Sponsor an Original Illustration
Help Us Keep History Alive
Next year will be our 40th anniversary of being open to the public, and it will also mark the 150th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder. So, this time sensitive opportunity couldn’t come at a more befitting time in our history as a local non-profit organization.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the international best selling Little House on the Prairie in 1935, and Garth Williams illustrated her indelibly children’s classic in 1947. He also illustrated other famous works like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. We have the once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire the complete set of 94 original printing proofs signed and notated by Garth Williams himself, used to create one of the most renowned and cherished children’s books ever written. He was commissioned to illustrate all nine in her Little House book series. The print proofs we are trying to obtain are the specific illustrations for the Little House on the Prairie titled book relating directly to Independence, Kansas history.
Once he illustrated a scene from the book he would send it by mail to Harper & Brothers’ publishing house, where they would turn it into a print proof to be duplicated thousands of times in her multinational award winning book series. Harper & Brothers would then make an initial print proof, and send it back to Garth Williams for his approval. At this time he would either approve the print or make changes to it and edit it to his liking. If the print proof garnered his approval he would sign it and send it back to be incorporated as part of the book. If he did not approve of it he would create notes or make changes to the print proof, and send it back for further editing and adjustment. Laura Ingalls Wilder ultimately would correspond with the editors and approved the final product.
All 94 print proofs are the original first time illustrations proofs signed by Williams in the book making process. Some include his changes or notes, while others were approved on the first try and contain only his approval signature. This process continued until each prototype illustration was flawless in his eyes and perfected. The book was ultimately finished and completed to his artistic liking and standards. The print proofs are from 1947, and include all the vintage and universally recognized illustrations from the book. They include the scenes specific to the Independence history of the Ingall’s covered wagon, images of the Osage Indians, and the one-room log cabin now famously recognized by millions. The collection was originally acquired directly by the sale of Garth William’s estate after his death in 1996, and has been authenticated by his several accredited agencies that deal in historical memorabilia.
This is a piece of history that continues to live in the hearts of young children reading the books for the first time and adults returning with the nostalgic whimsy of their youth. We have the unique privilege to bring these timeless gems to our community museum, and more importantly to be seen by the public for all to appreciate and view. We are looking for individuals or companies to sponsor one illustration each. This collection is historically invaluable, and would be easily worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. The individual who is providing us this opportunity is willing to altruistically give it to the museum for a remaining $10,000. Thirteen illustrations have already been sponsored, and we have 81 to go. Each illustration is $125. We are asking you to consider sponsoring an illustration for $125.
Each person or company who sponsors an illustration for $125 will be included on a dedication plaque located directly next to the collection at our site to be hung forever together. Each donor will also receive a frame-able appreciation certificate, and an one-pound bag of Little House on the Prairie Museum Gourmet Coffee flavor of your choice.
This is such a rare, unexpected, and time sensitive situation, that we are appealing to the local Independence community for support. Some organizations inquire for funds every year, but we have been almost completely self-sustaining for the lifetime of the museum’s history. If you will consider contributing to our cause by sponsoring an illustration we would be eternally grateful for your support and philanthropy.
There are so few pieces of memorabilia and history left relating to Little House on the Prairie and Laura Ingalls Wilder, this kind of moment may never transpire again. Thank you for your time and consideration for this incredibly rare event.