The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society proudly announces the publication of “Laura Ingalls Wilder and Education in Kingsbury County, Dakota Territory 1880-85” by Nancy S. Cleaveland.
Using school and tax records, newspaper archives, homestead files and deeds, and much more, Nancy S. Cleaveland has thoroughly researched and compared the information Laura Ingalls Wilder provided in her PIONEER GIRL autobiography and the LITTLE HOUSE books to the historical facts. She answers just about every question you’ve ever had about Laura’s school days and her teaching career in the De Smet area during the LITTLE HOUSE years. Without a doubt, this is the most comprehensive study of education and teaching in De Smet and Kingsbury County ever written and includes maps, new information, and never-before-seen photographs of the friends, classmates, and teachers you first met in the LITTLE HOUSE books.
Eliza Jane Wilder. Florence Garland. The Bouchie (Laura called them “Brewster”), Perry, and Wilkin families. Facts about Laura’s short but important teaching career – including the best explanation on record about the discrepancy in Laura’s age when she started teaching – 15 years old vs. 16 years old. The history and restoration of the First School of De Smet attended by Laura and her sister Carrie. It’s all here! As a bonus, the earliest known teaching exam given to teacher candidates in De Smet is included. Are you smart enough to have taught in 1880s De Smet?
This monograph is the perfect companion piece for the recently-published PIONEER GIRL and the LITTLE HOUSE books. The Memorial Society is honored that Nancy generously donated her unparalleled research with us, and we’re delighted to finally share it with you!
About the Author
Nancy S. Cleaveland is one of the most respected Laura Ingalls Wilder and LITTLE HOUSE researchers in the world. In 1998 during a research trip to De Smet, South Dakota, Nancy discovered the first school records of De Smet, previously thought to be destroyed. And in 2010, she found the earliest tax records for De Smet. Nancy has conducted over 25 research trips to De Smet alone and has traveled coast to coast in her quest for new information about old friends from the LITTLE HOUSE books.
Nancy studied art as an undergraduate and architecture in graduate school, and she has been researching Laura Ingalls Wilder full-time for over twenty years. Like millions of people around the world, Nancy first read the LITTLE HOUSE books as a young child, and her passion and love for the people and places in these rich and important stories knows no end.