Laura Ingalls Wilder:

From the Pencil of a Pioneer Girl

Ann Weller Dahl

Program Description

As sometimes happens in the literary realm, Laura Ingalls Wilder's name became associated worldwide with just one series of books, today known as the classic "Little House" books. By no means, however, was Mrs. Wilder a newcomer to writing when, in her 60s, she recorded her life as a pioneer girl. In this lecture we will explore why she wrote the books, why they became and have remained so popular, and especially take note of the wholesome values reflected in them. We will also delve into her writing as a poet and journalist, "the writing before the writing" that brought her worldwide fame.

Program Objective

This program will enlighten the audience about the most famous of the author's outputs, but also introduce many aspects of the author's writing of which they are probably not aware.

Program Format

  1. Lecture with PowerPoint and Q&A comprise this one hour presentation
  2. Posters and supplemental reading material about the author

Suggested Reading or Materials

Prior knowledge of the author's books is helpful but not necessary to enjoy the program.

About the Presenter

Ann Weller Dahl grew up in a household of Goucher women. Her grandmother, Anna Miles Kirk, was in the very first class and her mother, Elisabeth Kirk Weller, graduated in 1926. Ann followed the family tradition, majoring in history, graduating in 1960. After a career in merchandising at Hutzler's, her liberal arts background enabled her to easily switch careers. She then taught for thirty-one years at Calvert School in Baltimore and wrote curricula for the school's homeschooling division. It was at Calvert that she became interested in the life and writing of Laura Ingalls Wilder of "Little House" fame. Going back into her childhood, Ann also developed an interest in studying more about two of her favorite children's authors, Robert McCloskey of "Make Way for Ducklings" fame, and A.A. Milne of "Winnie the Pooh" fame. Over the years she has lectured and conducted workshops about these three authors, both locally and as far away as the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa.