In 1938 she returned to California to work for the Farm Security Administration. While with FSA, she kept detailed notes on the tent camps of the Dust Bowl migrants to California, that were loaned to John Steinbeck by her supervisor Tom Collins. She turned the stories she collected into her novel, Whose Names Are Unknown. Bennett Cerf planned to publish the novel with Random House, but the appearance of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath caused publication to be shelved in 1939. Her novel didn’t get published until 2004.
I love The Grapes of Wrath; I studied The Grapes of Wrath. I didn’t know this story–and had never heard of Sanora Babb–until right now.