Undergraduate Research Journal


This paper will tell the story of Joseph Daniel Lacher a Great Plains farmer during the Great Depression years of 1933-1942. Lacher worked tirelessly on his small farm near Ipswich, South Dakota, to provide for his family and prolong his way of life during arguably the most difficult economic era in United States history. From drought to dust, Lacher faced many of the challenges that most people commonly associate with the Dust Bowl, but he also faced personal and regional challenges that make his story unique and genuinely human. Lacher wrote down details of these trying times in a series of personal journals that he started in 1933 and kept until eight years before his death in 1991. For the purposes of this paper, Lacher’s journals from 1933-1942 will be used to tell the story of a humble man and his struggle to overcome the environmental and economic challenges faced by millions of Americans during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl on the Great Plains.

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