Sep 2, 2004

Dust Storm, Cimarron County

Dust Storm, Cimarron County


Arthur Rothstein

(American, 1915–1985)

Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1936-1939

Image: 19.7 x 19.1 cm (7 3/4 x 7 1/2 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2001.91



A severe drought in the High Plains during the mid-1930s led to catastrophic erosion of the soil and dust storms. Rothstein took this iconic image while photographing for the Farm Security Administration in the Oklahoma panhandle. “While making my pictures,” he recalled, “I could hardly breathe because the dust was everywhere. It was so heavy in the air that the land and sky seemed to merge until there was no horizon. . . . Just as I was about to finish shooting I saw a farmer and his two sons walk across the fields. As they pressed into the wind, the smallest child walked a few steps behind, his hands covering his eyes to protect them from the dust.”

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.