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Schedule of Events

Car with dust storm approaching, March, 1936
Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LITS is hosting the traveling exhibit of "Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry" in the Information Commons  from September 10-October 22, 2015.  The exhibition was developed by the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the libraries of Oklahoma State University and Mount Holyoke College. MHC has contributed content to the national exhibit from our Caroline Boa Henderson collection. Henderson, MHC class of 1901, farmed a land claim in the Oklahoma Panhandle from 1907 until 1966.  Her firsthand accounts of the Dust Bowl years are preserved in the Archives through the letters that she wrote to friends and family members, along with other writings that she published in "Practical Farmer" and the "Atlantic Monthly".  Archives and Special Collection is also displaying primary source material from the Henderson Collection in an accompanying exhibit "Love for the Earth, Loyalty to the Land".  Along with both of these exhibits, there will be events going on throughout the months of September and October.

  • September 15th at 6 pm: Film screening of part one of the PBS documentary The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns with framing by Assistant Professor of Sociology at Amherst College, Hannah Holleman, in the Stimson Room of the Mount Holyoke College Library
  • September 16th at 7 pm: Film screening of part one of the PBS documentary The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns at Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown
  • September 17th at 6 pm: Film screening of part two of the PBS documentary The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns in the Stimson Room of the Mount Holyoke College Library
  • September 22nd at 7 pm: Hannah Holleman presents "Dust to Dust: Environmental Justice Lessons from One of the First Global Ecological Crises" in the Stimson Room of the Mount Holyoke College Library. Prof. Holleman’s talk will discuss social factors and historical developments contributing to the Dust Bowl on the U.S. Southern Plains, while illustrating that this calamity was one dramatic regional manifestation of an international crisis of soil erosion by the 1930s. As an outcome of the imperialism and colonialism from roughly the 1870s to the first World War, a virulent racism justified the policies and practices that made the socio-ecological crisis possible and characterized many of the responses. This reinterpretation of the Dust Bowl provides a broader historical, sociological, and geographical context for understanding the causes and consequences of the disaster and offers important lessons for our current struggles to address the planetary challenges of climate change, attendant shifts in the hydrological cycle, environmental injustice, and new threats of Dust-bowlification.
  • October 2nd at 7 pm: Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards perform Songs of the Dust Bowl at Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown
  • October 6th at 7 pmAlan Werner presents "Good to the Last Drop: Climate Change, Droughts, and Water Availability" in the Stimson Room of the Mount Holyoke College Library. Prof. Werner's talk will focus on the science behind the Dust Bowl, climate change and global water issues. Although the Dust Bowl was not directly caused by human-induced climate change, climate variability along with human mismanagement resulted in one of the largest environmental catastrophes in human history. What do we know about what caused the dust bowl, and what do we know about past and future climate variability and water supplies?
  • October 14th at 7 pm: Alan Werner presents "Good to the Last Drop: Climate Change, Droughts, and Water Availability" at Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown. Prof. Werner's talk will focus on the science behind the Dust Bowl, climate change and global water issues. Although the Dust Bowl was not directly caused by human-induced climate change, climate variability along with human mismanagement resulted in one of the largest environmental catastrophes in human history. What do we know about what caused the dust bowl, and what do we know about past and future climate variability and water supplies?
  • October 20th at 7 pm: "Feasting with Recipes Then and Now: An Exploration of Recipes from 1910-Present" with Chef Liz Barbour of the Creative Feast at Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown: side presentation, cooking demo and tasting. The modern movement of eating locally grown and raised seasonal fare is deeply rooted in our historic kitchens. Food trends change and the historical effects of large scale farming and manufacturing on our recipes and food preparation is worth exploring. Join Creative Feast chef Liz Barbour as she explores our modern journey back to the local farm and your great-grand- mother’s kitchen to learn why food preparation has moved so far from home. Enjoy a cooking demonstration, with samples, of two historic recipes and learn how to alter them for today’s shopping and palate.  Recipes provided.
  • October 22nd at 4:30 pm: Leslie Fields, Head of Archives and Special Collections, presents More Than Words: Caroline Henderson and the Art of Letter Writing in Dwight Hall. Caroline Boa Henderson, Class of 1901, farmed a land claim and raised a daughter in the Oklahoma Panhandle throughout the Dust Bowl years. During this time Henderson also wrote letters to her college classmate Rose Alden recounting both her struggles and her perseverance. These letters are preserved in the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, and are featured in the Archives’ exhibition Love for the Earth, Loyalty to the Land. Leslie will walk us through this exhibition, sharing stories of Caroline’s life at Mount Holyoke and in Oklahoma. Then participants will have the opportunity to read additional letters from the Archives stacks and to practice the art of letter writing through hands-on activities.
  • October 27 at 7pm: "Displacement and Disincorporation: Quabbin Reservoir’s Impact on the Swift River Valley" with Clif Read, Supervisor of Interpretive Service for the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation at Quabbin Reservoir at Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown. The construction of Quabbin Reservoir resulted in the displacement of 2,500 residents of the Swift River Valley in the 1920’s and 1930’s. By chance, the reservoir construction project overlapped with the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years, although it had no direct connection to either aside from the recurring themes of economic and social impacts, displacement, and a test of the human character.

"Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry" was developed by the American Library Association Public Programs Office in collaboration with the libraries of Oklahoma State University and Mount Holyoke College. The exhibition and tour were made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.