Juliana Nykolaiszyn

Assistant Professor; Oral History Librarian, Oklahoma State University

As a librarian and oral historian, I spend time not only recording interviews across a wide variety of topics but also focus on preservation and access. As part of HiPSTAS, I plan on working further with the Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry: Oklahoma Women and the Dust Bowl Oral History Project housed at the OSU Library.

In the early 2000s, it became evident that while women played an important role in keeping the family together, the disaster was almost always recorded from the male perspective. Thus work began in developing an oral history project to not only enhance the Women’s Archives at the OSU Library but also serve as a way to fill gaps in the literature regarding the experiences of women in the Dust Bowl. Over two years, project investigators located and interviewed over one hundred women individually or in groups about what they recalled from living during the period of 1932 to 1940 in the areas of Oklahoma typically identified as the epicenter of the Dust Bowl. The women interviewed shared accounts of canning and home remedies, square dances and weddings, hobos, gypsies and bootleggers, rabbit drives, the killing of their cattle, and full details of coping with dust from what has been called the worst natural disaster ever.

While audio and full-text transcripts are online for this particular collection, I am looking forward to enhancing access through insights gained from participation in the HiPSTAS program.

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