Winfield Digital Collections

Winfield, Kansas

1940 September 16 : letter to Helen Crawford


1940 September 16 : letter to Helen Crawford


Wilder, Laura Ingalls, 1867-1957

Authors, American--Correspondence


Letter from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Winfield, Kansas children's librarian Helen Crawford regarding her memories, method of writing, publisher, and daily activities.


Wilder, Laura Ingalls


Winfield Public Library, Winfield, Kansas


Winfield Public Library, Winfield, Kansas




The copyright in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s correspondence is owned and controlled by Little House Heritage Trust, and may not be reproduced or otherwise copied or used without the Trust’s written permission. All rights reserved.

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Wilder, Laura Ingalls, “1940 September 16 : letter to Helen Crawford,” Winfield Digital Collections, accessed December 9, 2022,

(in pencil) 2
Rocky Ridge Farm
Mansfield, Missouri
Sept. 16, 1940

Dear Miss Crawford,

You will forgive the delay in answering your letter, I am sure, when you know how busy I have been.

No sooner do I get one story off my hands than I begin on the next. And I was just finishing the long-hand writing of the one to follow The Long Winter, when your letter came.

I was glad to hear from you again and to know you are so much interested in my work.

The first of my books "Little House in the Big Woods was written to preserve the stories that Pa used to tell Sister Mary and me when I was a child. I felt they were too good to be lost and I wrote them for Rose, not for publication. She insisted that I have them turned over to a publisher.

I had no intention of writing any more, but children clamored for more stories; and Harpers insisted, so I have gone on, from one book to the next, until I have just now completed the long-hand copy of the seventh. There is still one more to do in the series and I promise

myself that will be the last of my writing. But Harpers are asking for an adult book when the series is finished and one never knows.

I do my writing in a little room in a corner between the (crossed out) my bedroom to the east and the living room at the north. It is a very small room with a window to the west and one to the south, looking out into the big trees around the house. The room is filled with my desk and a table, couch and small bookcase. It is usually in a mess with papers and books and mss. scattered around.

I write whenever I can snatch the time from housework, telephone,

callers, Mr Wilder and Ben, the bulldog. I may have written yo that I do all my own work, in the old-fashioned way mostly. And the house has ten rooms.

The way I work is a mixture of remembering, inspiration and just plain plugging.

While I am working at housework I study about whatever I am writing. Sometimes I can't sleep for trying to place the right word in the right place and again I will wake with a perfectly turned phrase in my mind, to be remembered and written down next day.

My memory must be correct in dates and facts; true to the spirit and manners of those times. The old songs and old sayings must be right.

The stories are true of my family and the things that happened to them, but it is a long time ago to remember details. And it is trying, to live those days over again, as I must do, to write of them as I wish.

Please don't think I am complaining of the work. I do love to tell a good story.

I think I have answered all your questions and hope you will excuse the rambling way I have done so
Yours sincerely
Laura Ingalls Wilder

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