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Between “The Little House on the Prairie” books and TV show, there is probably no one over the age of 30 in the USA who hasn’t heard of Laura Ingalls Wilder. But very few know as much about her as today’s guest, William Anderson, who became entranced with the subject as a young boy and has devoted much of his work as an author and historian to keeping her story alive.

Most of us think of Laura as a girl and young woman because her books are written from that perspective, but they were written many years after the fact. She followed in the footsteps of her only daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, to become a published author in her mid-60’s. Earlier in her life, in addition to being a farm wife, she was a farm loan officer and a small-town journalist.

In this interview, we learn more about Laura’s life, how William Anderson assembled the collection of her correspondence, and how he got his start in publishing (at a very young age!)

As she (Laura Ingalls Wilder) said, “I lived all the things I told about in my books but I didn’t tell the whole story.” It was all true to the pioneer experience she had lived as a child and young wife.

William Anderson

The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success.

Irving Berlin


Monica Hadley is co-founder, host and producer of Writers' Voices on KRUU 100.1 fm in Fairfield, Iowa, a community low power radio station, and webmaster at

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