Laura Ingalls Wilder was sixty-five when she published Little House in the Big Woods, a novel for young readers inspired by her childhood in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Her book, and the others that followed, made her an icon of children's literature. The Little House series offered generations of children a glimpse into life on the nineteenth-century American prairie and immortalized a sod house on the banks of Minnesota's Plum Creek.
Elizabeth Ayer's gravestone at Oakland Cemetery in Little Falls, Minnesota. Elizabeth's son Lyman, his wife Laura Hill Ayer, and his daughter Agnes are buried nearby. Photograph by Linda Louise Bryan, c.2013.
Elizabeth Taylor Ayer's life spanned nearly the entire nineteenth century. In an era when women rarely had professional careers, her work as a teaching missionary gave her more status and independence than most women enjoyed.