History In Ink®  Historical Autographs



Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, 1867–1957.  American author.  Exceedingly rare copy of Wilder’s book Little House on the Prairie, boldly signed Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The available autograph material of Wilder, one of America’s most popular children&rswquo;s authors, is scarce in any form—we found only three other examples of her autograph that have sold at auction in some 34 years. Our search of auction records and dealer inventories found no other signed copy of any of Wilder’s books, and our colleagues who specialize in signed books whom we consulted before we listed this book had never seen one.  We have since offered a few other signed copies of Wilder’s books, but still this one is exceedingly rare.

This book is local to our area.  Wilder lived at Mansfield, Missouri, only 50 miles from Springfield, where we are located.  It thus is more than likely that Wilder signed this book at the request of a local person.

Wilder’s Little House books are timeless and enduring.  Wilder wrote of late 19th Century pioneer life in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Altogether there were nine Little House books, which she wrote at Rocky Ridge Farm at Mansfield:  Little House in the Big Woods (1932); Farmer Boy (1933); Little House on the Prairie (1935); On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937); By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939); The Long Winter (1940); Little Town on the Prairie (1941); These Happy Golden Years (1943); and, published posthumously, The First Four Years (1971). 

This book is the Harper & Brothers 1952 reproduction of the original 1935 edition illustrated by Helen Sewell, the earliest illustrator of Wilder’s books.  There is one color illustration plate near the front of the book.  Sewell was joined later by co-illustrator Mildred Boyle on some of Wilder’s books.  Beginning in 1953, the year after this book was published, these drawings were replaced by those by Garth Williams.

Wilder has neatly signed this book with a beautiful full signature in blue ballpoint on one of the front free endpapers.  The page is clean and bright, and Wilder’s signature is as nice as one will find.

The cloth cover is worn and stained, which shows how frequently this book was read.  Inside the pages are clean, though, except for mild dampstaining to the top inside corners of some pages, not affecting the signature page, and a previous owner’s name written on the inside of the front cover.  The binding is tight.

This book belongs in the finest of American literature collections.



This item has been sold.


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