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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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Curriculum - 11th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1930-1945 (Kansas_Benchmark 2) - Dust Bowl experiences (Indicator 1) - Kansas Emergency Relief Committee

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A study made of 719 rural rehabilitation families relative to their standard of living

A study made of 719 rural rehabilitation families relative to their standard of living
Creator: Kansas Emergency Relief Committee
Date: 1935
This study was compiled by Conie Foote, supervisor of home economics, and her county home advisers. The report includes an introductory note from Foote, who states that the goal of this study is to provide the rural rehabilitation program with essential information about the needs of relief clients during the Dust Bowl years. The study addresses several questions, including: "What is the present standard of living of the families making application for rural rehabilitation loans? Is there a standard below which a family cannot live and maintain health and efficiency?" To answer these questions, the report includes statistics, such as charts documenting housing conditions, the number of applicants in each household, the items of household equipment required by relief families, and the number of persons needing medical care.


Canning kitchen in Wichita, Kansas

Canning kitchen in Wichita, Kansas
Creator: Kansas Emergency Relief Committee
Date: 1934
In this photograph, both male and female workers at a Wichita canning kitchen are canning meat that will eventually be distributed to relief clients suffering during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl of the 1930s. This program was supervised by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee (KERC).


Case work procedure requirement

Case work procedure requirement
Creator: Stutz, John G
Date: December 28, 1933
This brief letter from John G. Stutz, executive director of the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee (KERC), was addressed to county commissioners, poor commissioners, case supervisors, and county relief committees across the state of Kansas. In the letter, Stutz outlines the essential elements of the relief program, including an admonishment that there were many families in need of relief funds and that the federal government wanted to ensure that adequate relief was distributed. Stutz also points out that these programs were the responsibility of the county commissioners and poor commissioners.


Drought relief cattle in Kansas City stockyards

Drought relief cattle in Kansas City stockyards
Date: May 1, 1935
This photograph captures one of the hardships faced by families during the Dust Bowl--starving cattle. It was taken in Kansas City, Kansas, by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee, a state agency working to relieve the financial burdens of families suffering during the droughts of the 1930s. The KERC worked alongside the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, which began a cattle-purchasing program in 1934. Emaciated cattle (as in this photograph) were destroyed after purchase, and healthy cattle were shipped to slaughter with the meat being distributed to poor families needing relief.


Harry Umberger to Willard Mayberry

Harry Umberger to Willard Mayberry
Creator: Umberger, Harry
Date: December 23, 1933
This letter from Harry Umberger, the Director of Extension at Kansas State College (now Kansas State University), was addressed to Willard Mayberry, secretary to Gov. Alf Landon. The letter discusses the reduction of railroad transportation rates for livestock feed, because the depression, combined with the droughts of the 1930s, had made it difficult for farmers to feed their livestock. Umberger recommended that the rates be reduced for at least thirty days (preferably sixty days) in order to keep stock alive during the winter. The letter is accompanied by a state map labeling the counties who needed these rates, with the red shaded section indicating which counties were in the greatest need.


Home economics

Home economics
Creator: Kansas Emergency Relief Committee
Date: June 22, 1934
This bulletin, signed by John G. Stutz, executive director of the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee, describes their policy of encouraging home canning as part of a larger home economics project. In order to help families make the most out of their food supplies, the committee hired a Home Economics Specialist named Conie Foote to teach housewives about canning. Assistance would be provided for families on relief.


Kansas Emergency Relief Committee accomplishments movie

Kansas Emergency Relief Committee accomplishments movie
Creator: Kansas. Emergency Relief Commission
Date: 1936
This motion picture film documents the various work projects completed in Kansas during President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. It begins with an introduction to the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee personnel, starting with the executive director, John G. Stutz. It then shows the various projects across the state, including the construction of farm ponds and lakes as part of the Water Conservation Program, the renovation and construction of courthouses, schools, libraries, and other public buildings, and the weaving and sewing rooms that produced clothing for needy Kansans. It also includes footage of rabbit drives, dust storms, and women sweeping piles of dust out of their homes. Click on the thumbnails below to play each clip. Click on Text Version for a detailed description of each chapter.


Map showing locations of lakes and ponds in Kansas

Map showing locations of lakes and ponds in Kansas
Creator: Kansas. State Board of Agriculture. Division of Water Resources
Date: 1936
This map of Kansas, created by geologist Ogden Jones for the State Board of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources, depicts the lakes and farm ponds in each county. At the bottom are notations about the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee, which had allocated funds that built 95% of the farm ponds in existence. The map was included in a drought report to Governor Alf Landon, dated August 28, 1936.


Relief and loan services

Relief and loan services
Creator: Kansas Emergency Relief Committee
Date: July 25, 1934
This pamphlet, which appears to have been distributed to relief clients, is a condensed summary of the government relief programs handled by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee (KERC), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Regional Production Credit Corporation, and the Farm Credit Administration (FCA). It describes work relief, direct relief, grants for homestead rehabilitation, the cattle purchase program, and feed and forage loans meant to benefit drought relief counties in the Dust Bowl.


Suggestions for determining the clothing minimum budgets of families on relief

Suggestions for determining the clothing minimum budgets of families on relief
Creator: Marvin, F. H.
Date: August 29, 1934
This bulletin of the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee (KERC) includes information about the clothing needs of poor families on relief during the economic depression and drought of the 1930s. It includes a number of charts, including minimum budgets for each family member and the number of each clothing article suggested for each individual. Charts are categorized by gender and age.


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