Packhorse librarians ride in to the Equine History Conference

In an earlier post, I discussed the Equine History Collective and my planned presentation about the packhorse librarians during the Great Depression.

I am pleased to announce that my presentation has been made available to me by the Equine History Collective.

The packhorse librarian story is an underreported tale but critically important to recovering from the Great Depression in rural Kentucky and building the literacy rates in poor communities.

Horses and other equids chartered human economic success and advancement throughout our history. Whether plowing farmers’ fields, hauling coal-filled containers in dangerous coal mines, or powering mass transportation, horses et al., helped define and sustain economies.

One of the New Deal’s most creative initiatives, the Pack Horse Librarian Project, a component of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression, blueprint sought to put people back to work in the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky.

Unemployment shielded another insidious problem: illiteracy.

I have embedded a link to the presentation below. I was thrilled to be a part of the 2021 Equine History Collective Virtual Conference. Click on the triangle in the middle of the screen to begin the recording. The article about the packhorse librarians I wrote for Chronicle Untacked is posted in the Feature Articles portal of this site.

2021 EHC Packhorse Librarians Presentation

The purpose of the Equine History Collective is “to promote the horse as a lens for trans-regional history and serves as an interface for related historical research in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.” If you are a history buff in addition to being a horse aficionado, why not surf over to the Collective’s website to satisfy both of your passions!

In the meantime, stay safe and stay horsey!