Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Woman behind the Legend
John E. Miller
320 pages
6.13 x 9.25

Formats available:
Hardcover   $50.00 SH
ISBN: 978-0-8262-1167-5
Paperback   $24.95 TR
ISBN: 978-0-8262-1648-9
E Book   $24.95 TR
ISBN: 978-0-8262-6115-1

About the Book

Although generations of readers of the Little House books are familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s early life up through her first years of marriage to Almanzo Wilder, few know about her adult years. Going beyond previous studies, Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder focuses upon Wilder’s years in Missouri from 1894 to 1957. Utilizing her unpublished autobiography, letters, newspaper stories, and other documentary evidence, John E. Miller fills the gaps in Wilder’s autobiographical novels and describes her sixty-three years of living in Mansfield, Missouri. As a result, the process of personal development that culminated in Wilder’s writing of the novels that secured her reputation as one of America’s most popular children’s authors becomes evident.


John E. Miller is a writer and historian who taught American history for three decades at South Dakota State University. He is the author of several books, including Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Town: Where History and Literature Meet and Looking for History on Highway 14. He resides in Brookings, South Dakota.

The Missouri Biography Series, edited by William E. Foley


“[Miller] draws on Wilder’s unpublished autobiography, existing letters written to her daughter and to her husband on the few occasions she traveled without him, and her fiction and ‘newspaper stories, local histories, land records,’ which he mines to create an impressively detailed context for her life. . . . Miller does not try to make her any more––or less––than she was, and that is the virtue of his biography.”––Washington Post Book World

“John E. Miller’s scrupulous new biography of Wilder is a valuable and absorbing book.” –Ann Romines, Great Plains Quarterly

“Miller’s thorough, riveting, work illuminates a complex process of authorship, and the mother and daughter behind it.” –Jane St. Anthony, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“…An enjoyable portrait of a fascinating personality and her time.” –Jo Ellen Heil, Ventura County Star

“Shedding new light on this remarkable woman, Miller demonstrates that Wilder’s entire life was a process of becoming the woman we know as the beloved children’s author.” –Robert H. Ferrell, American Bookseller


Rediscovered Writings of Rose Wilder Lane, Literar
Edited by Amy Mattson Lauters

The Ghost in the Little House
William Holtz

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farm Journalist
Edited by Stephen W. Hines

Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane
Edited by William Holtz

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