Dust Bowl


PRIMARY SOURCE I--Photograph

  • Title: Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle, Texas
  • Creator(s): Rothstein, Arthur, 1915-1985 , photographer
  • Date Created/Published: 1936 Mar.
  • Medium: 1 negative : nitrate ; 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches or smaller.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-fsa-8b27276 (digital file from original neg.) LC-USF34-002485-D (b&w film nitrate neg.) LC-USZ62-125986 (b&w film copy neg. from file print)
  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions. For information, see U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black & White Photographs (http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/071_fsab.html)
  • Call Number: LC-USF34- 002485-D [P&P]
  • Other Number: H 167
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
  • Notes:
    • Annotation on original negative jacket: AR.
    • Title and other information from caption card.
    • LOT 0543 (Location of corresponding print).
    • Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division.
    • More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.fsaowi
  • Subjects:
  • Format:
  • Collections:
  • Part of: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection
  • Bookmark This Record:
       http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/fsa1998018489/PP/

PRIMARY SOURCE II--Oral History

Lola Adams Crum: Well, when the dust storms really got to going, many and many a day, you see, I drove from out northwest off the farm, I drove into Dodge everyday to teach school. Many a day, I couldn't see, but one telephone post ahead of me. By the time I got to that post, I could barely see the next one, and that was day after day, I drove those six miles, just seeing one telephone post ahead of me. Sometimes, it got so bad, you could hardly see the radiator cap on the car, and I would be driving to school. Well many a day, we didn't even have school. And I can remember, my room faced the east, looked right out across the street at the neighbors, and when I could see the trees in the neighbor's yard across the street, I thought, whew boy, it's lettin' up a little. And the janitor would go down the halls and sweep out the windows, off the windowsills every hour all day long. They would just get coated with dust.

BC: How bad would it have to be before they cancelled school?

LC: Well, they, at first, when it got pretty bad, they'd cancel school everywhere . . . But, you know it happened every day and every day, and you couldn't just let school out. So they just went ahead and had school, if you could get there at all. Uh, and, then there was the "Black Blizzard.". . . On Sunday in April, 1935, and I was grading papers; sitting at our kitchen window, the window faced the north. And I looked up and there was the blackest cloud you ever saw just about a third of the way from the horizon. . . . And of course, in those days, your light was a lamp, a coal oil lamp. And I reached, by the time I got into the kitchen, halfway across the kitchen; to reach for the matchbox, I couldn't see the matchbox. That dirt hit that quickly, and it just engulfed you, it just covered everything, and you couldn't see, you couldn't see anything. Now, if you wake up in the night, you can see where the window is, you couldn't tell where the window was. It was that dense. And, well, I lit the lamp, and you know, it wasn't any time between, until it seemed foggy in there. The dust had come into the room with the window shut and the doors shut.

This interview was conducted by Brandon Case on June 23, 1998, for the Ford County (Kansas) Historical Society. http://www.kansashistory.us/fordco/dustbowl/lolaadamscrum.html

PRIMARY SOURCE III--Song

So Long, Its Been Good To Know Yuh (Dusty Old Dust)
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

I've sung this song, but I'll sing it again,
Of the place that I lived on the wild windy plains,
In the month called April, county called Gray,
And here's what all of the people there say:

CHORUS:

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin' my home,
And I got to be driftin' along.
A dust storm hit, an' it hit like thunder;
It dusted us over, an' it covered us under;
Blocked out the traffic an' blocked out the sun,
Straight for home all the people did run,
Singin':

CHORUS

We talked of the end of the world, and then
We'd sing a song an' then sing it again.
We'd sit for an hour an' not say a word,
And then these words would be heard:

CHORUS

Sweethearts sat in the dark and sparked,
They hugged and kissed in that dusty old dark.
They sighed and cried, hugged and kissed,
Instead of marriage, they talked like this:
"Honey..."

CHORUS

Now, the telephone rang, an' it jumped off the wall,
That was the preacher, a-makin' his call.
He said, "Kind friend, this may the end;
An' you got your last chance of salvation of sin!"
The churches was jammed, and the churches was packed,
An' that dusty old dust storm blowed so black.
Preacher could not read a word of his text,
An' he folded his specs, an' he took up collection,
Said:

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin' my home,
And I got to be driftin' along.

© Copyright 1940 (renewed), 1950 (renewed), 1951 (renewed) by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)
http://woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/So_Long_Its_Been_Good.htm