Surprising Facts About Laura Ingalls Wilder

ENTERTAINMENT | March 12, 2019

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) as schoolteacher, 1887. Found in the collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Laura Ingalls Wilder (L) and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane (R). Source: (daily.jstor.com)

Did She Even Write The ‘Little House’ Books?

This question has been debated for years. One thing that is generally agreed upon is that Laura’s daughter Rose Wilder Lane worked on the books together. Historians agree that the "Little House" series was a product of collaboration between Wilder and her only daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Rose Lane was a tabloid journalist and ghost-wrote autobiographies for celebrities. Rose is the one who pushed her mother to write her life story and eventually Laura got a publishing deal. Here is where the scholars disagree. Some say Rose basically wrote the books, while others say Rose was simply the editor of the books.

Box set of ‘Little House” books. Source: (pinterest.com)

Fiction or Autobiography?

Laura Ingalls Wilder is best known for her book series, ‘Little House On The Prairie’, which led to the seventies television show. Her books were about her experiences in the American frontier during the late 1800s. Most people think her books are autobiographical, however, they are embellished to the point of fiction. When questioned about the accuracy of her books, she changed her story a few times, saying left out some of the truth and other times admitting she fabricated some stories. She glossed over the fact that her Pa struggled with massive debt, even packing up the family and leaving town in the middle of the night and that she lost an infant son. She has said that she did not want to ruin the good memories by going into these painful ones.

Laura Ingalls Wilder in her later years. Source: (the-tis.co.uk)

She Began Writing At A Late Age

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books did not get published until she was in her late sixties. She had been professionally writing though. She wrote a column for a local newspaper, ‘As A Farm Woman Thinks.’ This gave her practice telling stories, which helped her when she began writing her books.

Laura Ingalls Wilder home in Missouri Source: (Wikipedia.com)

Wilder Lived In The South

Most people think of Laura Ingalls Wilder as living in the Mid-West. She lived in the Mid-West as a child but spent most of her life living in the Ozarks of Missouri. She and her husband Almanzo moved there when she was in her twenties.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award given to authors of children’s literature. Source: (oif.ala.org)

Wilder’s Tarnished Legacy

While Wilder’s books created a television series as will as a host of other products, one of the biggest recognitions came from having an award for authors of children’s books named for her. Unfortunately, her name was recently stripped from this award. The Library Association made their decision to remove Wilder’s name from the award because of the “anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments in her work.” Even though some of her legacy has been blemished, there are still legions of fans around the world. One can visit Walnut Grove in Minnesota, where they host an annual event celebrating the ‘Little House’ books. Her home in Mansfield, Missouri is an historic site and thousands visit each year. Laura Ingalls Wilder passed away in 1957 at the age of ninety.

Tags: 1800s | authors, 1800s | books

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.