Waiting on the Bounty: The Dust Bowl Diary of Mary Knackstedt Dyck

Overview

Though she had only a fifth-grade education, Mary Knackstedt Dyck faithfully kept a diary. Written with pencil on lined notebook paper, her daily notations tell the story of farm life on the far western border of Kansas during the grim Dust Bowl years. Manuscript diaries from this era and region are extremely rare, and those written by farm women are even more so. From the point of view of a wife, mother, and partner in the farming enterprise, Dyck recorded the everyday events as well as the frustrations of ...
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Overview

Though she had only a fifth-grade education, Mary Knackstedt Dyck faithfully kept a diary. Written with pencil on lined notebook paper, her daily notations tell the story of farm life on the far western border of Kansas during the grim Dust Bowl years. Manuscript diaries from this era and region are extremely rare, and those written by farm women are even more so. From the point of view of a wife, mother, and partner in the farming enterprise, Dyck recorded the everyday events as well as the frustrations of living with drought and dust storms and the sadness of watching one's children leave the farm.. "A remarkable historical document, the diary describes a period in this century before the telephone and indoor plumbing were commonplace in rural homes - a time when farm families in the Plains states were isolated from world events and radio provided an enormously important link between farmsteads and the world at large. Waiting on the Bounty brings us unusual insights into the agricultural and rural history of the United States, detailing the tremendous changes affecting farming families and small towns during the Great Depression.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Dyck (1884-1955) and her husband began farming in southwestern Kansas in 1905. By the 1930s, they were established farmers who managed to keep their farm throughout the Dust Bowl years. In the portion of her diary included here (1936-41), the reader feels her loneliness and frustration with the never-ending dust and chores. But as the text reveals, Dyck also had her pleasures, like listening to the radio. In editing this work, Riney-Kehrberg (Rooted in Dust) has shortened entries and added footnotes but kept the language and spelling of the original. This enhances the picture one gets of Dyck (who spoke German as a child and had a very limited education) but makes it harder to read the diary. Still, this is a valuable record for researchers in the areas of history and women's studies, especially since there is so little information available about women's lives in rural America. Recommended for academic libraries.--Linda L. McEwan, Elgin Community Coll., IL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877459323
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pamela Riney-Kehrberg is an associate professor of history and director of the Program in Agricultural History and Rural Studies at Iowa State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
1 A Woman and Her World 1
2 Work, Family, and "Playing Hookie": 1936 29
3 Blowing Dust and Departures: 1937 44
4 A Little Snow, a Little Rain, and Hope: 1938 111
5 Dust and Hope Deferred: 1939 161
6 Blizzards, Rain, and Bounty: 1940 228
7 The End of an Era: 1941 296
Epilogue 326
Appendix 329
Notes 333
Bibliography 353
Index 359
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