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Wilderness writing

On Saturday I gathered around writer Laura Waterman's log-house table in Vermont with the good people of the Waterman Fund Essay Contest Committee. We reviewed a few dozen narrative pieces by new writers about wild places and their importance. We have a winner, and a...

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Possum, passim

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...

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A quick lesson from a musk ox

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...

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Searching for a Lyme disease test

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...

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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.


Listen to the podcast of Chris’s October 19, 2016 appearance on the Colin McEnroe Show on Connecticut Public Radio.


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 has written recently for the Connecticut Health Investigative Team and Yankee. She is the former longtime editor of Connecticut Woodlands.







Writing Workshops

Chris often teaches at writing workshops around New England. Watch this space for news of upcoming events.

No Limits But the Sky

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,...

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Doctors and Computers

Dr. Kristen Zarfos with a patient., December 5, 2014 Not the best examining-room combo By Christine Woodside and Dr. Kristen Zarfos   Researchers conducting dozens of studies in recent years have asked patients how they feel when their doctors stare...

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Helen Binney Kitchel

Helen Binney Kitchel in a 1970s newspaper clipping Connecticut Woodlands magazine, Summer 2015 Champion of nature A few years ago, Greenwich local history librarian Carl White called Helen Binney Kitchel “the Rachel Carson of Greenwich, Connecticut.” The two women...

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Four Quartets and Eight Legs

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...

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