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Opossum drawing by Gustav Mutzel (1839-1893). Behind our house a small ledgey hill adjoins a mysterious woods between my street's backyards and the main street of my town. One winter night I returned late from working and sat down with my snack by the back window. A...read more
At times like this, I silently thank the taxidermists. This is a life-size diorama of musk oxen at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. The musk ox embodies certain truths about the life of a writer. A musk ox lives in a harsh environment and survives with a...read more
The aggressive Lyme spirochete, which can turn itself into a blob and hide in tissues. Shown here magnified on a computer screen at the Western Connecticut Health Network Research Center. The Connecticut Health Investigative Team has released my story on the search...read more
Chris and her mother, Gloria, summer 2016 It’s the universal experience: aging. And yet this feels like my family faces unique fears. My mother’s physical universe is shrinking as she prepares to live somewhere where she can get the help she needs at any hour. Her...read more
Each section was built when the farmers needed it. Deep River, Connecticut, winter 2018 For many years I thought people acted spontaneously in making history. I thought, for example, that Rosa Parks suddenly thought she’d had enough of segregated buses in Alabama and...read more
Chris Woodside is a writer and editor who writes about the history of ordinary Americans and their clashes with nature.
Libertarians on the Prairie, her book about the lives and collaboration of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, is available in hardback and a paperback edition with a Foreword by Stephen Heuser. While plotting her next book about New Jersey tenant farmers, she continues to edit Appalachia journal and is working toward a master’s degree in history at Arizona State University.
Listen to Chris tell a story at Connecticut Forest & Park Association’s wildlife story slam about running into a mama bear and her cubs.
Chris’s book Libertarians on the Prairie from Arcade Publishing (2016 and 2017) takes apart the American frontier myth, relating the story of the collaboration on the Little House books between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, a founder of the libertarian political movement.
“The classic history of the classic series.” —Mark Kramer, founding director of Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University
Chris writes about the connection between the Little House books and modern conservatism in Politico.
And she pays homage to Rose Wilder Lane biographer Bill Holtz in this piece for Public Seminar, and calls for others to get more introspective about their criticism of his truth-telling.
— Libertarians on the Prairie News and Events:
The paperback is out! Includes a new preface and a foreword by Stephen Heuser, my editor at the Boston Globe and Politico. Order one today.
Podcast Interview: Edward T. O’Donnell interviewed Chris for episode 36 on libertarianism for his podcast In the Past Lane. They discussed the importance of context: the Little House books were hatched during the Great Depression. And talked about the unlikely roots of libertarianism.
Christopher Klein interviewed Chris for the History Channel.
Maria Russo discusses Libertarians on the Prairie in The New York Times.
M. J. Andersen ponders her ideas about the pioneer myth and the Little House books in The Boston Globe.
See Chris’s article about libertarianism and the books in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Another great review here.
Mary Pilon interviewed Chris for this Longreads piece on Melissa Gilbert, politics, and the Little House phenomenon.
Historian Neil J. Young recommends Libertarians on the Prairie in Episode 51 of the Past Present Podcast. In the section called “What’s Making History.”
Chris Woodside was born in Philadelphia into a large family at the tail end of the baby boom. At age 4, she moved with them to Princeton, New Jersey, where she grew up in the public schools. She studied American civilization at the University of Pennsylvania and devoted untold hours to the Daily Pennsylvanian. She worked for newspapers for 18 years.
Chris has edited Appalachia since 2005. The journal is a mountaineering publication with the literary bent published since 1876 by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Her stories in Appalachia include a profile of the Episcopal priest who first climbed Denali, a portrait of Appalachian Trail thru-hiker guru Warren Doyle, and a personal essay on her 1987 AT thru-hike with her husband and two friends. Read that story here. Learn more about Chris’s approach to editing wilderness essays in this favorite blog interview (by Sandy Stott) here.
Chris often teaches at writing workshops around New England. Watch this space for news of upcoming events.
Collected Essays from the Waterman Fund Contest Christine Woodside, editor; Amy Seidl, foreword A literary celebration of the Northeast’s wild places Guy and Laura Waterman spent a lifetime reflecting on and writing about the mountains of the Northeast. The Waterman...read more
Heading up the Undermountain Trail with Talley. Photo by Julie Bidwell Yankee Magazine, March 2017 One bright Monday afternoon, I step onto the Undermountain Trail below Bear Mountain, in northwest Connecticut. I climb east. The trail rolls mostly straight up, but...read more
Laura Ingalls Wilder, right, with her sisters Mary (seated) and Carrie circa 1881. Courtesy of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association Politico Magazine, September 11, 2016 For 84 years, American kids have been growing up with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s...read more
Sandplain in central Connecticut. Disturbed sand is from an all-terrain vehicle. Connecticut Woodlands, spring 2016 I trudge along a barren, sandy field, following a bespectacled, gray-bearded ecologist named Bill Moorhead. He steps carefully in his work boots over...read more
Chris with John, Steve, and Bob, ready for day camp, Southhampton, Pennsylvania. Photo by Gloria Woodside Appalachia Journal, Winter Spring 2016 I first climbed the Ramsey Trail in central New Hampshire with my three big brothers—Bob, Steve, and John—in...read more