Pamela Riney-Kehrberg

U.S. Rural & Agricultural History, Families, & Communities


Office:653 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA


My research focuses on American rural and agricultural history, as well as the history of childhood and youth, and the family. Although most of my work has been in the period from 1875-1945, my last two projects are more contemporary. I am the author of five books: Rooted in Dust: Surviving Drought and Depression in Southwestern Kansas (1994), Childhood on the Farm: Work, Play and Coming of Age in the Midwest (2005), Always Plenty to Do: Growing Up on Farm in the Long Ago (for young readers, 2011), and The Nature of Childhood: An Environmental History of Growing Up in America since 1865 (2014), and When a Dream Dies: Agriculture, Iowa, and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s (2022). I am also the editor of two books: Waiting on the Bounty: The Dust Bowl Diary of Mary Knackstedt Dyck (1999) and the Routledge History of Rural America (2016).

I have published nearly forty articles and book chapters in a number of venues. I also enjoy consulting on historical projects. I worked on the American Library Association’s project "Dust, Drought and Dreams Gone Dry: A Traveling Exhibition and Programs in Libraries about the Dust Bowl," and Ken Burns’ documentary, "The Dust Bowl." Most recently I have collaborated with the National Council on History Education on a project for rural teachers, helping them to bring local history into their classrooms.

I am a past president of both the Midwestern History Association and the Agricultural History Society. I am also a Fellow of the Agricultural History Society, and have received the Society's James C. Giesen Award for Excellence in Teaching Rural and Agricultural History and the Gladys L. Baker Award for Liftetime Achievement.