The Private Lives of Authors: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on the 7th of February, 1867 and died on the 10th of February, 1957. The American writer was best known for the children’s book series Little House on the Prairie (1932 to 1943), based on her childhood as a part of a settler and pioneer family.

A television series was produced in the 70s and 80s and was loosely based on Ingalls’ books- it starred Melissa Gilbert as Laura and Michael Landon as her father, Charles. She is still celebrated today all across the USA, with museums and honouring her, and her name marking her previous homesteads throughout the country.

Rumour says her daughter helped write the famous books

Rumor has it that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose, helped write and edit the Little House book series.  The mother-daughter team apparently didn’t always get along but records show how Rose had helped with Pioneer Girl, Laura’s autobiography, and her notes can be found in the margins of an original Little House manuscript.

Laura and her sisters were mostly home educated

They moved so much as children that formal education was difficult. They did attend regular schools in a one-room schoolhouse whenever they could alongside other homestead families. Anyone who grew up on a farm knows how much work there is to do, so school work fell by the wayside in favour of keeping the farm going. The family also moved so much it wasn’t possible to stick to one school.

She was distantly related to President Roosevelt

Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family were distantly related to the 32nd President of the United States- Franklin Delano Roosevelt- the president best known for his ‘New Deal’ during the Great Depression.

Their genealogical link goes back to Laura’s great-grandfather, Samuel Ingalls, who married into the Delano family. The union of Samuel and Margaret produced Laura’s grandfather, Lansford Whiting Ingalls. The Delano and Ingalls family can trace their heritage back to the Mayflower, along with two more presidents- Franklin Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge- who can also trace their family back to the Delanos’s on the Mayflower.

Her first writing job was at a newspaper

Laura Ingalls Wilder started her writing career in 1911 and wrote until 1924 as a columnist for the Missouri Ruralist- a paper that was aimed at farmers and people who lived in rural areas. Laura’s column provided advice on a number of topics, and she took advantage of the fact people would be reading by pushing her own feminist agenda. In some of her articles she explained how women are equal partners to their husbands and helped explain what they could do with their newly-won right to vote.

She became a teacher at age 15

Despite her limited formal education, Laura passed exams and became a teacher at age 15. She needed to earn money for her family after her sister Mary was sent to a special school for the blind so Laura worked at Bouchie School- 12 miles away from her family’s farm- and stayed there during the week to avoid the treacherous journey to and from home.

She overcame many obstacles in her life, and endured much tragedy

Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder married in 1885, and married life was tough. They both contracted diphtheria 3 years after their wedding and her husband Almanzo almost lost his life to a stroke while in recovery. They lost their second child, an unnamed son, 9 days after his birth in August of 1889.

Later that same month their farmhouse burned down so they moved to Florida in hopes of a better life but did not settle until they moved to Missouri via South Dakota.

Remembering Herman Wouk, 1915-2019

By | Authors, News | No Comments
Every year at this time, the entire For Reading Addicts team remarks at how old Herman Wouk is. But this year when checking birthdays we were faced with the sad news that Wouk passed away on May 17th, just before his 104 birthday.

Born in the Bronx to Russian Jewish descendants on 27th May 1915, Bronx grew up as part of a struggling family in poverty. After his childhood, Wouk earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 19 from Columbia University and went on to serve as the editor of the university’s humor magazine, The Columbia Jester and thereafter would become a radio dramatist.

Read More

Author Judith Kerr dies, aged 95

By | Authors, Children's Literature, News | No Comments
The author, Judith Kerr, best known for her children’s story The Tiger Who Came to Tea has died, aged 95 according to a statement from HarperCollins today. Kerr was considered to be one of Britain’s most successful children’s authors and was still producing stories and illustrations well into her 90s.

A skilled illustrator, and the ability to see the world from a children’s perspective made Judith Kerr one of the most talented children’s writers the world has ever seen. From the Tiger Who Came to Tea, to the Mog the Cat stories, Kerr had a way of talking to children and passing on important messages.

Read More

The Life of Dorothy Hewett, Feminist Poet, Novelist and Playwright

By | Authors, Poetry | No Comments
Dorothy Hewett (May 21st, 1923 – August 25th 2002) was an Australian poet, novelist and playwright known for her feminist writings. Considered one of Australia’s best-loved and respected writers, Hewett published many poetry collections, plays and novels, a lifetime’s work that earned her the accolade ‘The Order of Australia”.

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Hewett was raised on a sheep and wheat farm. She was initially home educated before attending Perth College, aged 15. While the college was run by Anglican nuns, Hewett was an atheist and remained so her entire life.

Read More

8 Armistead Maupin Quotes that are Straight from the City

By | Authors, Quotations | No Comments
Armistead Maupin (13th May 1944) is an American writer best known for his Tales of the City, a series of novels set in San Francisco.

Maupin was born in Washington DC and graduated from Needham Broughton High School before attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first foray into writing was as a journalist for The Daily Tar Heel.

In 1974 he began what would become Tales of the City as a colum in the Pacific Sun newspaper, moving to the San Francisco Chronicle after the Sun’s San Francisco edition folded. Read More

8 Profound Quotes from Tana French

By | Authors, Quotations | No Comments
Tana French (May 10th, 1973) is an American-Irish novelist and theatrical actor, best known for her crime fiction novels. Born in Vermont, French has lived in several countries including Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, due to her father’s job as an international economist. Today she resides in Dublin.

French loved both acting and writing from an early age and her debut novel, In the Woods, published in 2007 won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry awards for best first novel. Today we’re looking at the author through some of her quotes, and the books they appeared in.
Read More

Leave a Reply