We are very excited to announce the “coming home” of a unique and valuable Ingalls Family possession. This month, one of our board members attended the estate auction of Patricia Schneider of Howard, South Dakota. Mrs. Schneider had in her possession a “secretary with glass door and shelves” that originally belonged to Nathan and Grace Ingalls Dow of Manchester.
After a stressful and heated bidding session with a phone-in customer from Omaha, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society won the highest bid. Then, the secretary came home to Ma and Pa’s home on Third Street in De Smet, South Dakota.
Mrs. Schneider included a handwritten letter explaining in great detail the story of how she came to own the secretary. The secretary came to her through her relatives that were good friends of Harvey Dunn and his sister, Carrie Dunn Reiland. Harvey and Carrie were niece and nephew to Nathan Dow. She offered $700 for the secretary over thirty years ago.
Mrs. Schneider recalls, “Believe me – I came up with the $700 in a hurry, it was such a beautiful piece of furniture.”
After purchasing the piece, Mrs. Schneider brought it home and began preparing to strip and refinish the wood. However, she discovered a packing slip glued to the back.
The slip read “Shipped to N. W. Dow, Manchester, S.Dak.” and the date of the label read “9-12-1908”.
Mrs. Schneider wisely put the secretary back together without stripping it. She left the label intact and – over 100 years later – it is still on the back of the secretary today!
Unlike Mrs. Schneider, the Memorial Society was not able to purchase this secretary at the bargain price of $700. It is rare that an item comes up for auction or donation that has a genuinely documented connection to the Ingalls family. Our ability to add these items to our collection is granted by all of you, our generous supporters.
If you are interested in supporting our most recent purchase of the secretary, please use the secure donation page on our main website.