Dr. Amy Fatzinger writes for the Atlantic
Learning From Laura Ingalls Wilder
The author’s popular Little House books sought to challenge the way many Americans saw their country’s history, with deeply mixed results.
Just over a century ago, Rose Wilder Lane wrote to her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and suggested that she write about her memories growing up on the American frontier. At the time, Wilder was living in Missouri and writing columns for a regional farm magazine. It took several years before she heeded her daughter’s advice and began recording her childhood experiences in a manuscript titled Pioneer Girl. At first, publishers passed it over, so Wilder reworked her story into a series. The first book, Little House in the Big Woods, was published in 1932 when the author was 65 years old.
Amy S. Fatzinger, PhD is an associate professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona.