Pioneer Girl

Pioneer Girl

The Annotated Autobiography

Book - 2014
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Follows the Ingalls family's journey through Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, back to Minnesota, and on to Dakota Territory, [examining] sixteen years of travels, unforgettable experiences, and the everyday people who became immortal through Wilder's fiction. Using additional manuscripts, letters, photographs, newspapers, and other sources, ... Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill adds ... context and leads readers through Wilder's growth as a writer.
Publisher: Pierre : South Dakota Historical Society Press, ©2014
ISBN: 9780984504176
Branch Call Number: 813.52 WIL 2014
Characteristics: lxix, 400 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
Additional Contributors: Hill, Pamela Smith


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Dec 30, 2017

The ultimate book for the adult fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books, containing her never-published autobiography filled with rougher versions of what would eventually become the "Little House" stories, before the tales were polished and material deemed to be too traumatic for kids was excised. Crammed full of fascinating footnotes that give more detail about people, places, and events: who and what they were and what became of them. As a self-admitted history and Laura nerd I absolutely loved it. It will take you awhile to work your way through it but is well worth your journey.

Oct 05, 2017

Just finished this rather intimidating work and am a bit sad to be leaving the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Before reading this book I read a new historical novel about Ma entitled "Caroline: Little House, Revisited" by Sarah Elizabeth Miller. I highly recommend it to others who are Little House fans.

Several things fascinated me about this book. One, we see that Laura Ingalls Wilder most definitely inherited her storytelling talents from Pa. When her journalism experience was combined with that skill, we were blessed with the Little House series. Two, the ways we could see the series unfolding as we read this book. Although some names were changed and events sometimes out of sequence for effect, we still read the Little House books and learn about Laura's childhood. Three, the dynamics of Laura's relationship with her daughter, Rose, and how much she leaned upon Rose for editing assistance. Quite illuminating.

I do admit that at times the footnotes were a bit tedious. The book was so thoroughly researched that each person mentioned in "Pioneer Girl" is also given a back story and a brief summary of their life after their mention in the narrative (if known). I tended to skim over those details. The info I found most interesting was the references to where these nuggets were found in the Little House series as well as comments about the manuscripts of this book. Highly recommended!

Jun 30, 2016

Caution, Wikipedia and Find a Grave were used extensively as sources for the annotations created for this book.
Errors in the first printing include incorrect identification of individuals in a couple of photos.
And Rose Wilder Lane's literary executor's name was spelled Roger, not Rodger.

Visit for accurate information.

Jun 29, 2016

An impressively well-researched tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder. This book is for dedicated fans. I adored her books as a child and reread them many times... but I didn't quite have the stamina to finish this one.

Jan 26, 2016

When I was a little girl, I adored the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Who knew that many years before she published these, her idea was to publish an autobiography for adult readers! The publishing companies didn't think that was a great idea, so she used the draft of that autobiography to write her fictional children's series. This book is the autobiography, with historical and literary annotations. Prior to writing the autobiography, Ingalls Wilder had written newspaper articles on poultry, so she was already used to writing. But the autobiography is a far less polished work than the children's books--you can tell that her descriptive abilities and organization had matured by the time she wrote the latter. Nonetheless, many of the old stories are contained in this volume. Even though it has been decades since I read the children's books, familiar names--Mary Power, Cap Garland, Mr. and Mrs. Boast, Eliza Jane Wilder--are there. The autobiography brings back the wonderful stories about Pa and the bear that turned out to be a large tree stump in the dark, the hard winter when they had to twist hay into sticks to burn, the little girls who--combined--were used to create Nellie Oleson, and many more. Occasionally the annotations get a little annoying--the editor has researched the facts behind virtually every person mentioned in the autobiography--but many of them are very helpful in comparing the fictional work to the nonfictional. If you loved the Little House books, this is a very entertaining volume that will bring back happy memories.

SaraEOPL Jan 26, 2016

For all the girls who grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder, this is the story that started it all. Pioneer Girl was Laura's original manuscript of her childhood and from this she took passages and events and developed her Little House on the Prairie series. This thoroughly annotated version of Pioneer Girl further reveals the story behind the story by providing lots of historical details and facts about the people and events as they actually were. This annotated Pioneer Girl also exposes the dynamic between Laura and her daughter Rose who was helping Laura edit and find a publisher for the story. For those of us who love all things Laura, this is a treat.

Sep 15, 2015

This is a big, beautiful book , abundant with photographs, maps,and facsimiles of the original handwritten text but....Pioneer Girl was Laura Ingalls Wilder's first attempt at writing about her life. It was never published in her lifetime. Finally, the South Dakota State Historical Society has undertaken its publication. Historian Pamela Smith Hill was commissioned to research the project. She has edited and produced this attractive heavily annotated version of Pioneer Girl; no mean feat with LIW's original slim text. I enjoyed what she had to say. Her portrayal of the often fraught relationship between LIW and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane and the influence wielded by RWL on her mother's early writing was enlightening. There is the opportunity to broaden one's knowledge of the people and times portrayed in the Little House Books which have endured as a delightful source of information for young readers about the move westwards to settle America in the C19 and early C20. However, the scope is necessarily limited. There is so much more to the stories told in The Little House Books. There are omissions. I was disappointed that the historian did not include any information about the quilts but they are not mentioned in Pioneer Girl. I see a certain parallel with the publication of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.Pioneer Girl was so obviously the first draft from which The Little House books grew and should be viewed accordingly.
Nevertheless it is a respectful tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder now to have all the additional information available to a wider audience.

Aug 22, 2015

As a LIW nut, I couldn't not pore over this book.

Aug 04, 2015

Beautiful book! Any fan of the Little House series should give this a try, it provides so much insight into the "real" Laura. The Little House books were heavily edited down by her daughter Rose, but her original composition is reprinted into this book. Wilder recollects memories as far back to the beginning of her childhood and recounts thrilling (and sometimes frightening) stories and moments her family experienced.

Jul 21, 2015

For all Little House fans this meticulously annotated book of Wilder's original notebooks is a wonderful journey back to the this beloved series.

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