Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Spirit of America

following from the Why section…

I am so grateful that several years ago, during a mom’s crafting night, when I was off on another of my have-you-read-the-Little-House-books rants, a friend (Jen Amsbary) asked me if I had ever read any of Laura’s writings for adults. What?! You mean she wrote more than the 9 books for children known as the Little House series? Yes! She wrote articles and essays for newspapers and magazines. Many of these have been collected and published as Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings, edited by Stephen W. Hines. I couldn’t wait to start reading this new discovery! I soon found (as fast as you can say “amazon prime”) that I enjoyed Laura’s essays & articles as much as I did her children’s books. Some of the essays are 100 years old, but still highly relevant and full of wisdom, humor and her spunkiness. Her advice on mothering, being a good neighbor, traveling and even raising chickens are timeless. Please read it if you haven’t! I have extra copies that you can borrow.

Meanwhile, I had also started studying Anthroposophy and the works of Rudolf Steiner. Dr. Steiner was lecturing and teaching in Europe the same years that Laura was writing the pieces that Stephen Hines collected for his book (1911-1925). I was amazed to find that Anthroposophy and the virtues that Laura Ingalls Wilder was illustrating with her life have so many commonalities. Both Rudolf Steiner and Laura advocate that for a healthy life, humans need positivity, open mindedness, concentration, appreciation for the interconnectedness of all life and reverence for the Spirit that transcends the material world. I started asking myself : Who is Laura Ingalls Wilder? and How is she connected to Anthroposophy in America? I’ve been reading her writings and studying anthroposophy and thinking about America and our Folk Spirit, the Being of Columbia, and pondering how it is that they are all connected.

This trip is part summer-vacation-with-my-girls and part research on this quest-ion. If we do what I have mapped out it will be 3000 miles. We’ll visit several of Laura’s places and as many other holy sites as we can. In addition to Ingalls and Wilder sites we are planning to visit Mary Todd Lincoln, Annie Oakley, Maud Hart Lovelace and Helen Keller.

Sophie is going to write about her view of the trip, Pip is planning to be the photographer and I am the driver, tour guide, and Mom. We leave on Tuesday and head to Lexington, KY first. That means I only have one day left to get everything packed and prepped!






5 thoughts on “Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Spirit of America

  1. I am excited that the three of you have this wonderful opportunity to bond as travelers, learners, and strong women seeking out the history of the ones who came before us. Thank you for including me in your trek. I look forward to tagging along on your adventure.


  2. Have a great time girls. Can’t wait to hear all of your adventure.
    I was looking at the news today and i read this, i thought you might want to know. I’m sure you already know about this…I guess it won’t happen till October or November of this year. This is a great time to be there, because you can still see the original cabin.

    ‘Little House on the Prairie’ cabin set to be rebuilt”

    Be safe and take care,

    ~ Carmen


  3. Angela, I’m so glad you included me in your list of witnesses. I really needed to be reminded of the Missouri Ruralist and Farm Home writings. I had just recently been looking in a used bookstore for something about rural life, gardening, and raising livestock that is practical and also beautifully written and soulful (but not idealizing). You reminded me of what I was looking for (I’m pretty sure that’s happened before….), and it was on my own bookshelf.
    Blessings on your journey! I’m sure this will be something you all remember forever.


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