Date of Award
Master of Arts
Charles M. Dobbs
In 1873 Nathaniel B. Baker of Iowa was probably the nation's most powerful Adjutant General and one of the most popular public servants in the state. However, both the powers of his office and his own reputation increased when northwest Iowa experienced several grasshoppers' plagues, which left the area's inhabitants destitute and forced Baker to construct a massive relief effort. Baker accepted the task in order to aid the unfortunate settlers, especially his former soldiers, "His Boys," who had homesteaded in northwest Iowa. This chapter of grasshopper infestation in American history, which devastated nearby states as well as Iowa, illustrated how both individuals and governments reacted to natural disasters during the post Civil War period and the politics involved with aiding the victims. At the same time, it illuminated the personal values and dedicated relief efforts of Baker.
Matthew M. Colbert
Colbert, Matthew M., "General Nathaniel B. Baker and the grasshopper plagues in northwest Iowa, 1873-1875" (2009). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 10551.