Jean Coday Oral History Interview

Title Card for the VideoToday’s post is doing double duty. In the first half, Jean Coday has long been the driving force behind the Laura Ingalls Wilder/Rose Wilder Lane Home and Museum. Coday’s interview reveals how she got involved with the museum, what role she’s played, and a little bit about Laura’s life in Mansfield. In the second half, I’m going to talk about oral history as a research method. Not a lot of people have a very clear idea in their minds of what research looks like. I like to share examples to help people clarify it in their minds.

This is an excellent example of what an oral history interview is like. An important part of oral history is including indexes and transcripts. Below the video are my notes with general time codes.

 

Ozarks Voices: Jean Coday, Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association, July 14, 2014

Ozark Voices is an oral history project undertaken by the Missouri State University Libraries. The interviewer is Tom Peters, Director of Library. It was shot in the director’s office at the Rocky Ridge complex. Coday also serves as President of HomePride bank in Mansfield.  Coday is from Ash Grove, Missouri.

Why did the Wilders settle in Mansfield? What happened to bring them specifically to Mansfield?

Mower goes by, watch things like that if you do oral history, it’s OK to cut and come back afterwards

August 22nd 1894 Wilders arrive

Cody never met Wilder, she was in Mansfield to visit her father-in-law before Laura died, but husband did, described about 5 min

How do people in town remember her? As farm woman who lived in community, everyone called her Mrs. Wilder

Saw as another farmer

Conversation from book about how got nicknames

Progressive farmers and laying hens

They’re trying to regrow orchard, have 25 trees, been a lot to take care of, have sketch by Laura showing how they planted them

Almanzo was a deliveryman

Almanzo wrote Fruit Growing Experiment Center, station told him to mix lye with oil to keep it on trees

Why Laura wrote the books

How did the books become famous

Why do people want to visit house

About 18 min They still get letters from children “Dear Laura how are you?” because they see her as a friend

Importance of family and love for each other

Did fame turn Laura’s head

Where original manuscripts are located

Mansfield owns 5 of the original “Little House” manuscripts and original Pioneer Girl

What was Rose’s role in books (on side of editor and book agent only)

Rose built Rock House and Laura and Manly lived there 9 years

Rose bringing electricity to farm, Rose brought out a single line phone, party lines were still the rule for decades after

Rose moved to New York City, Laura and Almanzo moved back to Rocky Ridge

About 25 min Irene Lichty and her role in forming association, Lichty’s father had been a Civil War Solider who married a much younger woman so Litchty’s mother was about Laura’s age. When Laura went to town she visited a couple of friends, including Litchy’s mother and the other aunt Betsy Pringle

Coday arrived in 1960, Litchy asked both Coday and her husband to serve on board

They had the house and 2 1/2 acres to start. Lichty was opening house bringing lunch with her, had bookshelf in bedroom with things to sell, by the time Codays came on realized needed to be more organized, they came 3 years after bought the farm

Litchy was primary guide in early years, board helped her in making repairs on home, reinforced it with cables throughout the upper level, they are shooting in Almanzo’s workshop which was briefly the bookstore and then the director’s office, Garage for cars taken down for museum,

Roger MacBride about 30 min

Both get MacBride’s relationship with Libertarian Party wrong, skates around Ed Friendly and Roger’s connection to show

Touch will controversy including court case on behalf of library, Peters sees in terms of intellectual property, Corday barely touches on it

About 35 minutes – People don’t consider Laura a Missouri author although Laura lived decades here. Twain is even though barely visited as an adult. Laura is a Missouri author by choice.

Laura going back to South Dakota and Rose’s feelings about Mansfield

Current fundraising projects – archives and museum buildings, adding trail

Have chicken coop, garden done by Baker Creek Seeds, hopes to return to original driveway and turn into a 1920s/1930s working farm,

About 42 min – worked on buying back land, now about 180 acres

Didn’t buy additional land until 1990 when bought the Rock House and 50 acres for 100,000. Paid that back and bought place across the way. Last buy was 87 acres that horseshoed around homesite. Still paying that off.

Hoping will increase visitation. Think will add 15% to visitation and hope that will encourage town to create more tourist supported businesses like hotels, bed and breakfasts, etc.

They still have contacts almost every week about someone wanting to do an article.

She re-reads the “Little House” series every year.

“She told a story in a way that is timeless and it was in a way that is so charming and so sweet that everybody feels better after they read them…You just feel like you’re part of the family. That’s how the children who read them or have them read to them feel.”

Note about Civil War women

Oral History

Some good points they demonstrate for oral history:

A good idea with oral history is to be part of a larger project like this one from Missouri State University Libraries. It makes it easier for people to find your efforts and helps guarantee that the work won’t disappear after you die.

Have a list of questions over subjects you think they’ll know about.

Try to make the subject comfortable.

Some points they can work on:

An important part of oral history is also making a transcript. While transcripts don’t always pass on the nuance of a recording, a print version makes it easier to scan to find and search and print formats are usually more stable than those of audio or video. YouTube does do an auto transcript, but I don’t see any attach transcript although they may have one separately.

You control your environment. People are going to be listening to this hopefully for decades. Pay attention to the sound. Get rid of background noises like lawn mowers by requesting they wait or waiting yourself. Have a good quality mic.

Learn more about Oral History:
http://www.trundlebedtales.com/beginning-oral-history.html

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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Top 10 Posts During December 2018

Rose Wilder Lane Birth Historic Marker - October 2018
Rose Wilder Lane Birth Historic Marker – October 2018

Here are the blog posts and pages that have had the most views last month. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you too.

And a comment on this sign. When I had been away from DeSmet for awhile, I thought the red splot on my historic marker shot was a red burn on the film since that happens on 70s/80s photos, but I was wrong. It’s actually on the sign. I’m not sure what process they used when they created these makers for the South Dakota State Historical Society, but whatever it is they had an issue. It’s not just this sign that has a big red spot, it’s all their markers from this time.

Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2018

The Long Winter on Wisconsin Public Radio

In the Kitchen With Laura Cambric Tea

A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas

In the Kitchen With Laura Update 2018

Smile You Can Donate To Laura on Amazon Nov 2017

AirBnb in Walnut Grove and Other Lodging

25 Laura Days of Christmas

Pepin Old Fashioned Photos

Christmas Crafts

Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Events 2018

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

In the Kitchen With Laura Update 2018

Another year and we’ve added at least a couple of our In the Kitchen With Laura posts. What is In the Kitchen with Laura? One of the ways I celebrate Laura is through historic cooking. These posts take you into a historic kitchen. Sometimes it’s something to try hands on, sometimes it’s just learning something about food and cooking. All of them are things you could do, In the Kitchen With Laura. Here’s a longer explanation. Enjoy the directory of all the posts from this popular series.

Sarah in costume holding Fannie Farmer and Joy of Cooking cookbooks
Fannie Farmer and Joy of Cooking Show the Change in Cooking

What is In the Kitchen With Laura?
http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-ingalls-wilder

Learn more about my program In the Kitchen With Laura:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/fizz-boom-read-and-in-the-kitchen-with-laura-ingalls-wilder

Check out these images from the program:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-test-shots

Pig Tail
Pig Tail

In the Kitchen With Laura Posts

Butter and Egg Money:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-june-2014

Cambric Tea:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2018/12/24/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-cambric-tea

Churning Butter as in the Little House books:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-churning-garth-williams/

Cook’s Country Food History Videos:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-morel-mushrooms

Fannie Farmer Cookbook and The Joy of Cooking:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-august-2014

Fire:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-fire

Ginger Water:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-july-2014

Goats:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-april-2014

Handwritten Recipes:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-project-jan-2014

Kerosene Lamps:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-kerosene-lamps

Losing Food Words:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-losing-words

Measurements:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-project-march-2014

Morel Mushrooms:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-morel-mushrooms

Pepper Rings:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/in-the-kitchen-pepper-rings

Roundup of Food History Videos:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-cooks-country-food-history

Shortening:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-may-2014

Spices:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-spices

Supper versus Dinner versus Lunch:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-supper-vs-dinner

Whipped Cream:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-whipped-cream

Woodstove Basics:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-project-february-2014

Wringer Washer:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/in-the-kitchen-with-laura-wringer-washer

UPDATED January 1 2018: I added more explanation in an introductory paragraph.

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  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

In the Kitchen With Laura Cambric Tea

Teapot of brewed tea on table in 19th century kitchen
Brewed Tea in Pot

History of Cambric Tea

Cambric Tea was a common drink in America during the 19th century, primarily for children. Cambric tea gave children just a taste of tea and made them feel like they were getting tea like the grown-ups.

As Laura described it, cambric tea was made with milk, hot water, and brewed tea. Most traditional recipes I found also included sugar, but neither Laura’s books nor Barbara Walker’s Little House Cookbook included it. I prefer it without, but you may like it. Adding sugar brings it closer to a tea based version of hot chocolate, only without the chocolate.

My version is based on the fact that most of the year both sugar and milk would be valuable commodities to be used sparingly. Milk was a seasonal food based on the cow having a calf and giving milk for it. After the Ingalls family left Wisconsin and its sources of maple sugar, sugar was no longer something that they could easily find or make. (Sugar CAN be created in the prairie/plains area by growing things like sugar beets or sorghum and processing them, but there is no indication that the Ingalls family did.) That meant they had to buy it. So I’m assuming both ingredients would be used as little as possible. My directions are without sugar and with limited milk. The idea is that you would be stretching milk and not putting in too much tea because back then people didn’t think the children should be drinking much tea and children not raised on tea don’t like a strong tea taste anyway. So I changed the proportions to reflect that.

Teacup of water with milk pouring
Pouring milk into cup with hot water

Recipe

The historic recipes I found were also mostly a list of directions. There is a recipe for cambric tea in the Little House Cookbook, but this is my own from having experimented it making it. You could make it by the pot, but there are advantages to making it by the cup. It doesn’t stand well and it’s so pretty to make it by the cup so each person can see the reactions as the ingredients mix. It makes a lovely pattern as you do it by the cup that you wouldn’t see in a pot unless you have a clear glass teapot.

Recipe Instructions

Brew fresh tea. I think plain tea is the most like the Ingalls would have had rather than a complicated blend. Brew the tea until it is dark. If you’re making a couple of cups, a cup of dark brewed tea will be enough. If you’re making a lot of cambric tea, expect to give seconds, or plan on giving straight tea as an option, go ahead and brew a whole pot.

You’ll also want a pot of hot water.

For each individual cup, fill the cup roughly ¾ full of hot water. You’ll want to leave a space between the top of the drink and the lip of the cup so take that into account.

Pour the milk into the hot water and watch it swirl until it mixes together. Add 1 Tbsp full of the brewed tea, stir, and serve hot.

Brewed Tea in Pot, Water and Milk in Teacup
Tea, Water, Milk

Differences

My version is different than Barbara Walker’s . In her version the water and milk was equally divided and she made a tea concentrate to use instead of standard brewed tea. This is a fun and easy Little House recipe to try. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Sarah Sue’s Cambric Tea

For 6 servings You’ll Need:

  • Hot water, at least 3 cups
  • Milk, approximately 1 ½ cups
  • Strong brewed black tea, 6 tablespoons

Directions:

Step 1: Heat up water to the temperature you want the tea.

Step 2: Fill each cup half full of hot water.

Step 3: Pour in a quarter cup of milk in each cup. Be sure to have whoever the cup is for come and look as you pour in the milk it swirls beautifully and is worth seeing in.

Step 4: Pour in a Tablespoon of the tea in each cup and stir.

Drink Me!

Drink it up while it’s hot! Unless they have been raised drinking tea, young kids are hesitant to drink straight tea as I’ve found out at many kids tea parties. I think they may like this though.

You’re Not a Brick

While we’re on the subject of tea, you will often see sutler’s (people who sell historic “props” for living history) selling bricks of tea. While these are often very beautiful and they were a thing, they weren’t a thing in America where leaf tea was always the rule from colonial times through today. Learn more about the history of tea in The Social History of Tea (2015 updated ed.) by Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on  Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

AirBnb in Walnut Grove and Other Lodging

If there is one thing that would make Walnut Grove a better place to visit, it would be for there to be a good place to spend the night in town. Traffic would be slow most of the year I think, but June, July, and August would be bursting at the seams. It would be good for the town also since spending a night in a place statistically increases the amount of money you spend there which helps keep businesses that support tourists going. Having a place to stay lined up as early as possible is a key to a successful Walnut Grove visit.

Sign and depot building at Laura IngallsWilder Museum in Walnut Grove
Walnut Grove Museum

Lodging Options

Most of the “Walnut Grove” lodging options take you out of town. Personally for many years I got to stay with Shirley Knackmuhs who ran a sort of free bed and breakfast for Laura people, but sadly those days are gone. See comments on where else I’ve stayed at the bottom.

(Personally I’ve often wished that some of the same laws that cover temporary hotels or camps in Europe were in effect here since from what I’ve seen on travel shows they have a lot more leeway for setting up temporary options. I could easily see “rooms” set up in a barn or even some of the public buildings in town if health/fire regulations easily allowed it — but as it they don’t.)

AirBnb

Walnut Grove as a community have recognized this need for lodging and have struggled with a way to meet it. A definite step in the right direction is the addition of two AirBnbs. The one that’s already listed on the museum’s lodging page is Half-Pint’s Hideway and allows you to rent an entire 3 bedroom house.

The second one which I think will soon be listed there is Little Room on the Prairie which is a double bed in a single bedroom.

There were several others listed in the surrounding area which I hadn’t known were available until I did a search for this post. So they would be another option.

Honestly I have issues with AirBnbs for economical and civics reasons I won’t dwell on here, but with them in Walnut Grove I’ll probably be swallowing my principles and staying in one sooner or later. I have to admit that in the specific situation of a town with a focused short run of tourism each year most of those reasons I have for objecting don’t really apply and for Laura towns this might actually be a great choice for the owners/hosts, the towns, and the tourists.

Personal Experiences

Within the last 5 years I’ve stayed at two hotels in the immediate area around Walnut Grove. The Wilder Inn, which had nice rooms even if they were small, but, since I’d grayed my hair, forced me to take a cold water shower. (I think it was a temporary problem because I haven’t heard that complaint from other people although staff were sparse on both information about what was happening and on concern that I didn’t have any hot water.) However, the speed in which you could get to and from Walnut Grove made the inconveniences worth it and on that account alone I recommend it highly if you can get a reservation. Understand what the Wilder Inn is though. It’s one of the second generation of motels (in between the stand alone tourist cabins my grandparents honeymooned in and the single level hotels with doors that opened right to your parking spot that were just starting to age out of my youth – if you want to see either they have a great display of them at the Henry Ford). It’s been upgraded several times since then, but that’s its bones so don’t expect more than it can give. I’d also recommend grabbing breakfast at the Subway across the street in Tracy if it’s a big attendance day in Walnut Grove and at Nellie’s in Walnut Grove if it isn’t.

I also stayed at the motel in Springfield, Minnesota which is 25 miles from Walnut Grove. While you could see it had been built as a nice hotel (for the size and area) it really hadn’t been kept up and is off the Walnut Grove lodging page. I liked the town though. I was sorry the hotel hadn’t been kept up. Since it’s no longer listed on the lodging page I mainly mention it because the distances are listed on the lodging page and Springfield was 25 miles away. I ended up wanting something I left back in the room and just one added trip seemed to take forever and that’s someone who’s always lived in the country so I’m used to driving. The closer you can get the better.

I have stayed in several of the hotels along I-90 when I was driving part way to Walnut Grove and staying over to get an early start in the morning, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that if you’re planning on coming back to Walnut Grove the next day OR if you’re planning on staying for the pageant.

Camping

I’m not really a camper, but if you have a tent and like to camp or an RV it means that you can get some of the closest places to stay in any of the Laura towns. So if that’s an option for you, seriously consider it for most Laura towns especially Walnut Grove, Minnesota and Burr Oak, Iowa where there really aren’t any/many other “in town” options.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on  Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2018

Whether you are looking for the perfect present for the Laura Ingalls Wilder fan in your life or just what you want to know what to put on your Christmas want list, check out these suggestions.

This is the eighth year I’ve put together a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan shopping guide. Check the first post for basic gift ideas. Read that first and use this post to look for new items, other ideas, and a list of which Laura homesites are offering Christmas mail order and the cut off dates for shipping by Christmas this year. Trundlebed Tales encourages you to do at least a little Christmas shopping from the Laura homesites because they are all local museums, highly dependent on admissions and gift shop revenue to stay open and preserve the homesites for Laura fans, so do your part. If you are buying from Amazon, make sure you go into Amazon Smile and they’ll donate part of cost to your selected charity – select a Laura Ingalls Wilder homesite.

If your favorite Laura fan is planning a trip to Walnut Grove this year, consider buying them pageant tickets. Next year they are having a cast reunion in honor of the 45th anniversary of the NBC Little House on the Prairie TV show. The tickets are available for 2019 already and the earlier you buy tickets the better seats you can get. They mail them so you can get the tickets to go under the tree. You don’t have to buy pageant tickets to attend other reunion events, but the pageant will include a question and answer session with all of the attendees. Buy them either online or by phone if you want their advice for which seat. The phone goes into a business so you can always find someone there during business hours. (Note: I don’t advise pre-buying for the other pageants because differences in how their systems work.)

And don’t forget you can also get your Laura fan gift memberships to the museums or a donation in your Laura fan’s name! Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , 2016, and 2017 are still available so take a look at previous shopping posts for more ideas.

Welcome Back to Favorites

Independence China Shepherdess 2018 – Photo courtesy of Little House on the Prairie Museum
Walnut Grove China Shepherdess 2018 – Photo courtesy of Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove

UPDATED December 11 2018: Somehow I missed that Walnut Grove also has a china shepherdess again. I’ve updated the text and added their photo.

Last year I pointed out a couple of favorite things that weren’t available then. I’m pleased to tell you that both things are back. Last year the multi-site calendar didn’t make the cut off for Christmas. They didn’t get it out in the spring like they hoped, but it’s out now. The De Smet Memorial Society puts them together with photos from the 5 sites that work together. I haven’t seen it yet – it wasn’t out for my fall trips – but I’ll be putting in an

China Replica
Mansfield Shepherdess – Photo courtesy of Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum

order soon.

The other big return is a china shepherdess replica. I was shocked when all three of the homesites that were selling different versions had stopped due to separate production issues. This year three  sites have each introduced their own new version of the shepherdess. They cost about the same. Check them out on both the Independence and Mansfield’s websites.

HarperCollins

Cover of new edition of Little House Cookbook in front of a Xmas tree
Little House Cookbook – New Edition

After rolling out several new editions last year, HarperCollins only has one new release this holiday season. They’ve rolled out a new edition of the Little House Cookbook. The new edition is hardback and replaces the hardback version that has been available since 1979. Its design follows the new edition of a trio of books in the series released last year with an introductory essay by a famous woman. The design of the text is different and the Garth Williams illustrations have been replaced by full color photographs that are lovely, but I’m fairly confident they weren’t done by a historic cook. A lot of focus is put on these photographs that are either full page or 2 pages. The book is printed on half-chalked paper (which is in vogue for all kinds of books right now for some reason) which is traditionally used to give a better surface for photographs. The photos are lovely. I should warn you that the use of chalked paper also makes the book much heavier than you’d expect. The paperback version will continue to follow the design established in 1979 by the original hardback edition and themed to the gingham covers version of the books which came out in the early 1990s.

Last year HarperCollins released the audiobooks, as recorded by Cherry Jones, as digital downloads for the first time. Slowly throughout 2017 they re-released the simplified chapter books, such as The Adventures of Laura and Jack or the most appropriate Christmas Stories, with brand new covers. Six of the simplified picturebooks, illustrated by Renee Graef, were newly collected and published as one volume. It’s called a Little House Picture Book Treasury. Finally, they also put out The Little House Book of Wisdom, a collection of quotes from the series.

Queen’s Treasures

When Friendly Films and their Little House on the Prairie TV show started authorizing products again one of the first things licensed was a set of dolls and accesories for a Laura doll. They have everything from a covered wagon to all the minature equipment you need to fill it up. You can outfit your doll in a typical pioneer dress or in one based on Laura’s good dress from the TV show. This fall they rolled out a second doll so now you can purchase both Laura and Mary.

Some Homesite Highlights

Honey Bear and Maple Syrup Cabin Containers
Pepin Label Honey and Maple Syrup

Pepin rolled out several new things this year. One of the most exciting to fans of the “Little House” picture books is that Pepin now is selling high quality prints of Renee Graef’s illustrations. There are several and appear in different sizes. Another cool thing is that they are now selling private label honey and maple syrup.

40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt
40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt, An example of their limited ed t-shirts

It’s nice to be able to have options other than the standard t-shirt for Laura fan clothes. Walnut Grove has just rolled out long-sleeve t-shirts which is a new option and some new sweatshirts. Next year you want to check in with Walnut Grove around July. They’ll have new things for the reunion and even if you can’t go you can buy some fun swag! Be on the ball though because last time they sold out of reunion shirts early.

De Smet Memorial Charlotte in Blue Dress
De Smet Memorial Charlotte – By Aunt

If you read Laura Lore, you’ll have heard that the long time maker of Charlotte dolls for the De Smet Memorial Society retired. Her niece has picked up her needle and is now once again making Charlotte dolls using De Smet’s original pattern. If you have one by the aunt (or 2 or 3), then it’s time to get a new version.

Also, if you’re familiar with the series of china ornaments they’ve made (one per book plus one for Rocky Ridge and an older Laura), they’ve introduced another ornament with a younger

A photo of young Laura on a china ornament
Photo Courtesy of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society

portrait of Laura to fit more with the De Smet time period of Laura’s life.

Mansfield still has some really cool items left from the anniversary. I especially like their anniversary magnet. They have a new design for the “I Love Laura” pin and a few new products featuring a line drawing of Rocky Ridge farmhouse.  


Harvey Dunn, nephew by marriage of Grace Ingalls and internationally known artist and illustrator, is best known for his connection with Manchester, the next town west of De Smet. The South Dakota Art Museum houses the largest collection of Dunn’s work. (It’s well worth your effort to stop in Brookings on your way to or from De Smet.) They have just released a reprint of Where Your Heart Is: The Story of Harvey Dunn, Artist. This current edition is available exclusively from the South Dakota Art Museum store.

The Ingalls Homestead, who developed the idea of wood crates to create a box set for the hardcover books, also has a wide range of products and some great news about shipping. Associate the Homestead with the covered wagon rides? They have a beautiful ornament of a covered wagon. Remember how excited Laura was about her Santa Christmas presents she got from Mr. Edwards? At the Homestead you can order tin cups with two sticks of peppermint, the heart shaped cakes and even a penny! A unique gift is squares of Ingalls Homestead homemade soap. They also have a wide selection non-Laura books of prairie/pioneer related subjects.

Spring Valley is a smaller site, but they work on having unique things in their giftshop. One area they have a big selection in is the American Girl aka 18 inch size doll clothes. They are locally made and not mass produced. Colors may vary.

Doll Clothes from Spring Valley

While we’re talking about “18-inch dolls” aka “American Girl Doll Size”, Thimbles and Acorns has been printing dress patterns for specific dresses. There are publications of various lengths and with patterns around various themes. Most of the homesite giftshops have them now.

Malone has rolled out a new way to shop this year. You can buy items in a Facebook shop. Their new item is a collectable fundraising ornament. Their local rotary every year picks a different charity to create an ornament as a fundraiser. This year’s features a photo of the farmhouse.

I recommend contacting the sites by e-mail or online store instead of by phone, except where noted. Even places that have been easiest to contact by phone in the past I’ve had trouble calling, but most responded quickly by e-mail.

Independence KS

Little House on the Prairie Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority Mail – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Walnut Grove MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-800-528-7280
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 17, 2018

De Smet SD

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
Online Store
Phone 1-800-880-3383
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 20, 2018

Ingalls Homestead
Online Store
Phone: 1-800-776-3594
Last Day for Priority – December 20, 2018

Loftus Store Online
Phone: 605-854-3773 Call to order
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date use your own judgment

Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-877-924-7126 (Toll free)
Last Day for Priority – December 20, 2018

Malone NY

Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm
Online Store
Facebook Store
farm@almanzowilderfarm.com
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

Spring Valley MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Store not online)
wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com
Recommends using e-mail to order for Christmas, but you may want to include your phone number in the e-mail so they can get back to you with questions quickly.
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

Burr Oak IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

The best way for people to shop during the winter is through the website gift shop and then pay through Paypal. You can email the museum with questions. They are no longer accepting checks for orders because of some bad check incidents.

Pepin WI

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Best to order online, but can also reach by phone 715-513-6383, or by sending a letter. Neither museum nor gift shop is open during the winter.
Last Day for Priority – December 10, 2018

UPDATED December 11 2018: As I mentioned above I had to add about the Walnut Grove shepherdess and I caught a typo and fixed it.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on  Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

The Long Winter on Wisconsin Public Radio

I’d like to thank Constance Spasojevich for letting me know about this.

A Chapter A Day

You will still find interesting local shows scattered among the radio stations of the Midwest. One of these is A Chapter A Day from Wisconsin Public Radio. It’s a simple enough concept. They find an interesting book and read a chapter every day.

According to their website:

Started in 1931, “Chapter a Day” is WPR’s longest running program. Jim Fleming, Norman Gilliland, Susan Sweeney and Michele Good read a chapter from a book for a half hour each weekday. Genres are predominately contemporary and range from works of fiction, history and biography.  “Chapter A Day” can be heard weekdays on the Ideas Network at 12:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The Long Winter

Of all the “Little House” books the one most frequently selected for set time, single shot production is The Long Winter. Once again it has been selected.

Cover of Long Winter

The Long Winter will be read Monday, December 3 through Friday, December 14, 2018. This recording was read by Carol Cowan in 1990.

Not Much Time

Although they have an archive of past readings, it looks like older broadcasts are only a list of what was read with a book description. They say, “Due to publisher and copyright restrictions, audio archives are only available for one week after a book is read on the air.” So you don’t have much time to check it out.

While they last, here are the archives. Give a listen! This isn’t the Cherry Jones recordings, but a local production – with permission.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on  Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.