Laura Keyes

My paperback copies of Mrs. Wilder’s Little House books were a gift from my older sister, but I had already read through them many times before I received them. My two sisters and I cannot remember a time when we didn’t know the stories, and we even tried to recreate scenes by playing dress-up and exploring my family’s property in rural northern Illinois. When that playtime fell away, I still had a desire to re-read the stories, and eventually, anything else I could get my hands on about Mrs. Wilder.

I remember reading Zochert’s biography, Bill Anderson’s amazingly researched short booklet biographies, and then those awful novels by TL Tedrow. All that information, accurate and otherwise, made me want to know more about Mrs. Wilder, her family, and her life.

In 2008, I started portraying Mary Todd Lincoln for area libraries, museums, and schools. A newly minted Librarian, I focused on research and an accurate portrayal of Mrs. Lincoln. A few years later, a friend asked me to put together a portrayal of Mrs. Wilder, and I once again focused on accurate information and a realistic portrayal. (Please join me at

Since then, I have been happy to continue my research and, more importantly, continue my learning of Mrs. Wilder, her family, and her time. My membership in LIWLRA and attendance at the Conferences has been a huge boon for me and my understanding of “all things Laura.”

During the day, I’m a library director in central Illinois, and I live with my husband and three cats.