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A. Venard to Thaddeus Hyatt

A. Venard to Thaddeus Hyatt
Creator: Venard, A.
Date: October 3, 1860
This letter is from A. Venard, a medical doctor from Pleasant Grove, Kansas Territory, who wrote to Thaddeus Hyatt, president of the National Kansas Committee. The letter described the sickness and disease that plagued the settlers along the Verdigris River in southeast Kansas. Dr. Venard had worked diligently to aid the settlers, even using funds from his own pocket to purchase medicine, but he requested that the committee give him 100 dollars worth of drugs. Attached to this letter is an itemized list of the drugs he wished purchased with the requested funds.


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.


Anna Margaret Watson Randolph, diary

Anna Margaret Watson Randolph, diary
Creator: Randolph, Anna Margaret Watson, 1838-1917
Date: August 17, 1858 - August 22, 1858
This brief diary, kept by Anna Margaret (Watson) Randolph, begins with her move to Kansas in an entry dated August 17, 1858. These six entries at the beginning of her diary provide details about her family's journey from Ohio to Kansas Territory, included a number of interesting accounts of their journey on a riverboat. Their boat ran aground several times and, interspersed among her descriptions of these difficulties, Anna wrote about her sister Mary Jane, the weather, and her personal observances of other passengers. She also filled her diary with her frustrations and concerns during their arduous journey west.


Appeal for the Kansas sufferers!

Appeal for the Kansas sufferers!
Creator: Foster, Daniel, 1816-1864
Date: 1860
This pamphlet, written by Daniel Foster, general agent of the New England Kansas Relief Committee, attempts to dispel any doubts about the severity of the nine-month drought in Kansas Territory. Many settlers had left Kansas Territory, and those remaining needed relief. Foster calls on people to provide aid to those in Kansas by contributing money or goods. The pamphlet lists names of people serving on a Boston committee who had met to discuss relief efforts in Kansas, including such well-known individuals as John A. Andrew, George Luther Stearns, Samuel Gridley Howe, and Thomas H. Webb.


Apple tree, Shawnee County, Kansas

Apple tree, Shawnee County, Kansas
Date: 1936
This black and white photograph shows drought damage to an apple tree in Shawnee County, Kansas.


Approaching Dust Storm 5 mi Away - Western Kansas

Approaching Dust Storm 5 mi Away - Western Kansas
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: April 14, 1935
This approaching dust storm is five miles away. The photograph was taken near Hugoton, Kansas, on April 14, 1935, by the Stovall Studio, Dodge City, Kansas. It is labeled #1.


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

Approaching dust storm
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: 1935
A postcard view of a huge wall of dust approaching a farm during the Dust Bowl period. The photograph was possibly taken in Ford County, Kansas.


Approaching dust storm

Approaching dust storm
Date: Around 1935
This undated photograph captures a large dust storm about to hit this family's homestead. These storms were frequent occurrences in western Kansas during the 1930s Dust Bowl.


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.


Arkansas Valley Guide, Southwest Kansas

Arkansas Valley Guide, Southwest Kansas
Creator: Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company
Date: 1878
This circular would be free to any address. Its purpose was to promote the development of the Arkansas River Valley in southwest Kansas. It tells of the agricultural progress of the nine counties in the Valley from 1872 to 1878. These counties are Harvey, McPherson, Sedgwick, Reno, Rice, Barton, Pawnee, Edwards, and Rush. Statistics shown for grain crops are for wheat, corn, rye, oats and barley. For livestock, statistics are for horses, mules, milk cows, other cattle, sheep and swine. Other subjects covered are timber, fruit trees, and hedges; water power; climate, and fruit growing. Examples of purchase prices and terms of sale are presented.


August Schulz diary

August Schulz diary
Date: 1872-1878
This diary was written by August(us) Schulz, who resided in McPherson County, Kansas. The diary describes the work and events that took place on the family farm in Canton Township, McPherson County. Schulz and his wife Luisa were born in Germany, according to the 1880 U. S. census. Augustus's age was listed as 54 and Luisa was 58. The first two pages of content labeled 1872 and 1873 are in German. They have four children, The two girls were Agnes, 24 years old, and Ottilie, age 16. The two boys were Alexander (23) and Hugo (20). In 1880 they were all living at home. Schulz provides details about the crops he is planting and several entries describe planting several hundred trees. The diary also mentions establishing land claims for the older children.


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.


Blizzard, Kinsley, Kansas

Blizzard, Kinsley, Kansas
Date: February 25, 1912
This series of photographs represents the blizzard of 1912 in Kinsley, Kansas. The blizzard devastated the town with snow drifts of eight to ten feet, blocking roads and interrupting train service. The snow from the blizzard stayed through March with temperatures dropping to twenty degrees below zero throughout January and February of 1912.


C. C. Evans to Governor Edmund Morrill

C. C. Evans to Governor Edmund Morrill
Creator: Evans, C. C.
Date: December 24, 1894
The chairman of the Sheridan County Republican Central Committee, C. C. Evans, of Allison (Decatur County), writes Governor Edmund Morrill to inform him of the desperate circumstances facing farmers in western Kansas and to ask the state to furnish seed grain to the farmers. Several years of drought and low crop yields left many farmers without sufficient seed grain for the next season's crops. Evans asks the governor to rally Republican legislators to quickly pass an appropriation for farm relief. The letter claims that Populists have thwarted local efforts to address the problem and that effective actions by Republicans at this time would attract more people in western Kansas to the Republican Party.


C. M. Ricker to Charles Morris

C. M. Ricker to Charles Morris
Creator: Ricker, C. M.
Date: November 6, 1874
Captain C. R. Ricker of the Kansas State Militia, Medicine Lodge, Kansas, writes to Adjutant General Charles Morris of Topeka concerning a band of Pawnee Indians. Ricker notes that the Indians are just east of Medicine Lodge and believes they intend to fight a band of Osage Indians. Though this band had not disturbed any person or property, they were burning the prairie. Ricker suggests that the burning is an attempt by the Indians to further destroy settler's rangeland already devastated by drought and grasshoppers. Ricker asks for instructions on dealing with this "friendly" band of Pawnee. The threat of an Indian uprising on Kansas' southern boarder in 1873 led Governor Thomas Osborn to employ the state militia and appeal to President Ulysses S. Grant for federal troops and arms.


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.


Cornfield, Shawnee County, Kansas

Cornfield, Shawnee County, Kansas
Date: 1936
This black and white photograph shows severe drought damage to a cornfield in Shawnee County, Kansas.


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