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        A Man-Made Ecological Disaster | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        View images of farmers, and members of the U.S. Government’s Soil Conservation Service, which was developed to help save the soil and the land. The Dust Bowl was the greatest man-made ecological disaster in the history of the United States. It encompassed a region 150,000 square miles long, across Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandles, and parts of Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico. A combination of aggressive and poor farming techniques, coupled with drought conditions in the region and high winds created massive dust storms that drove thousands from their homes and created a large migrant population of poor, rural Americans during the 1930s. 

        Prosperous Farmers | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        Prosperous farmers with women and children stand in an abundant wheat field in Molt, Montana, 1927. Source: Mildred Romundstad Madson (1897-1992).

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        Land Speculators | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        A group of men, land speculators, stand around a piece of farm equipment in a New Mexico field, 1903. Source: Windows on the Plains, Dumas, Texas.

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        A Landscape Rearranged | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        Photograph of Oklahoma Panhandle in 1936. The fine dirt lifted by the dust storms and blown by the winds scraped some fields to hardpan, and created dunes wherever there were eddies in the wind. Photo credit: Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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        A Government Official Talks to Two Farmers | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        Farm Security Administration supervisor talking with two of the Davidson brothers who own a cooperative well made possible by an FSA loan, Gray County, Kansas, August, 1939. Photo credit: Russell Lee (1903-1986). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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        Men at a Stock Auction | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        Men at a stock auction in San Angelo, Texas, in March, 1940. Photo credit: Russell Lee (1903-1986). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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        A Farmer in a Field | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        A farmer holds out his hand to represent how high the wheat should be in a field in Grand County, North Dakota, July, 1936. Photo credit: Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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        Farmer Inspecting Soil | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        A farmer inspects soil next to a planter pulled by horses in a field in Jasper Country, Iowa, May, 1940. Photo credit: John Vachon (1914-1975). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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        Abandoned Hopes, Abandoned Farm | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        Abandoned farm with windmill and farm equipment, in the Coldwater District north of Dalhart, Texas, June 1938. Photo credit: Dorothea Lange (1895-1965). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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        A Man in a Suit Sits in Buffalo Grass | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        A man in a suit sits in a vast field of buffalo grass in Haskell County, Kansas, in 1897. Photo credit: W.D. (Willard Drake) Johnson (1860-1917). Source: Kansas State Historical Society.

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        Farmers Harvesting Grain | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        Philipe Aranjo, a Farm Security Administration rehabilitation program client, and another farmer harvest grain with farm equipment in Costilla County, Colorado, October, 1939. Photo credit: Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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        Soil Conservation Service Meeting | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        Hugh Bennett points to a map in an office, with H. Howard Finnell standing second from left, while other Soil Conservation Service men look on. Source: National Archives & Records Administration.

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        Sparse Vegetation in Field | Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl

        An occupied Dust Bowl farm in the Coldwater District, near Dalhart, Texas, June, 1938. Sparse vegetation can be seen in a field covered by sand drifts near a house, barn, windmill, and shacks. Photo credit: Dorothea Lange (1895-1965). Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

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