2010: Bill Anderson
Our first Laura’s Legacy Award was presented to Bill Anderson, whose contribution to preserving Laura’s legacy over the past five decades is too great to enumerate. He is a researcher, author, and biographer who has served many years on the boards at the Laura Ingalls Wilder museums located in Mansfield, Missouri, and De Smet, South Dakota, edited and produced the Laura Ingalls Wilder Lore newsletter, served as a tour guide in De Smet, “The Little Town on the Prairie,” and shared his wealth of knowledge with countless other Laura Ingalls Wilder researchers and writers.
The Laura’s Legacy Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution toward the preservation of Laura’s legacy.
The award is presented at each LauraPalooza conference to someone nominated by membership of the LIWLRA and past winners and voted on by the Board of Directors.
Submit a Nomination for the next Laura’s Legacy Award
Members of the association and past recipients are welcome to nominate a candidate for Laura’s Legacy Award.
Award recipients must be someone who:
- has made a major contribution toward preserving the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder in some way (please describe in your nomination)
- is still living
- can be contacted (and preferably able to attend LauraPalooza to receive the award in person. Travel expenses are reimbursed for award recipients.)
2012: Barbara Walker and Shirley Knakmuhs
In 2012 we presented two awards. First we presented the award to Barbara Walker, author of the Little House Cookbook, whose extensive research and experimentation in the kitchen has enabled Laura’s admirers to experience Laura’s books through taste.
Our second award in 2012 was presented to Shirley Knakmuhs, early board member at the museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and producer of the first outdoor pageant in this location. She was director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove from 1974-1990 and well known as “Mrs. Oleson” in the Walnut Grove pageant for many years.
2015: John E. Miller and Sally House
We are pleased to announce our 2015 Laura’s Legacy Award recipients: John E. Miller, South Dakota State University history professor emeritus and author of several books pertaining to Ingalls/Wilder research, including biography Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Our second award in 2015 was presented to Sally House who, with her late husband Larry, was highly instrumental in the restoration and preservation of the Almanzo Wilder Farm near Malone, New York.
2017: Jean Coday and Jean Elefson
In 2017 we presented our award to Jean Coday, who served for many years as president and director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum and the Wilder Home and Museum, both in Mansfield, Missouri.
We also honored Jean Elefson, who was instrumental in the establishment and development of the activities at the Little House Wayside during Laura Ingalls Wilder Days in Pepin, Wisconsin.
2019: Ferneva Brimacomb
We are pleased to announce our 2019 Laura’s Legacy Award recipient: Ferneva Brimacomb, former director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa, whose many accomplishments included the designation of U.S. Highway 52 as the “Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway,” and the acquisition of buildings that would become the museum’s visitor center.