Rose Wilder Lane in Danbury. Photo from William Holtz papers at Hoover Library
Not everyone realizes that the city of Danbury, Connecticut was an important landscape in the making of the pioneer stories, the Little House books. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter and collaborator, Rose Wilder Lane, lived in Danbury for three decades. There, she revised the last of the series. Come hear more about Danbury’s connection to the pioneer tale. Chris Woodside will speak and share photos and documents at the Danbury Library, 170 Main Street, on Saturday, April 29 at 11 a.m.
Rose moved to a house on King Street in Danbury on April 1, 1938. She lived there for most of the next 30 years, at times living in New York in a rented apartment or, in later years, Harlingen, Texas. In Danbury she likely worked on the last revision of By the Shores of Silver Lake. She certainly worked on the last three books, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, and These Happy Golden Years. In Danbury, Rose befriended Isabel Paterson and got to know Ayn Rand. All three women are considered the mothers of the libertarian political movement.
Rose refused a ration card during World War II and grew great quantities of garden produce on her Danbury property from 1940-45, assisted by a young writer and hanger-on named Virginia Manor. She entertained friends who shared her anti-communist, limited government sentiments. It was in Danbury where she nurtured her close friendship with the young Roger Lea MacBride, who later became her lawyer and agent, ran for president as a Libertarian Party candidate, and who inherited the Little House royalties.