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State Historical Society’s Pioneer Girl Makes New York Times Bestseller List


CONTACT:  Jeff Mammenga, Media Coordinator, (605) 773-6000, jeff.mammenga@state.sd.us


State Historical Society’s Pioneer Girl Makes New York Times Bestseller List


PIERRE, S.D.—The South Dakota State Historical Society has announced that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography,” edited by Pamela Smith Hill, has risen to No. 2 on the New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Nonfiction.


“The book’s success speaks eloquently to the undying popularity of Wilder’s ‘Little House’ books,” says Nancy Tystad Koupal, director of the South Dakota Historical Society Press. “’Pioneer Girl’ is going into its fourth printing since its release less than three months ago.”


In Wilder’s autobiography, written before the “Little House” novels, she describes 16 years of the westward journey made by the Ingalls family. The book is a result of extensive research and study over four years. The goal of the project was to present Wilder’s original words and provide further information to a modern audience through annotations, maps and photographs. It is the first publication to explore fully the lives the Ingalls lived and the people they met along the way.


“We had high hopes for Wilder’s autobiography since it had never been published before, but we never imagined that it would become a national bestseller,” Koupal says.


Described as the “Little Press on the Prairie” by the industry publication Publishers Weekly, the South Dakota Historical Society Press is not a stranger to success, having won numerous national awards for its books. But, according to Koupal, nothing compares to the national and international attention generated by “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.”


“A lot of credit goes to our generous donors to the Pioneer Girl Project, including the Great Plains Education Foundation, Inc.; De Smet Farm Mutual Insurance Company of South Dakota; BankWest of Pierre; Canadian Pacific Railway Company; and NorthWestern Energy,” says Koupal. “They believed in ‘Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography’ when the book was just an idea, and they put together the money to make its publication possible.”


“Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography” can be ordered by visiting www.sdhspress.com or calling (605) 773-6009. Purchases can also be made through local bookstores or online. The price of the book is $39.95. For more about the story behind the book, visit www.pioneergirlproject.org. To become a donor, please contact the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation at (605) 773-3458 or info@sdhsf.org.




The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Tourism. The Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council and the State Historical Society. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen. The State Historical Society is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call (605) 773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.