We are pleased to share the following announcement from Michael Edmonds, head of Digital Collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The Wisconsin Historical Society has recently published on its website more than a dozen original letters written during the Civil War by relatives of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), author of Little House on the Prairie and other popular books for young readers.
Wilder’s famous novels are thinly disguised recollections of her childhood, and these private letters between her mother, uncles and an aunt shed light on the real-world adults whom she fictionalized. They include a four-page letter written by her mother, Caroline Quiner Ingalls, shortly after being married and others written by various uncles* while fighting in the Civil War.
The original handwritten documents are presented in color, accompanied by typed transcriptions, in the Society’s Turning Points in Wisconsin History digital collection. A lesson plan based on them has also been provided for the use of elementary school teachers who use the Little House books in the classroom.
*Please note: Although the Wisconsin Historical Society website refers several times to the Civil War letters being written by Laura’s uncles, these letters were actually written by the brothers of Laura’s uncle, Charles Carpenter, who was married to Caroline’s (Ma’s) sister Martha. One of the Civil War letters is written by Laura’s aunt, Nancy Quiner, who married Ma’s brother Joseph.