“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”
– Laura Ingalls Wilder (February 7, 1867 – February 10, 1957)
Many women remember reading the Little House series of books as girls, or watching the Little House on the Prairie television show, which starred Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert and ran from 1974-83. Well, the woman behind these heartwarming stories of life on the Midwestern prairie is Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was born on this day, February 7, in 1867. She lived to the ripe old age of 90, and died three days after her 90th birthday.
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born in Lake Pepin, Wisconsin, and began teaching in rural schools at age 15, according to Biography.com. As a child, her family moved frequently, traveling by covered wagon to Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Indian Territory, and Dakota Territory. At 18 years old, she married Almanzo Wilder, and the two settled down on a farm near Mansfield, Missouri, where they are both buried today.
Biography.com says Wilder was a contributor to McCall’s Magazine and Country Gentleman, served as poultry editor for the St. Louis Star, and for 12 years was home editor of the Missouri Ruralist. But it was her daughter, Rose, who encouraged Wilder to write stories about her childhood experiences.
Little House in the Big Woods was published in 1932, and Little House on the Prairie came out 3 years later. The “Little House” books were well received by the reading public and critics alike, and the pleasant, familial portrayal of a life has charmed generations of readers.
Wilder continued the story of her life in On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937), By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939), The Long Winter (1940), Little Town on the Prairie (1941), and These Happy Golden Years (1943). Her books remain in print to this day.