February 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

February tends to be bad time for Laura Ingalls Wilder events since in the northern part of the country tends to have event cancelling weather, but many people buck the weather and try anyway for local events. (Would it have killed Laura to be born in May? LOL) Here are the ones on my radar.

Bill and Me 2015

Pepin WI

150th Celebration of Laura’s Birthday – February 4-5, 2017 – an event in Pepin, Wisconsin in honor of Laura’s 150th birthday – Details coming later, but will include activities at the replica birthplace cabin.

Burr Oak IA

Spaghetti Supper and Silent Auction and 150th Celebration – February 17, 2017 5:30pm – 7:30 pm

Ushers Ferry Historic Village – Cedar Rapids IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Birthday Party Sunday, February 5, 2017 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Tickets Required. (Scroll down on page to find tickets)

Pomona Public Library – Pomona CA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread Sociable – Saturday, February 4, 2017 1:00pm – 3:00pm
http://www1.youseemore.com/pomona

Old World Wisconsin – Eagle WI

150th Birthday Party at Old World Wisconsin– February 4, 2017  10:00 am to 12:00 pm or 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm More information –Preregistration is required.

National Cowgirl Museum – Fort Worth, Texas

The National Cowgirl Museum had quit their annual Laura party a few years back so thanks to Beyond Little House for giving me a heads up for this one.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 150th Birthday Program – February 25, 2017 10am – 1pm

Books

New HarperCollins edition out Feb. 7, 2017 – 1st three “Little House” books, also available as single titles “Return to the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic series with this gorgeous box set, which includes hardcover, unjacketed editions of the first three Little House novels—all featuring new, iconic cover art, special forewords, and no interior art.”

NOTE: The Little House on the Prairie website uses a more extensive definition of events then I do. So check them out.

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.

Pomona Public Library Endangered

Terrible news came right before the conference when word came that the Pomona Public Library is in danger of closing. This is horrible news to Laura Ingalls Wilder fans. Clara Webber was hired as their children’s librarian in the 1960s. Having already establish a correspondence with Laura Ingalls Wilder, when she made plans to make her new library a friendlier place she decided to name the children’s room after Laura. Webber spent the rest of her career building the connection, even publishing some things to make them more available to fans and creating a microfilm of their original papers. She also started the longest running Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread Sociable which is still being held yearly and is rapidly approaching its 50th anniversary. However, it may never reach it as word has come down that it will close in August due to the city’s financial problems. This will not just be a huge loss to the local community (it’s their only library in town), but also to fans who visit from around the globe to access the collection and attend the Gingerbread Sociable.

Read more about it:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pomona-library-20120630,0,3472290.story

Since that original story came out, it looks like local efforts have resulted in a temporary save by diverting money earmarked for road repair into the library and fire departments. However, this is a move designed to buy them a year.

You can write a letter of support to:

Bruce Guter
505 South Garey Avenue
Pomona, California 91766
 
Be polite, support keeping the library open, but if it can’t stress the importance of this collection going somewhere safe where it is still accessible to to the public.

Pomona Gingerbread Sociable

I don’t check with the Pomona Public Library’s blog every day because mostly it is about local library activities and I live half a continent away. This month though has been all about the Sociable so far. Only repeat photos of the collection, but new images from the actual event and a near constant countdown to it since the beginning of February. Maybe next year I’ll get to Pomona. SIGH. In the meantime read about it here.

http://pplchildrens.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html

Pomona Gingerbread Party

Every year on the Saturday closest to Laura’s birthday , the Pomona Public Library hosts a gingerbread party in her honor. Started on the 100th anniversary of her birth in 1967, it’s still a major Wilder event. I haven’t gotten there yet, but it’s definitely on my list of life goals to visit. Read about the plans for this year at the link below.

http://pplchildrens.blogspot.com/2009/01/little-house-in-big-woods.html

50th Anniversary

Really I’m not sure why they are saying 2016 is the 50th Anniversary. Everything I’ve been able to find on it (including the poster they sent me for their 25th anniversary) said they started in 1967 so I’ve been trying to figure out how to get out their for their 50th anniversary in 2017, but apparently this is the year they are celebrating. I know they’ve cut back festivities, attendance has been less, and it’s been harder to find volunteers (just like everywhere), but I hope they find a way to go on… at least until I can get out there. However, after the library (and its extensive collection of Wilderana) almost shut down a couple of years ago, I’m glad the library itself is still going.

http://www.dailybulletin.com/arts-and-entertainment/20160204/hey-pa-little-house-on-the-prairie-pomona-event-marks-50-years

Last Updated February 5, 2016: I added the 50th anniversary section and link and my current signature block.

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.

Carved Figures – UPDATED

Last time I told you all some of what I know about the Pomona Public Library and now I have a question.  The 8th photo down on the Pomona blog (link below) shows a series of carved wooden figures of the Ingalls Family. I have seen several sets of these around and as far as I can tell (which isn’t all that far) there were quite a few of these sets made, probably for sale as a  item in one of the gift shops. I heard someone say in an unconfirmed way that they were carved by a man in Minnesota.  That’s all I know about them. Can anybody else fill me in?

http://pplchildrens.blogspot.com/2008/11/after-almost-year-of-blogging-i-havent.html

UPDATE ~ I’d like to thank Nicole Elzenga from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN for giving me some more information on these figures. They were carved by Minnesota artist Harvey Hultquist. She also informed me of the locations of two additional sets. One is currently on loan to the Wilder Museum by Kathy Mischke (thanks for giving us the opportunity to see a set, Kathy) and the other she had a reference to belonging to the Rapid City Public Library in Rapid City, SD as described in the book “Insiders’ Guide to SD’s Black Hills and Badlands by Thomas D. Griffith and Dustin D. Floyd. That brings to 4 the number of sets where I can tell you for sure where they are, although I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen at least one other set somewhere before I started to try to track them down. I’ll be following up on Nicole’s leads and if anyone else knows more about them, please let me know at: info@trundlebedtales.com

Pomona Public Library

It all began when librarian Clara Webber was working in Alliance, Ohio. She began corresponding with Laura Ingalls Wilder. She later moved to California and was hired as children’s librarian at the Pomona Public Library. At the time they were in a Carnegie building that was bursting at the seams. The children’s room was less than inviting and as one of her first projects she set out to change it, with paint, new furniture, and “storybook picture fabric.” She also asked Laura if it would be all right to name the room for her. She replied that she would be delighted. Laura sent them a letter (see photo by following link below), a handwritten manuscript of “Little Town on the Prairie” and typescript of “By the Shores of Silver Lake.” She also sent an autographed photo and an autographed set of the books, and eventually a map where she marked all the places she had lived (she was a little off, she couldn’t find Walnut Grove she explained – probably because she was looking east of New Ulm). When a new library was built, it was decided not only would the name remain, but a special alcove off the children’s room would be built for Wilderana. Webber continued to build the collection of Wilder material and today has one of the best collections not at one of the homesites. This is the library mentioned in the only known recording of Laura’s voice when she is thanking the library in California.

They even reprinted some of their collected articles in a special booklet to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Laura’s birth. To celebrate that momentuous occasion, the Pomona Public Library held a gingerbread sociable in her honor. The Friends of the Pomona Public Library have held it every year since on the Saturday closest to Laura’s birthday. While it was not the first library to host one of these, they certainly have been holding it the longest. In the Summer 2004 issue of “The Homesteader,” I wrote a history of their Sociable, although I have learned more since.

http://www.homesteadernewsletter.com/pastissues.html

Early on a major attraction was a spelling bee which broke up over a controversy. Melissa Sue Anderson was a guest of honor one year and William Anderson was guest of honor another year. I still haven’t made it to one myself, but I hope to sometime. The children’s room is also known locally for a collection of dolls.

Follow the link below to the library’s own blog where they talk about their Wilder collection and show a collection of photos. I’ve added my comments about each one below the link.

http://pplchildrens.blogspot.com/2008/11/after-almost-year-of-blogging-i-havent.html

Photo 1 – Sign of Room from when the new library building opened.

Photo 2- Photo of Melissa Sue Anderson when she attended the Sociable in the early 1970s. Probably their highest attendence ever.

Photo 3 – Letter Laura sent for the dedication of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Room. It is quite similar to the one she sent for the Detriot opening. She apologizes in the letter that was enclosed with it that her thoughts don’t come as easily now that Almanzo had passed on.

Photos 4 & 5 – A sculptural wall map was put together based on a map Laura sent marking the approximate places she lived in blue ink and other information. Unfortunately it has been worn and needs some repair.

Photo 6 – Display case – Dolls from collection, early Laura booklets, photos of the family, a Harvey Dunn print, and pages from the Les Kelly calendar.

Photo 7 – A plate I’ve never seen, not sure if it’s specifically Wilder or generic pioneer. Sewell editions of the books (maybe their signed set?). In the lower right hand corner there appear to be dolls in the Barbara Brooks style, but not the family set.

Photo 8 – Carved Ingalls Family see my next post. They also appear in photo 9.

Photo 9 – More generic dolls plus a Charlotte and you can see part of the Barbara Brooks doll set (one of at least 3 sets she made) that Laura is describing in the only known recording of her voice. The set made for Laura is now on display at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Branch of the Wright County Library in Mansfield, Missouri and a second set is on display at the museum there.

Photo 10 – Some old clothes, some Laura plates and the current DeSmet version of the china shepherdess.

Photo 11 – More copies of the series in various editions.

Photo 12 – Manuscript in long hand, should be Little Town on the Prairie, but a little hard to read in the photo.

Photo 13 – More of the manuscript, a bound script of an episode of the TV show and some napkin rings labeled as Laura’s.