Laura Ingalls Wilder

(1867-1957), American

Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of the most beloved authors in American history. She was born in 1867 and lived a full and vibrant life until her passing in 1957. Wilder wrote nine books that have since become classics, particularly her ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series. Laura’s Ingalls Wilder’s best books have been adapted into television shows, movies, plays, and countless other works.

Life Facts

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on February 7, 1867, in Pepin, Wisconsin.
  • In 1882, at the age of fifteen, Laura met Almanzo Wilder while attending a dance in South Dakota.
  • Laura and Almanzo had one daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was born in December 1886.
  • She wrote her first novel about her life on the American frontier in Mansfield, Missouri.
  • The ‘Little House’ book series was published from 1932-1943 and is still popular today.

Interesting Facts

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder is best known for her book series ‘Little House on the Prairie.’
  • She was a teacher before she became an author.
  • She wrote the ‘Little House’ books based on her own experiences as a child in a pioneer family.
  • She received numerous awards and recognitions for her work.
  • Today, there are multiple historic museums dedicated to her.

Famous Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods – This is the first book in the “Little House” series and tells the story of the Ingalls family living in a log cabin in Wisconsin. It details their daily life, as well as the different animals they encounter and the adventures they go on.

Little House on the Prairie – The third installment of the series finds the family moving to Kansas, where they face a number of challenges, including dealing with native Americans and extreme weather. The novel offers an insight into the lives of pioneers in 19th-century America.

Farmer Boy – This book tells the story of Laura’s husband, Almanzo Wilder, growing up on a farm in New York state. It follows his daily life as he works on the farm and attends school, as well as exploring his imagination through outdoor adventures.

On the Banks of Plum Creek – This book tells the story of the Ingalls family moving to Minnesota and building a dugout home near Plum Creek. It follows them as they explore their new environment, discovering prairie flowers and dealing with wild animals.

These Happy Golden Years – The eighth book in the series focuses on Laura’s teenage years. She moves away from home and works as a teacher, as well as falling in love and planning her future.

The First Four Year – This book was released posthumously and was written by Laura’s daughter Rose Wilder Lane based on her mother’s notes. It tells the story of Laura and Almanzo’s first four years of marriage, during which time they face poverty and harsh winters.

Early Life

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the small town of Pepin, Wisconsin, to Charles and Caroline Ingalls. She was the second of five children and the oldest daughter in the family. Laura’s childhood was spent in the Midwest, with her family moving around frequently, living in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota. She had limited formal education; however, she was homeschooled by her mother, who taught her how to read and write.

From an early age, Laura had a great love for reading, particularly stories about pioneer life in the wilderness.

Laura eventually returned home, and in 1885, she married Almanzo Wilder, and they moved to their own homestead in De Smet, South Dakota. There, they started a family and lived through the harsh prairie winters, tough times, and the thrill of finally earning their own land.

Literary Career

Laura Ingalls Wilder is best known for her classic “Little House” series of books that tell the story of her family’s life on the American frontier in the late 1800s. Wilder began her literary career in 1932 with the publication of ‘Little House in the Big Woods,’ the first book in the series. The next eight books in the series followed, and Wilder soon became one of America’s best-loved authors.

The books have been translated into more than 40 languages and have been adapted into movies, stage plays, musicals, and television shows. Many of her books have become classics, with ‘Little House on the Prairie’ being her most famous work. Wilder also wrote several non-fiction books, including ‘Pioneer Girl,’ a memoir of her life on the prairie. She was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the American Library Association in 1954 for her contribution to literature for children.

Wilder’s legacy lives on through her books, which are still popular today. Her stories about growing up on the frontier during the 19th century offer a glimpse into a past era and remind readers of the importance of perseverance and resilience.

Later Life and Death

Laura Ingalls Wilder lived a long and fulfilling life, passing away on February 10th, 1957, at the age of 90. After her husband Almanzo passed away in 1949, Laura continued to live on their Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, until her death. She wrote a total of nine books about her life as a child, including the well-known ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series.

In the early 1950s, Laura began working with her daughter Rose Wilder Lane on editing her manuscripts for publication. She was incredibly dedicated to ensuring that her stories were historically accurate, often sending letters and asking questions to verify facts.

During this time, she also made several speaking engagements in order to promote her work and share her story with others. By the time of her death, Laura’s stories had been translated into 14 languages. 

Literature by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Explore literature by Laura Ingalls Wilder below, created by the team at Book Analysis.