a dust cloud rolling across a field in Kansas. Frank "Pop" Conard of Garden City, Kansas, created this and other postcards of the Dust Bowl during the mid 1930s.


Approaching dust storm in the middle west

Approaching dust storm in the middle west
Creator: Conard, Frank Durnell, 1884-1966
Date: 1935
This is a postcard showing an approaching dust storm in western Kansas.


Approaching dust storm in the middle west

Approaching dust storm in the middle west
Creator: Conard, Frank Durnell, 1884-1966
Date: 1935
This is a postcard showing an approaching dust storm in western Kansas.


Approaching dust storm in the middle west

Approaching dust storm in the middle west
Creator: Conard, Frank Durnell, 1884-1966
Date: 1935
This is a postcard showing an approaching dust storm in western Kansas.


Black Friday meets its master

Black Friday meets its master
Creator: Garden City Daily Telegram
Date: April 10, 1935
Several articles about life in the Dust Bowl can be found on the front page of this newspaper from Garden City. Articles of particular interest include two articles on "raging dusters," one on the winter wheat crop, and a brief article discussing the postponement of community meetings to distribute aid under the soil erosion program. The newspaper also includes articles about other newsworthy events occurring in Garden City and around the state of Kansas.


Capitol, Topeka, Kansas

Capitol, Topeka, Kansas
Date: 1940
This black and white photograph shows the preliminary sketches by Regionalist artist John Steuart Curry, (1897-1946), for the rotunda at the statehouse in Topeka, Kansas. The sketches were a reflection of the "historic struggle of man with nature" and how the hand of erosion was moving toward the abandoned farm house. These panels were to be commissioned into murals for the second chapter in the state's history. However, the proposals never became a reality because of the controversy surrounding Curry's earlier projects "Tragic Prelude" and the "Kansas Pastoral" which illustrated the first and third chapters in the state's history on the second-floor of the capitol.


Chapter IV: Destructive effects of undesirable tendencies, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee

Chapter IV: Destructive effects of undesirable tendencies, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee
Creator: Great Plains Committee
Date: December, 1936
This report was created by the Great Plains Committee, which had been called by President Roosevelt to investigate the effects of drought and wind erosion in the southwestern United States. Chapter IV of the report, titled "Destructive Effects of Undesirable Tendencies," outlines some of the major problems in this region, composed of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. These problems included the decreasing amount of range land, soil erosion, and the depletion of ground water. A large part of the chapter deals with relief efforts and homestead rehabilitation. It also contains illustrations and tables that provide comparative data on the situation in each of these states.


Chapter V: Attitudes of mind, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee

Chapter V: Attitudes of mind, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee
Creator: Great Plains Committee
Date: December 1936
This report was created by the Great Plains Committee, which had been called by the President to investigate the effects of drought and wind erosion in the southwestern United States. For the purposes of the committee, the Great Plains region was composed of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. In Chapter V, the committee argues that farmers' lack of understanding about effective agricultural techniques, combined with severe drought, had created the critical situation that existed during the Dust Bowl. Certain "attitudes of mind," such as the idea that natural resources are inexhaustible, were the root cause of farmers' problems. The chapter outlines some of these attitudes and assumptions that had proved to be unreliable.


Checks on erosion and floods

Checks on erosion and floods
Date: Between 1930 and 1937
This unidentified newspaper clipping illustrates and explains four useful techniques for combating drought and soil erosion: planting vegetation on steep slopes, strip cropping, contour plowing, and check dams.


Curbing the wind

Curbing the wind
Creator: Aicher, L. C.
Date: 1935
The twenty-ninth biennial report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture includes this short article by L. C. Aicher, superintendent of the Fort Hays Experiment Station in Hays, Kansas. In the article ("Curbing the Wind" in Twenty-Ninth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture for the Years 1933 to 1934"), Aicher describes the most effective techniques for preventing wind erosion, stating that "the secret in preventing soil from blowing is to keep the surface in a roughened condition." He also gives directions about the best methods for listing land and caring for fallow fields.


Day by day Kansas is rapidly washing away

Day by day Kansas is rapidly washing away
Creator: Topeka Capital
Date: December 4, 1932
This brief article discusses the importance of decreasing water erosion, which has washed away approximately ninety percent of the productive soil in eastern Kansas. Two remedies which are suggested are terracing and the planting of blue grass sod (which will bind the soil together). Scientists at Kansas State Agricultural College (now Kansas State University) were experimenting with these two techniques.


Drifts of dust

Drifts of dust
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: 1935
This image illustrates drifts of dust in Ford County deposited during the raging storms that swept the area during the Dust Bowl. The drifts have grown large enough to smother the farm machinery, which has fallen into disuse since the drought. The photograph was taken by Stovall Studio, dodge City, Kansas, and is labeled #10.


Dust Bowl farmers reseeding sod land

Dust Bowl farmers reseeding sod land
Creator: Topeka Capital
Date: February 27, 1944
This brief article discusses how farmers in southwestern Kansas were reseeding sod on land that had formerly been planted with wheat. This reseeding effort, which aimed to stabilize soil, was directed by the Soil Conservation Service.


Dust Bowl soil is now same as Chinese desert

Dust Bowl soil is now same as Chinese desert
Creator: Hubbard, J. R.
Date: August 9, 1936
This article in the Topeka Capital discusses some of the causes of soil erosion and diminished soil moisture, as well as ways to counteract these forces. Both WPA engineers and scientists at the Hays Engineering Station have been measuring soil moisture and developing techniques to counteract the negative effects of the farming trends in use since World War I.


Dust Storm, Wright, Kansas

Dust Storm, Wright, Kansas
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: 1935
This black and white postcard shows a view of dust clouds covering the skies near Wright, Kansas.


Dust clouds rolling over the prairies, Hugoton, Kansas

Dust clouds rolling over the prairies, Hugoton, Kansas
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: April 14, 1935
This is a postcard view of a dust storm rolling over Hugoton, Kansas, on Sunday, April 14, 1935. Southwest Kansas was among the hardest hit areas during the Dust Bowl. Dust storms, such as this one, rolled over the southern Great Plains from 1932-1936, removing top soil from agricultural lands and prompting important changes in agricultural practice. The photograph was taken by Stovall Studio, Dodge City, Kansas, and is labeled #5.


Dust storm, Morton County, Kansas

Dust storm, Morton County, Kansas
Date: Between 1933 and 1937
This photograph depicts an approaching dust storm in Morton County, Kansas, during the 1930s. Morton County, in the southwest corner of the state, was among the hardest hit areas during the Dust Bowl. Dust storms, such as the one depicted here, could blow for a full day, coating everything in their path with a layer of dirt.


Glenn D. Stockwell, Sr. to Leslie G. Templin

Glenn D. Stockwell, Sr. to Leslie G. Templin
Creator: Stockwell, Glenn D.
Date: November 1, 1955
In this letter, Glen Stockwell outlines his reasons for opposing the construction of a dam on Tuttle Creek in North Central, Kansas. Mr Stockwell writes to Leslie Templin to provide background information about Public Law 566 that authorized the Department of Agriculture to enter into assistance agreements with small watersheds for the purpose of controlling soil erosion and floods.


Gully, possibly Finney County, Kansas

Gully, possibly Finney County, Kansas
Creator: Wolf, Henry L. 1850-1924
Date: Between 1890 and 1900
This photograph shows a man standing near a gully or crater, possibly in Finney County, Kansas.


H.A. Kinney to Governor Walter Huxman

H.A. Kinney to Governor Walter Huxman
Creator: Emergency Dust Bowl Committee
Date: April 23, 1937
Secretary of the Emergency Dust Bowl Committee H. A. Kinney of Liberal (Seward County) sends Governor Walter Huxman of Topeka (Shawnee County) a copy of a telegram the committee sent President Franklin Roosevelt. The telegram appeals to the federal government for assistance in stopping the removal of top soil in the drought stricken areas of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. The telegram advises that the present program of management by individual farmers is inadequate. H. A. Kinney was also Secretary of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce.


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