Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!
One hundred forty-eight years ago, Laura Ingalls was born on February 7, 1867, in Wisconsin. In 1882, just two months before her sixteenth birthday, she received her teaching certificate and taught school to help her family’s finances. In 1885, she met and married Almanzo Wilder, and in 1886, they had a daughter named Rose.
In 1911, an invitation to submit an article to the Missouri Ruralist led to Laura’s position as a columnist and editor with that publication, and she held that position until the mid-1920s. In 1924, her daughter helped her hone her writing skills to encompass more than just writing for a farm publication, and she wrote a couple of articles for Country Gentleman magazine. In 1929-30, following the deaths of her mother in 1924 and her sister Mary in 1928, she was prompted to preserve her life’s memories in an autobiography entitled Pioneer Girl. From that, her Little House books were born which of course prompted the television series Little House on the Prairie, which aired from 1974 to 1983. She died on February 10, 1957.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Wilder!
Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!
Charles John Huffman Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. He was forced to leave school and work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors’ prison. Despite his lack of education, he edited a weekly journal for twenty years, wrote fifteen novels, five novellas, and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles.
Some of his most notable works include A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, and Oliver Twist.
Just five years prior to his death, he was returning from Paris when he was involved in the Staplehurst rail crash, wherein the first seven cars of the train he was riding plunged off a bridge that was under repair. His was the only first class car to remain on the track. He tended to the wounded before help arrived, and his efforts saved lives. Before he left the scene, he went back to his rail car for his unfinished manuscript, Our Mutual Friend. He later used this experience as fodder for his short story, The Signal-Man, wherein the main character has a premonition of his own death on a train. He died on June 9, 1870, from a stroke, five years to the day after the Staplehurst rail crash.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Dickens!
Time to Talk: How many of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s or Charles Dickens’ books have you read? Which are your favorites?