Laura Ingalls Wilder: New Book Features Personal Letters Of ‘Little House On The Prairie’ Author

Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved Half Pint portrayed by Melissa Gilbert in the Little House on the Prairie television show, is still releasing books over half a century after her death. Last year, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography was released, and now, in what is being considered a sequel, The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder will hit bookshelves next week, on March 8.

'Little House' Author
Photo of the real Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957, author of the beloved Little House books. [Image via Wikipedia]
The Wilders
Laura Ingalls and her husband Almanzo Wilder in 1885. [Image via Wikipedia]
The Inquisitr previously reported that the autobiography, entitled Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1930, two years before her first book was published. While Laura meant for her books to appeal to children, she therefore kept the darker side of life from her stories. Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography, however, included a more truthful account of the difficult life on the prairie, and the tragic events that went along with it.

The autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder was unsurprisingly well received, rocketing to the number one spot on Amazon. Apparently, we still cannot get enough of the Ingalls clan. Michael Landon, who played Laura’s father, Charles Ingalls, went to great lengths to ensure the historical accuracy of the show. His words pinpoint the reason for the raging success the Little House series has always enjoyed.

“The main values of Little House on the Prairie are little things that nobody seems to care about anymore, the simple needs of people and how difficult it was in those days out West to supply them.”

Laura Ingalls fans will be thrilled to learn that this new installment into the wildly popular series features actual letters from Laura to her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. The Wall Street Journal reports the publishing company, Harper, has released this collection of letters as a sequel, or companion, to last year’s autobiography.

Ingalls Wilder Daughter
Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura and Almanzo Wilder, looks quite a lot like her mother.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder begins in 1894, about ten years after her autobiography ends, and takes us throughout the rest of her life, up to her death in 1957. Little known facts are revealed in this book, including one heartbreaking night when the Ingalls family had to leave town in the dead of night to avoid a rent bill they could not pay. This was perhaps one of the darkest times of their lives, being so in debt due to a measles outbreak, a frightening bout of spinal meningitis for Laura’s sister Mary, and the tragic illness and death of her baby brother. Laura wrote the following to Rose:

“I know Pa sent money for doctors bills after he was working for the railroad. But Pa was no businessman, He was a hunter and trapper, a musician and poet.”

Rose Wilder Lane became a popular author well before Laura, leading some to believe that she may have been a ghostwriter for her mother. William Anderson, editor of the collection, argues the letters show that, while Laura and her daughter did work together on editing and other such details, the stories were indeed penned by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum will be selling first edition copies of the new book. As mentioned on the Facebook page, “The book contains hundreds of letters Laura wrote between 1894-1956; truly an account of her adult life in her own words. We invite you to buy the book from the place where most of Laura’s letters were written.”

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder will be released on Tuesday, March 8. Grab your copy and let the magic of Little House draw you in once again.

[Image via Shutterstock]