“Letters from the Dust Bowl” presents an unusual inside look at life during the Dust Bowl through the eyes of an educated homesteader in “No Man’s Land.”
Caroline Henderson moved to the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1907 to teach and soon met and married her husband. In joining a homestead with her husband’s she hoped to help build civilization in the dry, windy conditions of western Oklahoma. She and her husband were still farming in their eighties, but watched as neighbors gave up and moved away. Henderson submitted “letters” or articles to magazines to supplement their meager income. Her views on surviving before, during, and after the Dust Bowl give us a fascinating glimpse of farm life through much of the twentieth century. Through her letters she shows the fierce independence and refusal to bow to the elements that characterized Bust Bowl farmers. Since the letters begin in 1907, well before the drought of the 1930s, and end in the 1960s, after the rain returned to the Panhandle, we see the Dust Bowl years as merely one of the worst times in the midst of many “ordinary” bad times.
A native of South Dakota, Roger Bromert received his Ph.D. from the University of Toledo (Ohio). He taught at Huron College, South Dakota for four years before joining the faculty at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford. At SWOSU he teaches Oklahoma and Native American History. In 2000, the Oklahoma Heritage Society awarded Professor Bromert the McCasland Award for Excellence in the Teaching Oklahoma History and in 2004, Governor Brad Henry appointed Dr. Bromert to the Board of Director’s of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Books, services, and other materials for this series of programs are provided by “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma,” a project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.