By Reading Books
The most obvious way to Go Beyond the “Little House” books is to read other books, books By Laura, About Laura, By Rose, and About Rose. So if you’ve reached the end of The First Four Years and think you are done, think again. As most of the books mentioned have come out in multiple editions, the list below includes title, author (if not in the heading for the section), and date originally published. The titles listed below should be available in print, through a used book website or used book store, or through your local library’s InterLibrary Loan program. If you are having difficulty finding one of the titles listed, please e-mail us at: beyondlittlehouse at gmail dot com. Many of these publications have come out in multiple editions over the years. I’ve just listed the earliest one, unless otherwise noted.
Books By Laura
Although the only books Laura wrote during her lifetime were the Little House Series, since her death quite a few other books have come out under her name. Some of these she never intended for publication, others were collections of articles published during her lifetime, and some were adaptations of the original series.
First Four Years (1971) –
Ever since it was packaged with the first paperback box sets of the series in 1971, The First Four Years has been considered part of the series. Laura never intended it to be. She wanted fans to be left with Laura and Manly happily spending their wedding night on their tree claim. However, at some point, there is much debate about exactly when, she tried her hand at an adult novel in the style of her daughter’s Free Land and Let the Hurricane Roar, based on her and Manly’s traumatic first four years of married life. She abandoned it after the first rough draft, with no effort at the polishing she and Rose normally gave the manuscript of one of her books. Roger Lea MacBride declared it the last “Little House” book and saw to its publishing mostly as it appeared in manuscript and Garth Williams added illustrations to make it seem truly part of the set. While not a finished, polished work, it is a must for any Laura fan wanting to know what happened next.
On the Way Home (1962) –
This was the first companion book to come out. Rose edited her mother’s diary that she kept on the trip from De Smet, South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri and added a forward, an afterward, and some historic photographs to close the link between De Smet and Rocky Ridge. Laura’s character and diction shine through this diary and their route can be traced today (as several people have).
West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder to Almanzo Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 edited by Roger Lea MacBride and historical setting by Margot Patterson Doss. (1974) –
This is a collection of Laura’s letters home from the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco. Also included is a story about her trip that she submitted to the Missouri Ruralist.
A Little House Sampler: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, edited by William T. Anderson (1988) –
A collection of writings by the Ingalls and Wilders. Its sequel is A Little House Reader, (1998).
Little House in the Ozarks: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler: the Rediscovered Writings Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Stephen W. Hines (1991) –
This is a highly edited collection of magazine articles by Wilder.
Little House Traveler: Writing from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Journeys Across America by Laura Ingalls Wilder (2006) –
A collection of On the Way Home, West from Home, and a previously unpublished journal of a 1930s trip back to DeSmet, South Dakota.
Books About Laura
These are books that I would consider a core research collection about Laura, arranged in alphabetical order. Short descriptions of why you might be interested follow each title. There are many other books about Laura depending on your focus and interest and this is definitely not a comprehensive list. They are arranged in alphabetical order by title.
Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder by John E. Miller (1998) –
The most comprehensive adult biography to date.
Best of Lore by Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society (2007) –
A good collection of articles from Lore and other places, without updates. The slick paper makes the photos clearer than in Lore.
The Horn Book’s Laura Ingalls Wilder edited by William T. Anderson
– A collection of articles from Horn Book Magazine mainly from the special issue they put out to celebrate the new edition of the Little House books with Garth William’s illustrations.
Ingalls Family of De Smet by Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society (2001) –
This collection is a best of selection of articles from over 25 years of Laura Ingalls Wilder Lore.
Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William T. Anderson (1998) –
A collection of photographs of Wilder artifacts.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical, Biographical, and Teaching Studies by Jane M. Subramanian (1997)-
A collection of citations for articles, videos, filmstrips, academic papers, etc. about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books.
Laura Ingalls Wilder and the American Frontier: Five Perspectives edited by Dwight Miller (2002) –
A collection of scholarly Wilder papers from the 1998 Wilder conference sponsored by the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.
Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane: Authorship, Place, Time, and Culture by John E. Miller (2008) –
A collection of scholarly articles centering around Wilder and Lane in place, time, and culture, with a brief discussion on authorship of the books.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography by William T. Anderson (1992) –
A good basic biography at an upper elementary reading level. He’s the most well-known Wilder scholar. There are no footnotes.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Country by William T. Anderson (1990) –
Photographs and texts of the Wilder sites around the country.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Iowa Story by William T. Anderson (1990) –
The story of the Ingalls family in Burr Oak, Iowa.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook: Favorite Songs from the “Little House” Books by Eugenia Garson (1968) –
A collection of sheet music of songs used in the Wilder books, including where in which books it was used. This is the definitive Wilder music book.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life by Pamela Smith Hill (2007) –
A biography/literary analysis of Wilder’s work.
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Town: Where History and Literature Meet by John E. Miller (1995) –
A collection of essays comparing the Little House books with the actual history of De Smet, South Dakota.
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Walnut Grove by William T. Anderson (2013) – A completely up to date book of the information about and related to Laura in Walnut Grove, everything from the founding of the town to the TV show.
The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories by Barbara M. Walker (1979) –
A collection of historic recipes and where they are in the books.
The Little House Guidebook by William T. Anderson (1996) –
The main resource for Wilder travel information. Now available in a slightly updated 3rd ed.
Prairie Girl: the Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William T. Anderson (2004) –
A short, under 100 page biography.
Searching for Laura Ingalls: A Reader’s Journey by Kathryn Lasky and Meribah Knight (1993) –
A photo essay of Meribah visiting the Laura sites with her parents.
The Story of the Ingalls by William T. Anderson (1967) –
The story of Laura’s family.
The Story of the Wilders by William T. Anderon (1972) –
The story of Almanzo’s family.
The Walnut Grove Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William T. Anderson (1987) –
The story of the Ingalls family’s time in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.
Books By Rose
This is not a complete list of books by Rose Wilder Lane, but it does list the titles that should be readily available through libraries:
Discovery of Freedom (1943 – Also available on CD in a very limited release)
Islam and the Discovery of Freedom (1997 – Edited and updated from Lane’s book by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad)
Faces at the Window (1972)
Free Land (1938)
Home Over Saturday (1974)
Let the Hurricane Roar (1938)
Old Home Town (Reprint 1985)
Young Pioneers (1976 – first published under this title, originally entitled Let the Hurricane Roar).
Books About Rose
These are books that either discuss Rose Wilder Lane in depth or at least include a chapter about her in a longer work.
Black Lambs and Grey Falcons: Women Travelers in the Balkans by John B. Allcock & Antonia Young [ed.] (1991) –
Features a chapter on Rose and Albania.
Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane: Forty Years of Friendship: Letters, 1921-1960 (1991) –
A collection of letters between two famous authors and friends.
Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz (1993) –
Up to this point the only true scholarly biography of Lane, it helped reintroduced her to the scholarly world.
Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder by John E. Miller (1998) –
This Wilder biography also serves to balance some of the claims made in Holtz’s work. If you read one, read both.
The Lady and the Tycoon; Letters of Rose Wilder Lane and Jasper Crane (1983) –
Letters between Rose and newspaper giant and political activist Jasper Crane.
Laura’s Rose by William T. Anderson (1976) –
This slim volume is the best introduction available. This series is heavily revised and updated with every edition, so try to find the newest one you can – 1976 is the original edition.
The Rediscovered Writings of Rose Wilder Lane, Literary Journalist by Amy Mattson Lauters (2007) –
A collection of some of Rose’s magazine writing in chronological order.
Rose Wilder Lane: Her Story by Rose Wilder Lane and Roger Lea MacBride (1977) –
This widely owned biography is actually a novel Lane wrote that MacBride changed a few details in to bring it a little closer to Rose’s actual life up to approximately 1920. Thankfully there are now much more accurate biographies.
Rose Wilder Lane’s San Francisco by Trini Wenninger (2005) –
Locations and descriptions of the places Rose lived, knew, and visited in and around San Francisco.
Travels with Zenobia: Paris to Albania by Model T Ford by Rose Wilder Lane and Helen Dore Boylston (1983) –
Rose’s diary as she and a friend explored a Europe that would soon disappear forever.
Writers of Conviction: the Personal Politics of Zona Gale, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Rose Wilder Lane, and Josephine Herbst by Julia C. Ehrhardt (2004) –
Features a section on Rose and her political writings.
Last Updated: September 7, 2013