|Title||:||American Masters Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie to Page|
Laura Ingalls Wilder is celebrated for her autobiographical fiction that helped record the expansion of the American frontier into the Midwest. Laura was born in 1867 to Charles and Caroline Ingalls in a log cabin north of Pepin, Wisconsin in the woods that border the upper Mississippi River: their "Little House in the Big Woods". When she was two years old, she and her family moved to Indian country in the territory of Kansas, the setting for "Little House on the Prairie." They returned to Wisconsin before moving to a dugout dwelling "On the Banks of Plum Creek" near Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Eventually, her father accepted a railroad job in 1879 moving everyone to DeSmet, South Dakota. She began a brief teaching career two months shy of her 16th birthday. That ended when she married 28-year-old Almanzo Wilder. After early years burdened with crop failures and health problems, they ended up in the Mansfield, Missouri area. The Wilders were always short of funds, so their daughter Rose, already a well established writer, encouraged Laura to write her stories to sell to publishers. Her initial autobiography, "Pioneer Girl", was rejected with suggestions to rewrite it for children. Rose was hugely responsible for the successful transformation of this manuscript into the Little House series. The first of those was published when Laura was 65. The pair kept secret that Rose was ghostwriting the books from her mother's notes. This became apparent from letters between the two that have now surfaced.