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ERIC Number: EJ791697
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 31
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Saving the Dust Bowl: "Big Hugh" Bennett's Triumph over Tragedy
Smith, Rebecca
History Teacher, v41 n1 p65-95 Nov 2007
In the 1930s, years of injudicious cultivation had devastated 100 million acres of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. This was the Dust Bowl, and it exposed a problem that had silently plagued American agriculture for centuries--soil erosion. Farmers, scientists, and the government alike considered it trivial until Hugh Hammond Bennett spearheaded a national program of soil conservation. The Dust Bowl tragedy developed from the carelessness of plenty. In history's perspective, the Dust Bowl was an economic, environmental, and human tragedy. For Hugh Hammond Bennett, affectionately nicknamed "Big Hugh," the Dust Bowl was only the most dramatic manifestation of the catastrophe of soil erosion. Born on April 15, 1881 on a South Carolina plantation, Bennett learned early the rigors of farm management, developing a love of the outdoors. After working through college, he became a surveyor for the USDA Bureau of Soils, choosing the job so he could work near the land. He traveled extensively throughout North and South America, conducting surveys on the chemistry and condition of soil. Bennett discovered that erosion--by wind or water--was rampant and destructive throughout America. He dedicated himself to the eradication of soil erosion and published a profusion of reports, yet was largely ignored. His ideas contradicted popular belief. This article details how Bennett has triumphed over soil erosion's tragedy for American farmland and the American people. (Contains 56 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A