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75 years later, there’s still devotion to ‘Little House’

From the Associated Press

A narrow wooden desk in a corner of an Ozarks farmhouse has been known to move visitors to tears.

Some readers have such fond memories of the “Little House” novels about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s frontier childhood that they cry when they walk into her Missouri home and see the desk where she wrote many of the books.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. April 28, 2007 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday April 28, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
‘Little House’: An article in Friday’s Calendar section about the 75th anniversary of the first publication of “Little House in the Big Woods” misspelled the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband, Almanzo, as Almonzo.

April marks the 75th anniversary of the first publication of “Little House in the Big Woods.” The story of Laura’s early life in a cabin in 1860s Wisconsin launched a nine-book series that made Wilder a household name, helped by the hit award-winning TV series “Little House on the Prairie” that ran on NBC from 1974 to 1983.

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Embraced from the start by America’s teachers, the books have been read by or to generations of elementary school kids, which has helped to keep the books in continuous print. The series has sold more than 41 million copies in the United States and been translated into more than 40 languages.

The white clapboard farmhouse where Laura and her husband, Almonzo, spent most of their adult lives stands on a hillside among rolling pastures and woods in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. They moved here to raise apples and horses after losing their first farm in South Dakota and briefly living in Florida.

Wilder was already famous in her lifetime and the home was quickly preserved as a museum after her death in 1957 at age 90.

The 40-acre farm the Wilders bought in 1894 for $400 now includes a museum with artifacts from Laura’s collection, including a fiddle her father played in Laura’s stories, a quilt made by her sister Mary and handwritten manuscripts of the books.

Wilder spent more than 30 years painstakingly developing the rocky farm with her husband before sitting down to write about her childhood on the vanished frontier. She was in her early 60s when she attempted her first draft in 1930.


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