When fans finish the Little House series, they often move on to other things Laura wrote, including her columns in The Missiouri Ruralist. Although some fans don’t like these as they are different in tone and style the “Little House” books, I always did. -SSU
Guest post by Ann Weller Dahl
Few people realize that by no means should Laura Ingalls Wilder be classified solely as a “children’s author” because for 15 years before penning what came to be known as her classic “Little House” books, she was a journalist for a regional publication titled The Missouri Ruralist. In her bi-weekly columns under the heading The Farm Home and later, As a Farm Woman Thinks, she expressed a wholesome, upbeat philosophy of life, ideas as meaningful to us today as they were in the 1910s and early 1920s when they were written. Think about these:
Why should we need extra time in which to enjoy ourselves? … Perhaps it is our spirit and attitude toward life and its conditions that are giving us trouble instead of the shortage of time.
There is time enough for things that matter, if the time is rightly used.
Not long ago a friend said to me “Growing old is the saddest thing in the word.” I cannot agree with her. We gain infinitely more with the years than we lose in wisdom, character, and the sweetness of life.
Life is often called a journey. Usually when referred to in these terms, it is also understood that it is a “weary pilgrimage.” Why not call it a voyage of discovery and take it in the spirit of happy adventure?
It takes thought and planning to have the household machinery run smoothly. … The woman who can do this … has proven her executive ability and business talent.
An opinion, supported by a good reason, kindly stated, should not offend.
In a composite letter written just 10 years before she died at the age of 90, Mrs. Wilder expressed this: … But the real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful, to make the most of what we have, to be happy with simple pleasures, and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
Editor’s Note: Laura’s Missouri Ruralist articles have passed out of copyright since they were almost all published in 1923 or before and therefore are available in many formats.
Some are available in Little House Sampler and Little House Reader, both edited by William T. Anderson. Most are available in the books by Stephen W. Hines (these are edited and he’s released the collection in slightly different formats three times under different titles some in multi-volume sets, search for him as an author). Finally you can find the scanned image and transcript for each article on Nancy Cleaveland’s Pioneer Girl website. -SSU