HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Laura’s Rose: The Story of Rose Wilder Lane
Author: William T. Anderson
Publisher: Anderson Publications, republished in 1984
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Anderson, William T. Laura’s Rose: The Story of Rose Wilder Lane (published in 1976 by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, DeSmet, SD). William T. Anderson, who has been a tour guide and Director of Acquisitions at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, is a recognized authority on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. He has written or edited Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which I have read; The Story of the Ingalls; The Story of the Wilders; Laura Wilder of Mansfield; A Wilder in the West; The Ingalls Family Album; Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography; Laura’s Album; Laura Ingalls Wilder Country; A Little House Sampler; A Little House Reader; The Little House Guidebook; and Prairie Girl: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura’s Rose is a short biography of Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.
Rose, the first and only surviving child of Laura and Almanzo Wilder, was born on Dec. 5, 1886, at DeSmet, SD. After her baby brother died, the Wilder home caught fire, and Almanzo became ill, the family spent some time in Florida but returned to DeSmet. Then in 1894, when Rose was seven, they moved one last time to Mansfield, MO, in the Ozark Mountains. Laura’s account of this move may be found in On the Way Home. After finishing her schooling at Crowley, LA, where her aunt Eliza Jane Wilder taught, she moved to Kansas City, MO, to work as a telegraph operator for Western Union. She served as a Western Union manager in Mt. Vernon, IN, and a long succession of other towns and cities scattered all over the country, but ended up in San Francisco, CA. where she spent much of her early adult life.
Becoming bored with telegraphy, Rose joined the real estate firm of Stine and Kendrick and soon married coworker Gillette Lane. Following a bust in the real estate market, Rose became a writer for the San Francisco Bulletin and from there launched her career as a journalist and author. Laura came for a visit during the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, or the San Francisco World’s Fair, as told in her book West From Home. Rose was a foreign correspondent during World War I and began writing novels, the best known of which is Let the Hurricane Roar, now known as The Young Pioneers. She was already an accomplished author when she encouraged her mother to tell her story of growing up in frontier America. Making one final move to Danbury, CT, Rose became involved in the fight for women’s rights, but she was an ardent anti-communist and an opponent of the New Deal. Laura’s Rose is a really great overview of the life of Rose Wilder Lane. It is more of a booklet, so there is not a great wealth of information, but still it contains a lot of details that Little House fans will find interesting.