Purdue Libraries exhibition, programs provide historic perspective of disastrous Dust Bowl

September 9, 2014  


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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University Libraries has opened an exhibition about the Dust Bowl – one of the worst man-made ecological disasters in U.S. history – along with related programs.

"Dust Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry," is on exhibit through Oct. 10 in the John W. Hicks Undergraduate Library on campus. The exhibition recalls a tragic time in U.S. history and explores its environmental and cultural consequences. Visitors will be able to explore such questions as what caused the fertile farms to turn to dust; how did people survive, and what can we learn?

The history and geography behind the Dust Bowl is part of the exhibition, as is the human element through the words of survivors, who show what it was like to live through the difficult time.

"Dust, Drought and Dreams Gone Dry," will be accompanied by a series of programs that are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The lectures and film screenings will take place at 7 p.m. in Room G980D of the Hicks Undergraduate Library and include:

* Tuesday (Sept. 9). "The Dust Bowl: Causes and Consequences," presented by Douglas R. Hurt, head of Purdue's history department.

* Sept. 16.  "Prelude to the Dust Bowl: Drought and Depression in the 1890s," presented by Purdue history professor Susan R. Curtis.

* Sept. 25. "Dust Bowl Women," presented by Pamela Riney Kehrberg, chair of the Iowa State University Department of History.

* Oct. 1. "Sanora Babb: Whose Names are Unknown," presented by Purdue English and American studies professor Bill Mullen.

* Oct. 8. "The Plow that Broke the Plains – The Dust Bowl Documentary," presented by Purdue agricultural economics professor Otto Doering.

Sections of the Ken Burns documentary, "The Dust Bowl," will be aired during these presentations.

The exhibition was organized by the American Library Association Public Programs Office, the Oklahoma State University Library and the Mount Holyoke College Library. It was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

For more information about the display or presentations, contact Ann O'Donnell at atodonne@purdue.eduor 765-496-1498, or Emily Heitman at eheitman@purdue.edu or 765-494-6732.                     

Contact: Shannon Walker, Purdue University Libraries director of strategic communication, 765-496-9610, walker81@purdue.edu

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