Rose Wilder Lane

by Julianne from Glenbrook Middle School

“Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open.”
~ Rose Wilder Lane
Rose Wilder Lane
Rose Wilder Lane

When I had to choose a hero, I was stuck. There are so many wonderful and inspiring people out there, and it's nearly impossible to choose one. But I had to choose someone, and I chose Rose Wilder Lane.

Rose Wilder Lane is my hero for several reasons. The first reason is that she was an author. I want to eventually become a published writer, and I admire those who have become successful at this task. I also consider her my hero because so much attention is given to her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was the author of the immensely popular “Little House” books. I would consider the true hero of the books to be Rose. She is so often overlooked, even though the books would probably not have been written if it weren’t for her. The third reason why Rose is my hero is because she lived in days long ago, and there is a series of books written about her early life, which I have read. I love the books, though they are somewhat fictitious. Additionally, I consider her my hero because she was a strong woman in my mind. To divorce, to be a real estate agent, to be a telegrapher, all are ways in which she was strong, sometimes defying the "laws" of the female role. I admire women who are this way, and I am fascinated with their history. I admire Rose Wilder Lane in many ways, and because of this consider her my hero.

Born December 5, 1887, on a claim shanty in DeSmet, South Dakota, Rose Wilder was Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder's first child, and the only one to live past childhood. When she was a child, Rose and her parents moved south to Mansfield, Missouri. They moved several times. In 1904, Rose graduated from high school at the top of her class, despite her family's many moves. She would later teach herself several languages. Rose became a telegrapher and worked as one for five years. In 1909, Rose married Claire Gillette Lane. They had one child, but he died as an infant. In 1910, she started writing for the San Francisco Bulletin while she worked as a saleswoman with her husband. Rose also was one of the first female real estate agents in California. She is said to have been a better salesperson than her husband. By 1915, Rose was an editorial assistant for the Bulletin. But Rose was unhappy with her marriage. Rose and her husband divorced in 1918, and Rose never remarried.

Also in 1918, Rose wrote her first novel, Diverging Roads. She was also a publicity writer for the Red Cross. Rose traveled all over, learning regional language, customs, and culture. She later used this for her writing. Rose wrote The Peaks of Shala utilizing her experiences from her travels. Rose was known most for her novels about country and pioneer living. Her most famous of these works are Let the Hurricane Roar and Free Land. In 1922, Rose won the O. Henry Prize for her work "Innocence". Rose stopped writing fiction in the later 1930s and instead began to write nonfiction on ideas like individualism. She also started ghostwriting for fiction authors such as Lowell Thomas and Fredrick O'Brien. Rose died in 1968 on October thirtieth.

In my opinion, Rose Wilder Lane's greatest accomplishment is the fact that she helped her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, write her "Little House" books. Laura was writing for a Missouri farm magazine at the time Rose was a world famous author. But Rose realized her mother could become more. She helped Laura by encouraging her to improve her writing. She also shared ideas for stories. Rose typed and edited her mother's writing. She also offered encouragement for Laura to write her memoir. She looked for publishers. Rose saw her mother's works get published, some in national magazines, and others in books.

Rose Wilder Lane was a truly inspiring person. She was an accomplished author, writing short stories, novels, newspaper articles, and more. She was a woman of courageous strength, as revealed by the fact that she was a successful real estate agent and telegrapher, despite the fact that they were not exactly the most tolerated jobs for a woman of that day. She got out of a troubled marriage, though this too was not considered very appropriate. She also led a fascinating life, which I consider a great accomplishment. Last of all, Rose helped her mother grow to become a world famous author whose books we still read and cherish today.

Sources: “Rose Wilder Lane.” Answers Corporation. Copyright 2009. 10/1/09

Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009.

Katrina Wagner. “The Rose That Helped Laura Bloom.” Appleseeds May 2006: Page 21

Kimberly Wall. “A Writer Is Born.” Appleseeds. May 2006: Pages 18-20 Copyright 2009. 11/6/09

Page created on 8/28/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 11:02:15 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

To learn more about the Little House Books, click here.
Read a MY HERO essay about Laura Ingalls Wilder by Susannah Abbey
NPR: "Little House on the Prairie's Wilder Women" - An interview with Judith Thurman, who explores the little known lives and politics of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose.