"They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago."
January 11, 2010 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Beyond Little House A blog dedicated to information about the life and work of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It includes information about the newly formed Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association and the first LauraPalooza conference coming up in July 2010.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (17 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

Thanks so much for this post!! I can never get enough information about either of the two women (LIW and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane).
posted by Melismata at 9:57 AM on January 11, 2010

I devoured LIW's books as a kid, and remember writing a term paper about her at one point which was fascinating to research. I would love to see the exhibit devoted to Mary Ingalls, regarding her achievements as a blind woman in the 19th century; I had never thought about how unusual it was for a blind girl from her background to make it to college in those days. And then I remember that Laura started teaching school at 15 in order to help make Mary's college education happen, and I am amazed all over again at these women.

posted by OolooKitty at 10:25 AM on January 11, 2010

Thanks! I just started reading these to my 3-year-old. Little did I expect that it would be through Laura Ingalls Wilder that he would get his first introduction to what I guess I would call gun culture, for lack of a better term. I had sort of forgotten how handy Pa was with a rifle, as well as how indispensable a tool it was. It's a teachable moment for both of us.
posted by chinston at 10:32 AM on January 11, 2010

Very cool. I loved the Little House books back in the day. Rereading them, I too was amazed at how much younger Laura was in some of the later books than I thought.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:57 AM on January 11, 2010

You can follow Laura on Twitter as well.
posted by donnagirl at 11:02 AM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's some fun with the Little House books: Psyched On The Prairie

I have a Laura tour planned, probably for summer '11. We've been to Pepin several times and I went to the Kansas homesite as a kid, but once my younger daughter has a few of the books under her belt I'd like to hit the road with the girls and zigzag around to each of the homesites in chronological order.

When my older daughter read "Big Woods" and then visited the Pepin museum, it was a major step toward her understanding of mortality and history as concepts.
posted by padraigin at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

And I thought naming festivals *Palooza had died, it comes back almost 20 years after the original.

My wife has read these stories numerous times, and I'm now going through the series. I think we might have a trip to plan this summer.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2010

Here's some fun with the Little House books: Psyched On The Prairie

"On the Banks of Plumb Creek"?! Get off my lawn.
posted by Melismata at 1:17 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is amazing!!! I love it!! Thanks TPS!!

I named my daughter Laura. She calls me Ma. :-)
posted by pearlybob at 2:18 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

An interesting series to read in conjunction with LHotP is Louise Erdrich's "Little Frog"/"Birchbark" series: The Birchbark House, The Game of Silence, and The Porcupine Year.

They're told from the perspective of an Ojibwa girl and set at the same time period as LHotP.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:26 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I found a copy of Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Donald Zochert at a used-book sale, and I've been reading though it. It's frustrating how...lax...it seems in its scholarship, and it's whetted my appetite for information that's a little less romanticized. So: perfect timing for this thread, then!

One thing that struck me during my reading is just how brief a fragment of Laura's life the books actually captured: by eighteen she was married and permanently disengaged from the family and life she described so vividly. In my head Laura's always the young woman with the close-knit family; to realize that it ended so quickly, and that Pa and Ma and Mary died before she even wrote the books makes my inner child alternately petulant and tearful.
posted by brookedel at 2:37 PM on January 11, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best part of the upcoming Laurapalooza: it's gonna culminate in a SPELLING BEE!!!!! I (fingers crossed) will be participating on a panel there, so if you want to try to spell me down I dare you to say hi to me at the con.
posted by mynameisluka at 4:24 PM on January 11, 2010

My sister, who cherished the Little House on the Prairie books as a child, bought them for me. I really enjoyed reading them. I'll never forget the part in Farmer Boy when Almanzo's teacher, after being bulled by a couple of the older boys, brought a blacksnake whip to school and beat the tar out of them in front of the other students before kicking them out of the schoolhouse. I also loved reading about how Laura and her sisters would be out on the prairie and find glass beads left over from local Native Americans. I always wished I would find glass beads when I was outside.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 4:44 PM on January 11, 2010

LHotP is well worth reading as an adult, too.

Her father was frigging insane. Every time the family starts settling in, he uproots them on some crazy-ass adventure across the unknown realms of the nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:52 PM on January 11, 2010

Thanks for posting this, I look forward to looking at these links. I still love these books, even as an adult male. I read them as a kid and reread them every few years. One thing that always killed me, she could write an entire chapter on how to build a door, and then their is one sentence: "Far worst of all, the fever had settle in Mary's eyes, and Mary was blind." I still remember the first time I read that, I was like WTF? and went back to the previous book to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

And the part [SPOILER] where Jack the dog dies. Shit, it still gets me.

I read that book Ghost in the Little House, and remember reading another biography long ago I was disappointed in, maybe the one mentioned upthread. Anyone have a bio of Laura to recommend?

That twitter feed is a hoot.
posted by marxchivist at 9:09 PM on January 11, 2010

Marxchivist: Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder is a pretty definitive one. It mildly rebukes some of the dubious claims in "Ghost in the Little House," which is good. Another one, which just came out, looks at both Laura and Rose in a balanced way, Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life. For concise, brief information about the rest of the Ingalls and Wilder families, check out the series of booklets by William Anderson. For some reason, knowing that Grace had a hard life and was on welfare for some time makes me very sad. And, knowing that Manchester was completely destroyed by a tornado.
posted by Melismata at 7:12 AM on January 12, 2010

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