Why You Should Know and Love Holmes
Mary J. Holmes is the best selling author that you probably have never heard of. Holmes was a leading author of the 19th century, but she slowly fell out of favor. I knew about her because she was one of the favorite authors of my Great-Grandmother. She was such a favorite author that she named her oldest daughter, my grandmother, after a character in the collection of short stories Homestead on the Hillside. It was because of that I started to collect Holmes books and discovered that there is frustratingly little information about her.
Then Ann Romines pointed out in Constructing the Little House that Millbank, the only novel mentioned by name in the “Little House” series, was written by Holmes. I admit I never made the connection. That has made me love Holmes even more. [Ed. Note: In the post under the Listen to Millbank below, I updated that post when Nancy Cleaveland pointed out that there is a second novel mentioned by name, Stories From the Moorland. Get more details at that post.]
I frequently look for people tweeting about Mary J. Holmes and admit I almost never find any. So I was delighted to find this wonderful post.
Listen to Millbank
Since I love Holmes, I wanted to use Millbank as one of my Read Aloud Day selections.
What Happened to Brown Cottage
Holmes house was called Brown Cottage. It was well known enough that there were postcards sold of it. Unlike Rocky Ridge or the other Laura homesites, Brown Cottage was not preserved as a museum or restored as one. It does, however, still stand.
UPDATE: February 25, 2015 – I was going to link to this post today so I went through and updated this. I fixed the link to the essay and added links to later Mary J. Holmes posts.
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.