Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder (February 7, 1867 – February 10, 1957) was an American author who wrote the Little House series of books based on her childhood in a pioneer family. Laura's daughter, Rose, inspired Laura to write her books.
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born February 7, 1867, seven miles north of the village of Pepin, in the "Big Woods" of Wisconsin, to Charles Phillip Ingalls and Caroline Lake (Quiner) Ingalls. She was the second of five children; her siblings were Mary Amelia, who went blind; Caroline Celestia, Charles Frederick, who died in infancy, and Grace Pearl. Her birth site is commemorated by a log cabin, the Little House Wayside. Her life here formed the basis for the book Little House in the Big Woods.As a child, she lived with her family in Indian Territory in Kansas, as well as in farming communities in Minnesota and Iowa. In the late 1870s, the Ingalls moved to Dakota Territory, settling in present-day De Smet, South Dakota. Laura Ingalls worked as a school teacher in the area, starting in her teens, and in 1885, married Almanzo Wilder, a local homesteader 10 years her senior. In 1886, the couple had a daughter; their only other child, a son, died shortly after his birth in 1889.
In 1894, after several years of drought in South Dakota, the Wilders traveled by covered wagon to Mansfield, Missouri, in the Ozarks, where they established a farm. Years later, Laura Ingalls Wilder began contributing essays to local newspapers. In 1932, Wilder, then in her 60s, published her first novel, “Little House in the Big Woods,” an autobiographical account of pioneer life in Wisconsin. The book became a success, and she went on to publish seven more novels based on her experiences growing up on the American frontier in the 1870s and 1880s. These books, including “Little House on the Prairie” (1935), “On the Banks of Plum Creek” (1937) and “The Long Winter” (1940), chronicled the joys and hardships (including illnesses, crop failures, blizzards, fires and grasshopper plagues) that Wilder and her family experienced. A ninth novel, “The First Four Years,” (1971) was published posthumously, as were several other books based on Wilder’s journals and letters. Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, an author and journalist, is believed to have helped edit her mother’s books, although the exact extent of her collaboration is unknown.