It is hard to believe that one year has passed since the Pioneer Girl Project first unloaded pallets upon pallets and boxes upon boxes of books—readying them to be sent out all over the world. And what a year it has been!
Places like The Bookstore at Fitger’s, in Duluth, MN, put Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography front and center in their stores.
“The past twelve months have been a wild ride,” says Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the Pioneer Girl Project. “We are ecstatic; the success of the book has been beyond our wildest dreams.”
On November 17, 2014, the South Dakota Historical Society Press released Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. And, as readers of this site know, the first three printings quickly sold out as the title became the “it book” of the 2014 holiday season. As more copies rolled off the presses, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography jumped up to number one on Amazon.com and spent six weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list, an amazing accomplishment for what various media networks have dubbed “a small press on the prairie.”
To date, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography has sold over 145,000 copies and been featured in the Wall Street Journal and on National Public Radio. It has over 2,635 ratings and 600 reviews on Goodreads and has been held up as the best way to publish a famous author’s first draft—see the Willamette Week’s review of Go Set a Watchmanand numerous conversations on Reddit/r/books. It is the stuff of publishing legends. And it does not end there.
Mitzi’s Books, an independent bookstore in Rapid City, SD, gave a shout out to the Press over Twitter when they received their issue of Publishers Weekly.
The November 2, 2015, issue of Publishers Weekly featured Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography on the cover. And the November 23, 2015, issue will feature a story about the book and Press.
The week-to-week unit sales of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography are analyzed by Publishers Weekly.
Now in its fourth week on the New York Times Best Sellers list, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, continues to defy expectations. As the industry news source, Publishers Weekly, stated in its story “Not-So-Little Sales on the Prairie,” on March 30, transactions numbered close to 40,000 out of the 75,000 units printed, and the book remains on top-selling lists throughout the nation.
Moreover, bookstores report that this popular item continues to drive people to their stores. The customers who especially appreciate Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography?—those who prefer the physical book. “It’s this huge beautiful book, and it’s so much fun to spend time with and to hold,” said Sundance Books and Music employee Stephanie Lauer to Reno News & Review reporter D. Brian Burghart earlier this month. Never staying out of the limelight for long, the book appears in news articles weekly, links to which can be found on the Pioneer Girl Project Media Coverage page.
Copies of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography from the third printing continue to be available to individuals through the South Dakota Historical Society Press, as well as at retail locations throughout the United States. Distributors, online book sellers, and book stores will receive more books from a fourth and a fifth print run, totaling 50,000 copies, that will be shipped at the end of April and beginning of May.
UPDATE 1/27/2014 Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is now TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK. A second printing was ordered prior to Thanksgiving and shipped January 16-23. Orders are still being accepted, and orders placed after 5 p.m. CST, February 20, will be shipped in April.
On November 17, the South Dakota Historical Society Press began shipping Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. Since that time, enthusiastic reviews in places such as Foreword Reviews, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Los Angeles Times have helped to make the book highly in demand. Already we are near the end of our stock from the first printing.
If you would like to buy a copy of Pioneer Girl, we encourage you to order as soon as possible, and while we cannot guarantee pre-Christmas delivery using our normal media mail rate, you can call us at (605) 773-6009 to arrange first-class shipping. Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.
In addition, we would like to announce that a second printing is in the works. We promise that Pioneer Girl will be in print as long as readers want to explore the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Thank you for supporting the mission of the South Dakota Historical Society Press and the Pioneer Girl Project.
Wilder’s memoir is a fascinating piece of American history, but it’s the annotations that set Pioneer Girl apart as the most important work of its kind.
Generations have grown up with Laura Ingalls Wilder through the Little House on the Prairie books and television show, reminders of the courageous families that braved the wild frontier. More than eighty years after it was first written, the memoir that started it all, handwritten in pencil on lined tablets, will finally be published. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, is clearly the definitive work on Wilder. It thrills with new insights and mature content, educates with historical facts and documentation, and enlightens with cultural perspective and commentary, all while maintaining the spirit of adventure and integrity that is the backbone of the Little House world and Wilder herself.
Pioneer Girl, a first-person, nonfiction account completed by Wilder in 1930 when she was in her sixties, chronicles the Ingalls family’s journey as they made their way back and forth across the land, beginning in Kansas, 1869, when Wilder was just two years old, through 1888 in Dakota Territory, when Wilder was a young married woman of twenty-one. The manuscript appears in its entirety, complete with misspellings, musings, and notes from Wilder for her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who acted as her mother’s editor and literary advisor.
In and of itself, Pioneer Girl is a fascinating slice of Americana, but it is Hill’s annotations, based on years of research and the efforts of the Pioneer Girl Project contributors, that set Pioneer Girl apart as the most important and relevant work of its kind.
The annotations range from informative to speculative, but each shows respect for the subject as well as impressive knowledge of the entire Little House series and other versions of the memoir, which Wilder and Lane had hoped to publish for an adult audience. The details are astonishing. For example, when Wilder mentions casually that, “the wild roses bloomed,” Hill identifies the “prairie rose” or “rosa arkansana.” A detailed description follows, and Little House on the Prairie is referenced, where a passage in Wilder’s distinct voice notes, “The roses scented the wind, and along the road fresh blossoms, with their new petals and golden centers, looked up like little faces.” In this way, many notes link the information in Pioneer Girl to its counterpart, whether juvenile fiction or serials credited to Wilder, or in some cases “borrowed” by Lane for fictionalization.
Great attention is paid to accuracy, and Hill notes when and where Wilder’s recollections stray from historical records, as well as intentional changes made to improve the narrative. Every detail, from the weather and geography to likely romantic trysts and scandals, songs sung, books read, and food eaten, was verified for authenticity. Photographs, maps, and other original treasures like these are sprinkled throughout. Four appendices offer additional insights and are followed by an extensive bibliography and index.
With Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, Hill has ensured that not only will Laura Ingalls Wilder continue to inspire, but that her audience will grow and expand for generations to come.—Pallas Gates McCorquodale, Foreword Reviews
Find more reviews of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiographyhere.
Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. We are glad to say that the books will be arriving on your doorsteps in the next few days.
On Friday, November 14, the long-awaited Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography made it safely to our warehouse. As pallets of boxes were brought off the semitrailer, sod-house-like structures began to form and Press staffers Lisa Nold and Rodger Hartley quickly lost their sense of time and place.
However, they soon gathered themselves in preparation for the big sendoff beginning November 17. That Monday, as if jolly ol’ Saint Nick himself were looking over our shoulders, box upon box was packed with care to be sent off across North America. The project of packing pallets to be shipped to our national and international distributors and bookstores had also begun. Boxes were hauled from one storage area to the next as our muscles protested the change from desk-work to dock-work. Yet, we can report that the work is done and the books are on their way to bookstores around the world.
Thousands of readers will soon discover what advance reviewers have already found:
The pre-orders are stacked and ready to go.
“Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography . . . is clearly the definitive work on Wilder. It thrills with new insights and mature content, educates with historical facts and documentation, and enlightens with cultural perspective and commentary, all while maintaining the spirit of adventure and integrity that is the backbone of the Little House world and Wilder herself.”—Foreword Reviews
With Judy Thompson’s beautiful cover art, maps, photographs, and annotations all enhancing Wilder’s Pioneer Girl, we think the result is astounding. We hope you agree.
Everyone helped load boxes for the De Smet Memorial Society.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography can still be ordered from the South Dakota Historical Society press for $39.95, plus shipping and tax.
The long wait for Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is almost over.
The official word from our printer is that books will arrive at the South Dakota Historical Society Press warehouse on Friday, November 14.
On Monday, November 17, the first books to leave the warehouse will be shipped to individuals who pre-ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Pre-orders can still be made through Thursday, November 13, at www.pioneergirlproject.org/order/, www.sdhspress.com, or by calling (605) 773-6009.
On November 20, staff will begin to fill orders for Press distributors and retailers.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography should arrive on store shelves and be available through Amazon.com by Wednesday, November 26. The date may vary slightly, depending on factors outside of the Press’s control.
All orders will be filled in the order in which they were received. Orders made during the week of the November 17 may not be filled until the following week. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography contains over one hundred images, eight maps, and hundreds of annotations that use primary source documents to enhance Wilder’s words. Earlier this year we announced that Pioneer Girl was in design, and we now have page proofs of the book—one step closer to publication!
Page proofs, or first pages, are the pages of the book laid out by a professional typesetter. For me, they mark a visible change from manuscript to book. The pages I am sharing with you will give you a good idea of what the final book will look like. However, they are from an uncorrected proof and the text and final layout may be different.
At the beginning of the project, we decided to stay true to Wilder’s document, so you may notice misspelled words or incorrect grammar in Pioneer Girl. Don’t be too hard on Wilder—this was her rough draft. Anything in brackets, i.e. [ear hurt], is an addition made by the editors of the Pioneer Girl Project to maintain the readability and flow of the document.
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography shares the Ingallses’ world and Wilder’s writing with a modern audience. From beginning to end, it is non-fiction, a historical recounting of the pioneer era and the Ingalls family’s journey through it.
The question above has been on the minds of many who follow the progress of the Pioneer Girl Project, and the South Dakota State Historical Society Press has been working hard to get Laura Ingalls Wilder’s unpublished work into book form. In February, readers of this blog saw that the publication of Pioneer Girl had to be delayed. As explained in A Matter of Timing, publishing Wilder’s manuscript involves layers of history and research into her writings, family, and friends. As Director Nancy Tystad Koupal said, “Each twist and turn has been exciting, but unfortunately, it has also been time-consuming.” Your patience throughout this process has been greatly appreciated.
The end of researching and writing is in sight, and the Press looks forward to presenting readers with the annotated edition of Pioneer Girl in 2014. Stay tuned to pioneergirlproject.org for more specific details in the weeks to come.
Thank you for your continued interest in this important project. You can pre-order Pioneer Girl by emailing email@example.com or calling (605) 773-6009.
Pamela Smith Hill was recently interviewed by Alaina Mabaso of Alaina Mabaso’s Blog. From Laura’s dog Jack to the Pioneer Girl Project, Hill and Mabaso discussed, among other things, Wilder’s career and work.
Click here to read the full interview on Mabaso’s blog, titled Pa sold Jack with the ponies, and other Laura Ingalls revelations: an interview with Wilder biographer* Pamela Smith Hill.
*Pamela Smith Hill wrote Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, published by the South Dakota Historical Society Press in 2007. For more information or to purchase this book visit www.sdshspress.com.
In 2012, the South Dakota State Historical Society Press announced that it would publish Laura Ingalls Wilder’s previously unpublished autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in the summer of 2013.
Since that time, the Press has worked hard to keep its interested followers up to date with each step in the process. We knew that work on this book would be involved and deep, but we were unaware exactly how involved and how deep we, and principal editor/annotator Pamela Smith Hill, would find ourselves as the project progressed.
Time and again during the researching, writing, and editing of this book, we have found ourselves making new discoveries about Wilder and her early work. We have constantly been surprised at where we ended up when research led us in unexpected directions. Each twist and turn has been exciting, but unfortunately, it has also been time consuming.
So, it is with great regret that the Press is forced to announce a delay in the publication of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Edition. At this time, we are working hard to expedite the process. However, we believe that all of our books deserve the highest possible level of research, writing, and production. With this in mind, we will strive for the earliest possible release date but will not shortchange the standards by which we have made our reputation.
The South Dakota State Historical Society Press thanks all those who have shown interest in Pioneer Girl. We will continue to update our progress on this website, pioneergirlproject.org, and we will be announcing a revised publication date as soon as we can.