Laura Ingalls Wilder Autobiography: New Book ‘Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography’ To Be Published This Week

November 17, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography entitled Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is set to be released on Monday, November 17th, 2014. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is based on an unfinished manuscript written by Wilder in 1930. In the autobiography, the author of Little House on the Prairie, shares insider details about the people she met, the adventures she lived while traveling through six states during 16 years.

laura ingalls wilder autobiography

Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s autobiography perfectly titled Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography will be made available on November 17th, 2014 via South Dakota Historical Society Press.

It has taken more than 80 years to publish the book. According to South Dakota Historical Society Press Marketing Director, Jennifer McIntyre, a great portion of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography was written in 1930, but Laura Ingalls Wilder was unable to convince a publisher to release her work.

Wilder went on to have great success with the Little House on the Prairie series that were published between 1932 and 1943.

McIntyre explained that it took so many years to release the book because the manuscript was written with a number-two pencil, and it was very difficult understanding some of Ingalls Wilder’s handwritten notes dating from 1930. McIntyre shared:

“Most of the time, she seemed to write very clearly, but there were some words that all of us in the office would have to gather around and kind of try and figure out what she actually wrote, just because they were faded or as she was writing the manuscript it was just the free-flow of thought.”

McIntyre went on to reveal that readers will gain a more realistic insight into frontier life via Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.

The book follows the Ingalls family as they travel from Big Woods of Wisconsin in 1869, when Laura was two years old, to Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and to De Smet, South Dakota where they settled for good in 1879.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography was pieced together using additional manuscripts, letters, photographs, maps, newspapers provided by biographer, Pamela Smith Hill.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is nothing like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s children’s novels, it contains more graphic details about pioneer life, including domestic abuse, love triangles gone terribly wrong, and a drunk man who lit himself on fire. McIntyre shared:

“It’s not something that’s risque or adult-content, it’s that she wasn’t writing for children, she was writing for an adult audience, so she didn’t use third-person like she did in her novels, she was writing in first-person, she didn’t use simple sentence structures, she was just telling her story.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography is available via Amazon for $25.45.


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