History and Old Stuff...
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) saw the Great Plains when it was still virgin prairie and wrote about it from a child's viewpoint for children. I am a big fan of Laura's writing. We have visited the Little House on the Prairie Museum at Independence, KS, and also the Wilder House and Museum at Mansfield, MO (twice!) What a thrill to see Pa's fiddle and to visit the very room where Laura wrote her stories by hand on a tablet of paper.
Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born only six years after Laura, but she wrote about the settlement of the Great Plains with an adult viewpoint for adults. Willa Cather's birthdate is similar to my great-grandparents. Some of my great-grandparents came to America and the Nebraska prairies as immigrants, very much like those around Red Cloud (Nebraska) whom Willa Cather wrote about. I have always loved Willa Cather for seeing and recording the very soul and spirit of that historic place and time.
Many people have told me that I should read Mari Sandoz (1896-1966). She wrote many books about the Nebraska Sandhills and the Great Plains, but I have only recently bought several of her books. I have started reading Love Song To The Plains, and I've posted a quote from it -- the opening paragraph of the book -- here in the sidebar.
My mother's family were early residents of Sheridan County, Nebraska, as was Mari's family. My grandmother and many other people from Gordon thought Jules Sandoz was a crazy, dangerous old coot, and that Mari painted too glowing a picture of him in her book, Old Jules. I heard this talk when I was a child, and my opinion of Mari Sandoz was tainted by their remarks. I didn't know that Mari herself had been abused both physically and mentally by her father, yet wrote of his accomplishments as a pioneer with respect.