Wilder, Laura Ingalls

Biography

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on February 7, 1867, in Pepin, Wisconsin. She lived in the woods and prairie lands of Kansas. Her family kept moving around until 1877, when they finally moved to Dakota Territory where her father was offered a job by Aunt Dacia as a railroad worker. To be exact, the family was one of the first residents of the new town, De Smet.

Wilder was raised in the classic American lifestyle of homesteading, and pioneering. In that time, only the strong survived with courage and hard work. So Wilder grew up strong willed, and in good company with family members having to work together at times to accomplish a common goal. At age 15, Wilder earned her teaching certificate. She was hired by Bouchie School, where she first met Almanzo Wilder. Almanzo Wilder had been helping Wilder by bringing her to and from the Bouchie household, where she was staying. Then Wilder married him on August 25, 1885.  Wilder continued moving from one place to another, only this time with her daughter and husband. These moves included: Spring Valley, Minnesota; Westville, Florida; back to De Smet; and finally to Mansfield, Missouri, where they purchased Rocky Ridge Farm.

Wilder didn’t start writing about her experiences on the prairie until 1932, The 8 volume serious completed in 1943 mostly covered the 1870’s and 1880’s but is generally recognized as fiction, but she drew from her experiences in the Mid West to write the beloved “Little House” series.

Wilder was a gifted writer that everyone fell in love with. She was a happy woman, and had a long and fulfilling life. Wilder was 90 when she died in 1957.

Selected Work

Title: Little House in the Big Woods

Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Illustrator: Garth Williams

Publisher: HarperCollins

Year: 2004

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Format: Paperback; 256 pages; 19.1 cm x 13.o cm

ISBN: 0060581808; 978-0060581800

MARC Record

Little House in the Big Woods–the first book of the series and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first children’s book–is full of the thrills, chills, and spills. Any boy or girl who has fantasized about running off to live in the woods will find ample information in these pages to manage a Wisconsin snowstorm, a panther attack, or a wild sled ride with a pig as an uninvited guest. Every chapter divulges fascinatingly intricate, yet easy-to-read, details about pioneer life in the Midwest in the late 1800s, from bear-meat curing to maple-tree sapping to homemade bullet making. Wilder’s autobiographical tales ring with truth and excitement. Readers will receive a perfectly painless history lesson, and in fact will clamor for more. Beloved illustrator Garth Williams spent years researching young Wilder’s pioneering family. His soft-line illustrations bring to life the full, simple days and nights in the family’s log cabin. (From Amazon.com)

Other Works

Little House on the Prairie. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 1999. Firstly published in 1935. Professor Debbie Reese in UIUC has a commentary of her portrayal of Native Americans: “Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie”.

On the Banks of Plum Creek. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 2004. Firstly published in 1937. Newbery Honor Book, 1938.

By the Shores of Silver Lake. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 2004. Firstly published in 1939. Newbery Honor Book, 1940.

The Long Winter. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 2004. Firstly published in 1940. Newbery Honor Book, 1941.

Little Town on the Prairie. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 2004. Firstly published in1941.  Newbery Honor Book,1942.

These Happy Golden Years. Illustrated by Garth Williams. HarperCollins, 2004. Firstly published in1943. Newbery Honor Book,1944.

More works of Laura Ingalls Wilder could be found here, from Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum.

More Information

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Official Website

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum. This website contains great information about Wilder, the Wilder family and and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum here in Mansfield Missouri.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes. This website introduces Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet, South Dakota.


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