Select Text Level:

On February 7, 1867, Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born in Pepin County, Wisconsin. Ingalls would later describe her home in Wisconsin as the Little House in the Big Woods. The migration of the Ingalls family between Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakota Territory became the basis for Ingalls’ Little House series of eight children’s novels. 
 
Ingalls, who later married farmer Almanzo Wilder and took his last name, wrote about her life as a young girl. Her books addressed responsibilities and social issues faced by white settlers as the U.S. expanded westward in the 19th century. Wilder wrote about tilling the rocky soil of a new farm, making maple syrup in winter, and living in an earthen “dugout” cabin. She did not shy away from uncomfortable topics for young readers. For instance, she wrote about her older sister contracting scarlet fever and going blind as a result. She also wrote that shortly after establishing a residence, the Ingalls family was forced from their land in Kansas—they had unintentionally been homesteading on the Osage reservation.
 
The publication and popularity of the Little House books allowed the Wilders to enjoy financial security during the Great Depression. The novels have never been out of print.
establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

farmer
Noun

person who cultivates land and raises crops.

financial
Adjective

having to do with money.

Great Depression
Noun

(1929-1941) period of very low economic activity in the U.S. and throughout the world.

homestead
Noun

area of land including a dwelling and any outbuildings, such as barns.

maple syrup
Noun

sweet, thick liquid made from the sap of North America's sugar maple, black maple, or red maple trees.

Noun

movement of a group of people or animals from one place to another.

novel
Noun

fictional narrative or story.

Osage
Noun

people and culture native to what are today the U.S. states of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

reservation
Noun

land in the U.S. reserved for the political, cultural, and physical use of Native American tribes and nations.

residence
Noun

home or place where a person lives.

scarlet fever
Noun

infectious, possibly fatal disease that occurs mainly in children, characterized by fever, rash, and sore throat.

settler
Noun

person who migrates and establishes a residence in a largely unpopulated area.

soil
Noun

top layer of the Earth's surface where plants can grow.

till
Verb

to prepare the land for the planting and cultivation of crops.

unintentional
Adjective

accidental, or not on purpose.

More Dates in History

February
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 1 2 3