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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 the environment.
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.
Her next book will be about New Jersey tenant farmers. Chris is the editor of Appalachia journal, America’s longest-running mountaineering and adventure journal. Interested in submitting to the journal? See the SUBMIT button at the bottom of this page.
Next May she expects to earn her master’s degree in history from 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.
Libertarians on the Prairie takes apart the American frontier myth (here how in this talk at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library), 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 paperback edition includes a new preface and a foreword by Stephen Heuser, Chris’s editor at the Boston Globe and Politico. Order one today.
“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 Colebrook Area Library of Colebrook, New Hampshire presents Chris speaking about the libertarian threads of the Little House books and why we love Laura Ingalls Wilder so much. September 20, 2018 at 7 p.m. Learn more here.
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.
Listen to Chris reading, Live at Prairie Lights.
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.
Cover The Best Mountaineering Stories from Appalachia Journal 2014, Appalachian Mountain Club Books This anthology collects the most riveting, real-life adventure stories from America's oldest mountaineering and conservation journal, Appalachia. Each of these essays,...read more
Illustration by Boris Kulikov for the Boston Globe The Boston Globe, August 11, 2013 A few months after the stock market crash, in the winter of 1930, Laura Ingalls Wilder sat at a small desk in Mansfield, Mo., and began writing down her life story in pencil. She had...read more
The Eight-Legged Thing outside the Caratunk, Maine Post Office. From left: Chris Woodside, Cay Lodine, Phil Lodine, Nat Eddy Appalachia journal, Summer/Fall 2014 Rituals fortify an Appalachian Trail trek The thin paperback's cover bent back. My friend Phil held it up...read more
The newspaper Asahi Shimbun's locator map showing De Smet, South Dakota, Laura Ingalls Wilder's home as a young woman and where an Asahi Shimbun reporter attended a Little House pageant. 7-Oct-14 This is an unofficial translation of an article by Daisuke Nakai, which...read more
Woman recycling glass in Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, 1990. Seattle Municipal Archives/Wikimedia Commons It’s dawn on waste-collection day in the hilly Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. Along the curvy streets of this residential peninsula northwest of...read more