(cross-posted from Little House Travel)
Bad news first, shall we?
The bad news in the world of Laura comes from The Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Missouri. The University of Missouri System announced earlier this week that it was going to shut down its press. This is sobering for the Laura Ingalls Wilder community, as many books—William Holtz’s Ghost in the Little House, Amy Lauters’ The Rediscovered Writings of Rose Wilder Lane, and John Miller’s Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder among them—were published by the University of Missouri Press. (Rose Wilder Lane herself had personal ties to the University of Missouri.)
But the good news—it is fabulous. Pioneer Girl is going to be published! That’s right, the autobiography Laura wrote before the Little House books were published is going to be available through the South Dakota State Historical Society Press in the summer of 2013.
We’ve been waiting a long time for this one. Die-hard fans have copies of the manuscript, which has always been available through the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. But obtaining it has never been easy.
The SDSHS Press has negotiated a deal with the Little House Heritage Trust to publish an annotated version of the autobiography, largely on the strength of 2010 LauraPalooza speaker Pamela Smith Hill’s extraordinary 2007 biography Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life. Pre-order your copy (cost is $35) by emailing the SDSHS Press at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One door closes, another opens.
That’s great about the autobiography being published! I just bought the Kindle version of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life yesterday and it is interesting to read her comparisons between the autobiography and the Little House books. I do find myself wondering what it would be like to read the original book!
That is too bad about the Univ of Missouri Press. Universities are struggling all over the country!
Didn’t Thomas Nelson publish LHitO?
You’re absolutely right that Univ. of Missouri is not the publisher of that book. Thanks for the correction.
Oh how exciting! How long is it?
I hope you and your readers will “like” our FB page, Save the University of Missouri Press, and write a letter to U of Missouri President Tim Wolfe and the powers that be:
U of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe
Jennifer Hollingshead, Dir. Of Public Relations, U of Missouri
Steve Graham, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, U of MO
I hope all those in the Laura Ingalls Wilder community will contact MU president Tim Wolfe at email@example.com or Twitter @MUPrez and let him know how damaging his decision to close the press is. We need to keep the pressure on so he will reverse this misguided decision — I hope you all will pitch in! Just a tweet or short email from as many people as possible will help!
Hey! The University of Missouri Press ain’t dead yet! There’s a vociferous, growing movement to get the UM administrators to rescind their decision!
There’s a Facebook page–a petition to sign–and e-mails to write! Get involved! https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheUniversityOfMissouriPress
I am the Assistant Production Manager at the University of Missouri Press, and I have worked for the university for almost 28 years. I just wanted to share how much I enjoyed working on and reading these books the most. I grew up with the Little House books and the TV series. I remember at our previous Christmas book sales (when we warehoused our books) these books would sell like hotcakes here in our community. I am looking forward to reading “Pioneer Girl”!
The announced closing of the University of Missouri Press is a sad day for friends of Laura Ingalls Wilder who enjoyed a more academic view of her extraordinary life through their wonderful books. But the closing of the Press is also an opportunity for those who love the Little House legacy to create all-new approaches to the study of Laura’s life and the times in which she lived.
I can’t wait to see what comes next. All of our imaginations should be clicking into high gear.
I wonder if South Dakota State Historical Press would be able to ‘pick up’ the printing copyrights from Missouri Press of those LIW and RWL publications. Since they have the rights to publish ‘Pioneer Girl’ it might be fitting.
I wanted to mention that of this date, 4/29/2014, the University Press continues to hum along. They published my 2007 Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farm Journalist, which collects all of the adult advice columns Laura wrote to women from the ‘teens through the twenties of the last century. They form a part of the rest of Laura’s life story in Missouri.
Thank you for the update, Stephen. That is happy news indeed. I will take this opportunity to also thank you for collecting the Ruralist articles in such a dignified form. Your introduction to them was thoughtful and I particularly appreciate your take on LIW’s use of language which could be perceived as racist when reporting upon the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Your books have adorned my shelves for many years.
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