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 1870-1945, my last project, and the current one, are more contemporary. I am the author of four 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). 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. My current research interest is in the history of the rural and small town Midwest, and particularly small town Iowa. That interest has led me to a book project, tentatively titled When a Dream Dies: Agriculture, Identity, and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. I particularly enjoy consulting on historical projects. I have recently 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. I am currently advising the developers of a project for WNET New York, California or Dust, a historically based computer game to be used in middle school classrooms.

Professor Riney-Kehrberg will be accepting new PhD students until Fall 2024.