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

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 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 To become a donor, please contact the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation at (605) 773-3458 or

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