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State Historical Society Feb. 10 program addresses what really happened during Laura Ingalls Wilder?s ?Long Winter?

CONTACT: Jeff Mammenga, Media Coordinator, 605-773-6000,
State Historical Society Feb. 10 program addresses what really happened during Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Long Winter’
PIERRE, S.D.—The South Dakota State Historical Society is hosting author Cindy Wilson at its February “History Talks,” Thursday, Feb. 10, from 7-8 p.m. CST (6-7 p.m. MST).
The presentation will focus on Laura Ingalls Wilder and the experiences of the Ingalls family during the events of Wilder’s book “The Long Winter,” as explored in Wilson’s book “The Beautiful Snow: The Ingalls Family, the Railroads, and the Hard Winter of 1880-81.”
“‘The Long Winter’ is one of the most memorable novels in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series,” writes Wilson. “It beautifully details the dramatic events of a harrowing winter with months of never-ending blizzards leading to railroad blockades that all but cut off fledgling communities.”
But what really happened during the Hard Winter of 1880–81? Wilson dug through nearly 3,000 newspaper articles, historical documents, and the collections of numerous archives to find out. Her tireless efforts illuminate the personal stories behind railroad blockades and lavish oyster parties, breathing life into the history behind Wilder’s beloved novel.
You can attend Wilson’s presentation in person at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, 900 Governors Drive, or via Zoom. Free registration is available at
“The Beautiful Snow” can be purchased through the Heritage Stores, with locations at the Cultural Heritage Center and the state Capitol, and online at
“History Talks” is a monthly speaker series sponsored by the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation. To support future events and the activities of the State Historical Society, visit to donate today. If you are interested in more about Laura Ingalls Wilder, visit For information about society membership, call 605-773-6000.
About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, 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 for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.


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