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K-State Today

June 18, 2015

K-State Libraries exhibits commemorate American Dust Bowl, celebrate Chinese culture

Submitted by Sarah Hoyt

Cover of an extension report, 1936

"Students cough, wipe out their eyes, groan, and swear at the current dust invasion while housewives sigh, and reach for the dust mops. Joe College and Betty Coed waste a lot of time arguing about the causes of the dust storms in Kansas, but in reality they know very little about the situation. ... " — The Kansas State Collegian, Feb. 26, 1937.

K-State Libraries regularly pull materials from their collections to recognize significant moments in history or exciting developments on the K-State campus. Two of these exhibits are on view now in Hale Library.

A time capsule exhibit documenting the Dust Bowl in Kansas has been installed in Hale's main entryway. K-State librarians combed through the Morse Department of Special Collections plus digital issues of campus newspapers and yearbooks — the Kansas State Collegian and Royal Purple, especially — to examine the infamous decade of drought, which was at its peak 80 years ago.

The resulting exhibit includes multiple primary sources from the Morse Department of Special Collections, including photographs of the devastation and entries from handwritten diaries that recount the unbearable amount of dust that invaded everyday lives. In addition, a vast trove of Kansas Agricultural Research Station reports document the ways extension agents promoted strategies such as crop rotation, tree planting and terracing to preserve and restore valuable topsoil.

David Vail, public services archivist in the Morse Department of Special Collections, is available to connect researchers and classes with even more primary source materials from the era. He can be reached at 785-532-7805 or ddvail@k-state.edu.

In the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies on the fourth floor, a small selection of Chinese books and artifacts celebrates the recent opening of the Confucius Institute at Kansas State University. The items are on loan from Mary Pyle and Max Lu and the institute.

Melia Fritch, undergraduate and community services librarian, is available to connect classes and researchers with additional materials related to Chinese history and culture, both those on display in the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies and elsewhere in K-State Libraries' collections. She can be reached at 785-532-7361 or melia@k-state.edu.

In this issue

From the Kansas Board of Regents
From the vice president for research
News and research
Health and safety