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Waiting on the bounty : the Dust Bowl diary of Mary Knackstedt Dyck /
edited by Pamela Riney-Kehrberg.
Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, 1999.
xiv, 365 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
0877456941 (cloth : acid-free paper)
More Details
Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, 1999.
0877456941 (cloth : acid-free paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-04:
"Today is sleepy time a(t) Henry Dyck's Ranch in the Dustbowl ...," Mary Knackstedt Dyck wrote, May 26, 1937, in Hamilton County, (southwestern) Kansas. Dyck, her husband, and their children toughed it out, stoically accepting the erratic weather of the Great Plains beyond the 100th meridian. Somehow they survived the Great Depression. With the publication of her diary (1936-41), Dyck's experiences are available to all. Riney-Kehrberg (Illinois State Univ.), author of Rooted in Dust: Surviving Drought and Depression in Southwestern Kansas (CH, Jan'95), has edited the journal unobtrusively. Dyck speaks instead (usually in third person); entries are heartrending. The Dycks are not victims of time and place. They overcame loneliness and backbreaking labor, and the dust that covered the landscape. Occasionally despair overtakes Mary: "First thing after breakfast [Mary] cleans dust then she gets bluer and bluer and cries and cries some more. She thinks things are as worse, as they can get ... the worst is yet to come...." Yet the Dycks wait for the bounty, as all farmers do, until next year. This is "history from the inside out"--a moving historical document. All levels. P. D. Travis; Texas Woman's University
Appeared in Library Journal on 1999-10-15:
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.ÄLinda L. McEwan, Elgin Community Coll., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, October 1999
Choice, April 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Unpaid Annotation
The daughter of German immigrants, Mary Knackstedt married Henry Dyck, a Mennonite farmer, and in 1905 moved west to a settlement near Lamont Township in Hamilton County, Kansas. For the next thirty years they enjoyed growth and prosperity. Then the drought and dust storms that had driven many farmers from the region in the early years of the century returned. The Dycks remained on their farm and witnessed the mass exodus of farmers and townspeople -- including close friends and family -- who fled the Kansas wheat country to find work.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 common-place 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.
Table of Contents
A woman and her worldp. 1
Work, family, and "playing hookie" : 1936p. 29
Blowing dust and departures : 1937p. 44
A little snow, a little rain, and hope : 1938p. 111
Dust and hope deferred : 1939p. 161
Blizzards, rain, and bounty : 1940p. 228
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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