Laura Ingalls Wilder Collection

Relic from Graces House

It seems like there is something about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writing that does compel people to try to find and possess a piece of “Laura World” as Wendy McClure calls it, by collecting physical things. Many of the things the Ingalls Family had were mass produced and therefore it is possible to find and buy the same or extremely similar things to those mentioned in the books and found on display in Laura’s last home in Mansfield, Missouri.

Laura’s Glass Bread Plate (famously featured in The First Four Years), a replica of Laura’s doll Charlotte, sunbonnets (worn on strings trailing down your back), and mounted twigs from the Ingalls Homestead Memorial Site in De Smet are common. Less common but still popular are the other pieces in Laura’s bread plate glassware, her china patterns and assorted knickknacks. My own collection also includes a lot of period things mentioned in the books, like a bullet mold, a butter mold, a Braille slate, autograph albums, etc.

However, I also own things like the relic pictured above. When Grace’s house was torn down some enterprising person connected with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet got a hold of some boards from the house sawed them up into thin slices and sold them at the gift shop. I also have a hunk of the Loftus Store wall which they also cut into pieces and sold when they cut through to join two store buildings. Plus wheat grown on the Ingalls Homestead and a shingle off Rocky Ridge, sadly this is off the second time they re-did the roof although the roof that was there when Laura was was also sold off a shingle at a time in their gift shop.

What’s the most unusual thing you have in your collection? Or what is still serving as your white whale? Currently I’m looking for just the right bear trap and a set of the character dolls created by California doll maker Barbara Brooks and described by Laura in the only known recording of her voice.

UPDATE: I appreciate the people who commented on the post with things in your collection. I’d have to say the only thing odder I’ve added to my collection is a paperdoll of me as Laura.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

5 thoughts on “Laura Ingalls Wilder Collection”

  1. Probably my most unusual Laura related artifact is my inflated pig’s bladder. The real hair switch I wear in my bonnet is at least 100 years old, to replicate Laura’s long hair, even though we know She wore her braid in a plait in the back of her head.
    I saw an enormous bear trap in an antique store , but at $300. and it’s heavy weight, made it impractical. I have been keeping an eye out for a braille slate. I recently added a bullwhip for my Almanzo display, and that causes quite a stir with students. Half the fun is in the hunt! I would really like to find a replica of that tiny china jewel box too. I know they are out there!

  2. I also have a piece of the Loftus Store. ☺ I have a bread plate (not exact…), butter mold with a strawberry and three leaves (not two like Ma’s, but close) and an autograph album, a little mother-of-pearl pen. I also have some sheep shears, which my husband bought for me (he actually remembered reading somewhere about the story in Farmer Boy, I was impressed!). I’m always on the lookout. Quite often I find something and my husband tells me he has that very item put away somewhere. So, I know he has a bullet mold and a churn and a couple of other things that escape my memory.
    Judy’s right…half the fun is the hunt. We have a large flea market through the spring/summer/fall here that we like to go to. Sometimes, if you hit a good day, there are some great finds.

  3. Judy, I too covet a china box just as Laura had. I have one from the same time period but it isn’t similar in style. I just asked for a ceramic butter churn for my birthday so we shall see if I receive it :-). I have Pa’s Big Green Book (my most precious artifact) and several other books from Laura’s library. I have 3 versions of the china shepardess and a ring similar to Laura’s. I could go on but won’t. I say when I buy an item that I will use it in a presentation but seldom do just to protect what I have.

  4. Reblogged this on Sarah's Notebook and commented:

    I continue with reblogging my top posts. UPDATE: I appreciate the people who commented on the post with things in your collection. I’d have to say the only thing odder I’ve added to my collection is a paperdoll of me as Laura.

  5. I started collecting antique schoolbooks as a teenager and one of my first was The Independent Fifth Reader. I have a lot of pieces mentioned in the books, and acquired a double sheet with the fine hand-stitched seam down the middle, but it is made of linen, not muslin. It is the only one I’ve ever found so far and when the shop owner heard why I was interested, she GAVE it to me! The sum total are too many to name, but my prize is a tiny 2″x3″ leather-bound reporter’s notebook embossed with the logo of the Panama-Pacific Exposition. I don’t know if Laura owned one, but it seemed like exactly the kind of souvenir she would enjoy from her trip to San Francisco. And practical, too!

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