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About the Collection

Memories, observations, and unique perspectives are captured in Dust, Drought and Dreams Gone Dry: Oklahoma Women and the Dust Bowl Oral History Project from a time that few can still account for first hand. Prior to the start of this project in 2000, many interviews had been conducted with people who remembered the whirling winds of the 1930s, but they presented a primarily male perspective of this event. Again and again men spoke of their wives and their mothers as being the glue that held their families together during these incredibly hard days. Between 2000 and 2002, principal investigators Steven Kite, Shelly Lemons, and Jennifer Paustenbaugh from the Oklahoma State University Library located and interviewed over one hundred women individually or in groups about what they recalled from living during the period of 1932 to 1940 in the area of Oklahoma typically identified as the epicenter of the Dust Bowl. Interview subjects from Beaver, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Texas, Woods, and Woodward counties of northwestern Oklahoma were the targets of this project although women from several other counties also participated.

The women interviewed share accounts of everything from canning and home remedies, square dances and weddings, hobos, gypsies and bootleggers to Black Sunday, rabbit drives, the killing of their cattle, and full details of coping with dust from what has been called the worst natural disaster ever. This website seeks to preserve these firsthand accounts and make them accessible to scholars, researchers and anyone interested in this history.

Contact Information

For more information about the interviews featured in this online resource, please contact the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at the OSU Library at 405-744-7685 or e-mail liboh@okstate.edu.

The investigators for this project can be contacted as follows: