Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941
Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection is an online presentation of selections from a multi-format ethnographic field collection documenting the everyday life of residents of Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant work camps in central California in 1940 and 1941. The collection as a whole consists of approximately 18 hours of audio recordings (436 titles on...
American Folklife Center - Library of Congress. National Digital Library Program
Research Compiled | Correspondence | Publications | Other Recordings | Selected Bibliography
Rights and Access
The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the material in this collection, except as noted below. Users should keep in mind that the Library of Congress is providing access to these materials strictly for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other holders of rights...
Charles Lafayette "Lafe" Todd
Charles Lafayette "Lafe" Todd was born in rural western New York State on December 9, 1911. As an undergraduate studying English literature at Hamilton College, he developed an interest in the Elizabethan ballad. In the late 1930s, while doing graduate work at Columbia University in New York City, Todd lived in Greenwich Village, where he frequented the Village Vanguard, a local night spot. Here...
Robert Sonkin was born into an orthodox Jewish family in The Bronx, New York, in 1911. Sonkin, who held degrees from both City College (now the City College of the City University of New York) and Columbia University, founded the speech clinic at City College. He met Charles L. Todd while they were both working in the Department of Public Speaking at City College...
The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Collecting Expedition
The ethnographic collection created by Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin provides a glimpse of the everyday life and cultural expression of people living through a particularly difficult period of American history, the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. The motivation for the Todd/Sonkin expedition to document life in the FSA migrant camps of California arose from a combination of circumstances. Charles L. Todd...
The Migrant Experience
A complex set of interacting forces both economic and ecological brought the migrant workers documented in this ethnographic collection to California. Following World War I, a recession led to a drop in the market price of farm crops and caused Great Plains farmers to increase their productivity through mechanization and the cultivation of more land. This increase in farming activity required an increase in...