I recently was considering all the people that I tweet with on Twitter. There are Laura Ingalls Wilder people of many stripes, L.M. Montgomery/Anne people, Maude Hart Lovelace/Betsy-Tacy people, children’s literature people, general writing people, history people, living history people, museum people, etc. But I hadn’t found any people yet tweeting about two other authors I really enjoy, Mary J. Holmes (who I recently posted about) and Gene Stratton-Porter. So I decided I better start making some noise about them myself.
Porter, best known today in her native Indiana, combined nature writing with romantic stories. Never popular with the critics, her books were very popular with readers of the day. Her most famous series begins with Freckles and includes Girl of the Limberlost. The Limberlost being a swamp near her Geneva, Indiana home. Today two of her homes in Indiana are preserved. Make sure you go to the right Geneva, Indiana, there are two, this is the one further east.
The book that was my Grandma Uthoff’s favorite book and also among the favorites of the same great-grandmother. Her very favorite book was Homestead on the Hillside, but second was Laddie: A True Blue Story. Those of you who have seen my book design presentation about Laura (the one I gave at Laurapalooza in 2010) saw an illustration from the book that I used to show Williams original plan for re-illustrating the books. Porter liked to work in her own life experiences (photography, collecting moths, studying birds, etc.) into her books. This time she tells the tale of her childhood. However, she makes one alteration. Her favorite older brother had gotten sick and died as a young man. Porter, in true writer fashion, wanted to undo this tragedy she never quite got over. So instead she sets out to tell the story that might have happened to this most beloved brother if he lived. Porter’s own life story is just as interesting as one of her books. I’m sure I’ll post about her again. For now, look for Laddie and make sure you get the one by Porter, James Terhune which now I think about it deserves a post of his own, also wrote a book called Laddie about the same time.
UPDATE April 11, 2015: I made a few minor edits and added the signature block.
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 Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently 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.