Laura Ingalls Wilder
February 7, 2017
“We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd.”
She didn’t publish her first novel until she was 65 years old… but she is one of the most beloved authors of children’s book ever. Who is she? None other than Laura Ingalls Wilder (LIW) who was born February 7, 1867.
I discovered the Little House series when in elementary school and was hooked. The strong characters were as real to me as my friends and family; the settings described in such vivid detail that I felt as if I, too, were a pioneer girl living in the big woods of Wisconsin, on the plains of Kansas, or the brutal prairies of South Dakota. In fact, it was my desire to write stories like LIW which motivated me to capture my thoughts on paper.
As a lifelong fan I have read all of her books and also biographies of her life and, I think, the most interesting book of them all called “The Ghost in The Little House.” This book, based on painstaking research, conjectures that LIW did not write independently but had a co-author.
Her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, was a successful novelist prior to the publication of the Little House books and ‘helped’ her mother with her manuscripts. I do believe it was Rose who breathed life into her mother’s characters and took the excellent bones and, as her ghost writer, turned them into compelling fiction. It was Rose who had connections in the publishing industry and it was Rose who spent a year ‘typing’ each of her mother’s handwritten ‘memoirs’, thus turning them into commercially viable fiction.
Here’s a review of the book by William Holtz with his research to support the ghost writer theory:
For those who want the full experience, you can (like my daughter and I did on a cross country trip in September 2013) visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Mansfield,Missouri: http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/
There are other museums and home replicas in most all of the locations where the Ingalls family lived. The Mansfield one has the advantage of having many of the original artifacts from Laura’s childhood including her handwritten notebooks.
Note: This was one of my first articles on my blog. Since writing this the hubby and I have visited the LIW homesites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota. You can read that article here: https://barbaradevore.com/2019/05/07/on-the-road-to-the-little-house