Skip to main content

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born 150 years ago – and people still love her

Her novels have sold about 60 million copies.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Tuesday marks the 150th birthday of one of the Midwest's most beloved authors.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in a log cabin near Pepin, Wisconsin, on Feb. 7, 1867. That cabin later became the focus of The Little House in the Big Woods, one of nine books in Wilder's popular Little House on the Prairie series, which she based on her life.

Wilder's writing has entertained generations of readers as well as countless fans of the television show adapted from her books.

If you somehow got through childhood without being exposed to either, the Ingalls were pioneers just trying to survive in 19th-century America – a time where kids looked forward to the one peppermint stick they got at Christmas and made balloons out of pig bladders for fun (yes, those are real stories from the series).

Wilder's books detail her family's journey as they traveled all over the Midwest in the 1800s, facing obstacles that kept them moving. The Minnesota Historical Society says part of the family's time was spent in Minnesota, from 1874 to 1880.

There's even a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, where the family once tried to build a homestead.

While her first novel was published in 1932, Wilder's writing is still popular to this day. According to the New York Times, her books have sold about 60 million copies, and new editions continue to be printed. Meanwhile, re-runs of the 1970s TV show have still never gone off the air.

MPR notes that Wilder's story is so popular it has been translated into more than 40 languages, and there's even a Japanese anime cartoon series based on her books.

In celebration of her 150th birthday, The Washington Post says people are traveling along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway, stopping at various homesites and museums dedicated to her life.

If you want join in on the fun, here are some of the attractions close to home.

Next Up

Willmar Police Department

Police: Suspect arrested in Willmar after firing gun at officer

The incident led to a manhunt that lasted into early Sunday morning.

Monti Ossenfort

Vikings lead off general manager interviews with Monti Ossenfort

Several candidates will interview for the job this week.

Payton Willis

Gophers' rally comes up short, lose to Iowa

The Gophers came back from a 23-point deficit but couldn't complete the comeback.

pixabay-fire-truck-side-close

Firefighters respond to smoke-filled cabin to find man asleep inside

A wood stove was determined to be the cause of the smoke.

snow plow msp airport

MSP snowplow drivers reach contract agreement after threatening strike

Teamsters Local 320 reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission Saturday.

Kellen Moore

What you should know about the Vikings' head coach candidates

Seven candidates were revealed on Saturday morning.

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_1119 (2)

What is the next Minnesota Vikings GM inheriting?

A look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings' roster and situation

ambulance

Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Related

Laura Ingalls Wilder's name removed from national book award

It follows concerns over racist depictions in her 'Little House on the Prairie' series.

These are the finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards

There are 36 finalists competing in nine categories.

These are the finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards

There are 36 finalists competing in nine categories.