Commemorating the 1930s American Dust Bowl

This September Pasadena Public Library will host the very timely “Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry,” national traveling exhibition about the 1930s Dust Bowl, the disastrous drought and dust storms that wreaked havoc on the American Great Plains in the 1930s. A free series of related programs, including lectures, special storytimes and film showings is also planned.


• Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry: A Commemoration of the 1930s American Dust Bowl
The national traveling exhibition features twenty colorful, illustrated panels about the Plains area before, during, and after the Dust Bowl occurred. The exhibit uses images and quotations from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, memories of the Dust Bowl from oral histories and writing, and recent scholarly analysis.
September 2 – October 9
Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m.
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St.


• A Moment in History
Marissa Silver will discuss her book, Mary Coin. In this novel author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photograph as inspiration for a breathtaking reinvention—a story of two women, one famous and one forgotten, and of the remarkable legacy of their chance encounter.
Thursday, September 4, 6 p.m. – Reception, 7 p.m. - Presentation
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St.


• Dust, Drought & Dreams Gone Dry Day
Full day of activities commemorating the Dust Bowl. Vintage automobile display, film discussion of Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl by Dr. Tamara Venit-Shelton, Claremont McKenna College, the music of Woody Guthrie, the Dust Bowl Troubadour by folk singer Ross Altman, Ph.D. and commentary by Dr. Peter Dreier, Occidental College. First-hand account of “Life During the Dust Bowl” from the correspondence of Caroline Henderson presented by Dr. Peter Blodgett, Huntington Library, Art Collections and a Botanical Gardens. “Dust Bowl” era staples – coffee and biscuits in the morning and apple cobbler and lemonade in the afternoon.
Saturday, September 6, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St.


Dust, Drought and Dreams Gone Dry Theme Movies
A month long series of films commemorating the 1930s American Dust Bowl.
Wednesdays at 1 p.m.
Central Library, Donald R. Wright Auditorium
285 E. Walnut St.

September 3
The Dust Bowl Part I
, a film by Ken Burns (2012) PG
Chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American History, when a frenzied wheat boom on the southern Plains, followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation.

•  September 10
The Dust Bowl Part II
, a film by Ken Burns (2012) PG

September 17
The Grapes of Wrath
(1940) NR
Tom Joad, a Depression-era everyman, leads his poor family on a harrowing journey from Oklahoma's Dust Bowl to the promised land of California in this adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic novel.

September 24
Bound for Glory
(1976) PG
Frustrated sign painter Woodie Guthrie leaves his family in Depression-era Texas and heads to California. Work is scarce and hope is even harder to find. But a socially conscious radio performer helps Guthrie bring his music to the masses and inspire generations of Americans. Based on the folk singer's autobiography, the film earned Academy Awards for its lush cinematography and faithful score.


• Stories to Lighten the Load
Tales enjoyed around the campfire by families in search of a better life during the Great Depression. These stories used humor and perspective to “lighten the load” of Americans facing daily struggles to survive.
Wednesday, September 17, 3:30 p.m. at Santa Catalina Branch Library, 999 E. Washington Blvd.
Thursday, September 18, 4 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd.

"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. Pasadena Public Library is one of twenty-five sites throughout the United States and the only one in the state of California selected to present the exhibition and associated public programs in their communities.

For more information, contact Christine Reeder at (626) 744-7076 or creeder@cityofpasadena.net.

Posted: 8/24/2014 06:00:00 PM