Pioneer Girl is out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThank 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 DSCF0259November 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 DSCF0257the 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:

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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.

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Everyone helped load boxes for the De Smet Memorial Society.

Jennifer McIntyre

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography can still be ordered from the South Dakota Historical Society press for $39.95, plus shipping and tax.

From our warehouse to your house, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is coming soon

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Pioneer Girl coverThe 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 info@sdshspress.com.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography will continue to be available through the Press at www.pioneergirlproject.org/order/, www.sdhspress.com, by calling (605) 773-6009, or emailing orders@sdshspress.com.

Thank you for your patience as we bring you the first-ever comprehensive, annotated volume of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl.

Dates in November to remember:

  •  13th—Last day to pre-order
  •  14th—Books arrive at the Press warehouse
  •  17th—South Dakota Historical Society Press pre-orders begin to be processed and shipped
  •  20th—Distributor and retail orders begin to be processed and shipped
  •  21st—Distributor and retail orders completed

Jennifer McIntyre

First Peek at “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography”

­9522-1.1.inddPioneer 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 9522-1.1.inddmay 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.

Jennifer McIntyre

A New Time Frame for Pioneer Girl

“When is the new release date?”

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 orders@sdshspress.com or calling (605) 773-6009.

Jennifer McIntyre

An Interview with Pamela Smith Hill

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.

A Matter of Timing

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.

Nancy Tystad Koupal

Mary’s Illness

USA Today contacted the South Dakota State Historical Society last week to discuss an article that was soon to appear in Pediatrics about Mary Ingalls’s blindness (read USA Today’s coverage here). An assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan speculates that the illness that caused Mary Ingalls’s blindness was probably viral meningoencephalitis—a big term that was not likely to find its way into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books or her autobiography.

Mary Ingalls in 1889

Mary Ingalls in 1889
(photo: Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, De Smet, S.Dak.)

In Pioneer Girl, Wilder described the circumstances in this way: “Mary was taken suddenly sick with a pain in her head and grew worse quickly.” A few days later, one side of her face was “drawn out of shape,” and “Ma said Mary had had a stroke.” Two doctors in Walnut Grove attributed Mary’s failing eyesight to the stroke that had damaged the nerves in her eyes, which “were dying.” Wilder concluded: “They had a long name for her sickness and said it was the results of the measels [sic] from which she had never wholly recovered.”

In her fictional retelling of this episode in her sister’s life, which appears in the opening pages of By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura Ingalls Wilder ascribed the condition to a bout of scarlet fever, one of the most deadly childhood illnesses of the nineteenth century. Pamela Smith Hill, Wilder biographer, suggests, “Wilder probably chose scarlet fever for the fictional version because it was such a deadly disease and because after arguing with Rose about whether to include Mary’s blindness in the Little House books at all, it was a swift, clear, and believable alternative.” For the age group she was writing for, scarlet fever was understandable; viral meningoencephalitis is a term best understood by medical researchers and doctors.

Nancy Tystad Koupal