Due to scheduled maintenance, parts of MNHS.org will be inaccessible for a period of several hours starting around 5:00 PM (CDT) on Monday, April 21.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

From Little Town on the Prairie (1941) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

She saw the hoe, and the colors of the earth, and all the leafy little lights and shadows of the pea vines.  She had only to glance up, and she saw miles of blowing grasses, the far blue skyline, the birds flying, Ellen and the calves on the green slope, and the different blues of the sky, the snowy piles of huge summer clouds.  She had so much, and Mary saw only darkness.

She hoped, though she hardly dared to, that perhaps Mary might go to college that fall.  Pa was making so much money.  If Mary could only go now, Laura would study with all her might, she would work so hard that surely she could teach school as soon as she was sixteen years old, and then her earnings would keep Mary in college.

Biographical Notes

Birth: February 7, 1867, Pepin, Wisconsin
Death: February 10, 1957, Mansfield, Missouri

Author, editor, and columnist Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder homesteaded with her parents and sisters in Pepin, Wisconsin from 1867-69 and 1871-73; Montgomery County, Kansas from 1869-71; Plum Creek (near Walnut Grove) and Walnut Grove (Redwood County), Minnesota from 1874-76 and 1877-80; Burr Oak, Iowa, from 1876-77; Silver Lake (later DeSmet), South Dakota (Dakota Territory) from 1880-90; Spring Valley (Fillmore County), Minnesota in 1890; and Florida in 1891.  She worked as a seamstress in DeSmet from 1891-94 and farmed at Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri from 1894-1957.  She was a columnist for periodicals from 1911-32, including as the household editor of the Missouri Realist from 1911-23.  Wilder authored nine children's books based on her life experiences.  They are immensely popular chronicles of frontier life on the prairie in the 1870s-80s.  She received the Newbery Honor Book award in 1940, 1941, and 1942, and the Henry Hartman Young Readers Award from the Pacific Northwest Library Association in 1939.  The Children's Library Association established the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1954.  The popular television series based on her stories of growing up in Walnut Grove, Little House on the Prairie, ran from 1974-84 and continues in syndication.  She married Almanzo J. Wilder and had one daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was also an author.  Her family genealogy can be traced back through her father, Charles P. Ingalls, to the early 1500s (see the book The Pepin Story of the Ingalls Family).

Selected Works
The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog.  Please click on your browser's back button to return.

• By the Shores of Silver Lake
• Farmer Boy
• The First Four Years
• Little House in the Big Woods
• Little House on the Prairie
• Little Town on the Prairie
• The Long Winter
• On the Banks of Plum Creek
• These Happy Golden Years
• West From Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder to Almanzo Wilder, San Francisco, 1915
• Words from a Fearless Heart: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Whimsy

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Links

• Search PALS Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society’s library
• Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman behind the Legend by John E. Miller
• The Genealogy and History of the Ingalls Family in America by Charles Burleigh
• The Ingalls Family from Plum Creek to Walnut Grove Via Burr Oak, Iowa by Irene V. Lichty
• Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Bibliography: Writings by and about Laura Ingalls Wilder by Mary J. Mooney-Getoff
• Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography by William Anderson
• Laura Ingalls Wilder: Her Life and Work by Jacquelyn A. Kitzmiller
• Little House on Rocky Ridge by Roger Lea MacBride
• The Pepin Story of the Ingalls Family by William Anderson
• Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
• The Wilder Family Story by Dorothy Smith

Web Links

• Beyond Little House - Newsletter
• Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum - Laura Ingalls Wilder - Information and activities for students and educators
• Ingalls Homestead Laura’s Living Prairie - Brief history of Wilder in De Smet, South Dakota
• Laura Ingalls Wilder Frontier Girl - Biography, maps, family trees, songs, blog
• Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum - Brief history
• Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society - History, maps, and a Laura Ingalls Wilder FAQ 
• National Archives - Ingalls homestead land records
• National Archives - Prologue Magazine - Article about the Ingalls and Wilder homesteads
• Pioneer Girl - Biography, song list, bibliography, and researcher blog
• Walnut Grove - Information on the Wilder museum, annual pageant, and homestead site in Walnut Grove, Minnesota
• Wisconsin Historical Society - Brief biography

See More

Author Entry Citations - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Words from a fearless heart : a collection of wit, wisdom, and whimsy

Words from a fearless heart : a collection of wit, wisdom, and whimsy. See ... [more]


A Little House sampler

A Little House sampler. See ... [more]


West from home : letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder to Almanzo Wilder, San Francisco, 1915

West from home : letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder to Almanzo Wilder, San Francisco, 1915. See ... [more]


Little town on the prairie

Little town on the prairie. See ... [more]


Laura E. Wilder