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

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I first became acquainted with Mary Knackstedt Dyck's diary in the spring of I989, when I interviewed her elder daughter, Thelma Warner, of Syracuse, Kansas. I was working on my doctoral dissertation and listening to the oral histories of dozens of residents of southwestern Kansas, asking them about their experiences during the dust bowl era. I also would ask my subject if he or she had saved any materials from that era that might be useful to me, such as letters, photographs, and diaries. At the end of my interview with Thelma Warner, she turned to me and said, ''You know, I have my mother's diary." She walked into her living room, pulled out a large potato chip tin, and opened it. Inside were hundreds of pages of lined notebook paper, covered with faded entries, written in pencil. At the conclusion of my visit, Mrs. Warner loaned me several large chunks of the diary dating to the I93os. It was a very generous act that greatly improved the quality of the dissertation and subsequent book, Rooted in Dust: Surviving Drought and Depression in Southwestern Kansas.


This material was excerpted from the book Waiting on the Bounty: The Dust Bowl Diary of Mary Knackstedt Dyck, written by Dr. Pamela Riney-Kehrberg and published by the University of Iowa Press. Copyright © 1999 by University of Iowa Press. Archived with permission. All rights reserved.

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