Cart 0

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Available for the first time and collected in one volume, the letters of one of America’s most beloved authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder—a treasure trove that offers new and unexpected understanding of her life and work.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a vibrant, deeply personal portrait of this revered American author, illuminating her thoughts, travels, philosophies, writing career, and dealings with family, friends, and fans as never before.

This is a fresh look at the adult life of the author in her own words. Gathered from museums and archives and personal collections, the letters span over sixty years of Wilder’s life, from 1894–1956 and shed new light on Wilder’s day-to-day life. Here we see her as a businesswoman and author—including her beloved Little House books, her legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, and her readers—as a wife, and as a friend. In her letters, Wilder shares her philosophies, political opinions, and reminiscences of life as a frontier child. Also included are letters to her daughter, writer Rose Wilder Lane, who filled a silent role as editor and collaborator while the famous Little House books were being written.

Wilder biographer William Anderson collected and researched references throughout these letters and the result is an invaluable historical collection, tracing Wilder’s life through the final days of covered wagon travel, her life as a farm woman, a country journalist, Depression-era author, and years of fame as the writer of the Little House books. This collection is a sequel to her beloved books, and a snapshot into twentieth-century living.

Publishers Weekly

Laura Ingalls Wilder, born in a log cabin in Wisconsin in 1867, published eight novels based on her frontier childhood. The much-loved Little House on the Prairie series has charmed several generations, and an equally beloved TV show based on it aired from 1974 to 1983. Anderson, her biographer and the author of several other Wilder-themed books such as The Little House Guidebook, assembles letters spanning 62 years of her long, productive life, from 1894 to 1956. They mix Wilder’s common-sense advice, acute observations of Americana, and nostalgia for her childhood. Some radiate the pioneer virtues, spirited optimism, and pluck that give Wilder’s books enduring appeal. Others reflect a sharp-eyed entrepreneur intent on building her brand. A number of letters provide rich descriptions of road trips through California and the still untamed West, and in one, Wilder notes she is grateful to be driving in a car, rather than a covered wagon. Wilder was unfailingly gracious to her many fans; she wrote back to one admirer who had sent her a photograph, “You look like a person it would be pleasant to know.” Wilder’s letters display a writer who kept her head amid growing fame, remaining sweet, down-to-earth, and immensely likable until her death in 1957. (Mar.)


“Wilder fans will surely rejoice at this collection, which may also serve to introduce a new generation of readers to this important and much-loved American author.”

More from this collection