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Nerd Nite 20: The Nerdy Dirty Thirties

We are so happy that Nerd Nite is partnering with us again for our Read Across Lawrence selection and the KU Common Book The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. There will be talk of the farm equipment that ripped up the prairie, land erosion’s affect on art, and populist movements born out of hard economic times. Did we mention there will be Nerd Nite pint glasses too?

nerd nite pint glasses

What is nerd nite you ask?

We all know that learning is more fun when you’re drinking with friends and colleagues. Thus, Nerd Nite is a monthly event held in more than 50 cities across the globe during which several folks give 18-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines – while the audience drinks along.  And there are often bands, acrobats, trivia, and other shenanigans as well.  Imagine learning about everything from math feuds or the science of the Simpsons, to the genealogy of Godzilla or debunking beer myths.  Fun, right?  As nerds and non-nerds like to say, Nerd Nite Is Like the Discovery Channel™…with Beer!  (from

Check out our local nerd nite here


Of course this resource list starts out with The Worst Hard Time. But our presenters have other dust bowl resources for you to check out.

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From One Ways to Listers: The Agricultural Equipment that Helped Usher in the Dust Bowl

Beth Beavers


Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s by Donald Worster

Encyclopedia of Antique Farm Implements & Antiques by C.H. Wendel

Farm Collector magazine:

Encyclopedia of the Great Plains:

Texas Plant Information Database at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department:

The National Archives:

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog:

Kansas Memory/Kansas State Historical Society:

The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns

The Plow that Broke the Plains a 1937 documentary that the Farm Security Administration released.

You Need a Continent Against Your Feet: The Dust Bowl and Eroded America

Kate Meyer


Bust To Boom: Documentary Photographs Of Kansas, 1936-1949  by Donald Worster

Hard Times: the 30s Time Life Books

An Introduction to The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck by Dan Stone

Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath by Rick Wartzman

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Harvesting the High Plains : John Kriss and the Business of Wheat Farming, 1920-1950 by Craig Minor

Bound for glory: America In Color, 1939-43 introduction by Paul Hendrickson

Framing America: A Social History of American Art by Francis K. Pohl The Farm Security Administration photos at the Library of Congress. They’re all public domain.




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