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"A Woman's Point of View"

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. I took last week off, as it was a time of great introspection and solitude for me. Life has a way of twisting and turning, and that is what it has been doing. Perhaps I could blame Mercury as it is in retrograde for most of April? Whatever the reason, times of silence, solitude and introspection always feed my soul. I am back today with an offering and wish that you have a peaceful week. 

Women who are trailblazers and speak the truth to power always fascinate me. Rose Wilder Lane is one of those women. She was born on December 5th, 1886, in the Dakota Terrirories, the first child of Laura Ingall’s Wilder and Almanzo Wilder. She was the only child to survive into adulthood. During her childhood, her parents moved frequently, resulting in great hardships such as crop failures, illness and extreme economic hardship. Occasionally, they lived with relatives in various states, but they eventually settled in Mansfield, Missouri and established a dairy farm and fruit orchards. 

Rose attended secondary school in Mansfield for a while, but also in Crowley Louisiana while living with her aunt, Eliza Jane Wilder. Rose was vivacious, lively, energetic, adventurous, a fascinating conversationalist, and a brilliant storyteller. A determined individualist, she was a rebel all her life. She graduated in 1904 at the top of her high school class, where she not only demonstrated her intellectual prowess but also her ambition. Rose successfully compressed three years of Latin into one and graduated at the top of her high school class of seven. Sadly, despite her academic achievements, Rose couldn’t go to college because of her parents’ financial struggles.  

Rose reluctantly returned to the family homestead in Mansfield, where she learned telegraphy at the local railroad station. Once again, she was frustrated by her options and by early 1905, Rose was hired by the Western Union in Sedalia, Missouri. By 1906, she was working as a telegrapher at the Midland Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. Two years later, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked as a telegrapher at the Fairmont Hotel, making $2.50 per week.

In March 1909, Rose married salesman and occasional newspaperman, Claire Gillette Lane. Some suggest that they et back in Kansas City and Rose’s diary may confirm that she moved to San Francisco to join him. Shortly after they married, Rose left her employment, and the couple traveled across the United States. While staying in Salt Lake City the following November, Rose gave birth to a premature, stillborn son. Surgery following the delivery left Rose unable to bear children. 

Recovering from surgery and mourning the loss of her son, Rose continued to travel the country with frequent stops in Missouri, Ohio, New York, and Maine working with her husband and often separately on promotional and advertising projects. However, despite letters to her parents, Rose was depressed and disillusioned with her marriage. Her intellectual interests and ambition were not fulfilled with the lifestyle she was living with her husband. 

These years challenged Rose greatly, and she was keenly aware of her lack of “formal” education. She read constantly, teaching herself several languages. Her writing career began around 1908 with occasional freelance newspaper jobs that earned her much needed extra cash. The marriage continued to flounder, resulting in several periods of separation, and it finally ended in an amicable divorce. Rose’s diary reveals several romantic escapades with men in the years following her divorce, but in the long run, she remained single and free of any romantic attachment. 

In 1915, Rose took a job as an editorial assistant on the staff of the San Francisco Bulletin, where she immediately became a highly skilled editor and caught the eye of management. It didn’t take long before her photo and byline were running daily in the Bulletin, where she wrote romantic fiction serials that ran for weeks at a time. Rose’s first-hand accounts of the lives of Henry Ford, Charlie Chaplin, Jack London, and Herbert Hoover were published as books. 

From 1918 through the early 1940s, Rose’s writing appeared regularly in leading publications such as Harper’s Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping and Ladies’ Home Journal. A few of her short stories were nominated for O.Henry Prizes and a few novels became best sellers. Her sensible opinions on housekeeping, marriage, husbandry, country life, and, more rarely, on politics and patriotism were expressed in a plain style, with an occasional ecstatic flourish inspired by her love for “the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” 

By the late 1920s, Rose Lane was one of the highest paid female writers in America. The friendships she had forged were impressive and included such well-known figures as Sinclair Lewis, Isabel Paterson, Dorothy Thompson, John Patric, and Lowell Thomas. Rose suffered from bouts of self-doubt and depression and, despite her success, was often financially strapped because of her great generosity with her family and friends. It was during this time depression in her life that she became unable to continue her own writing but began to ghost write for other well-known authors. 

Rose worked for a while as a war correspondent during WWI and then with the American Red Cross Publicity Bureau in post- WWI Europe, work she continued until 1965. Rose reported from Vietnam at the age of seventy-eight for Woman’s Day magazine providing “a woman’s point of view.” 

In 1928, Rose returned to the United States and lived on her parent’s farm and was confident that the sales of her writing, as well as her stock market investments, would carry her. She built a new home for her parents on the property and modernized the old farmhouse for herself. 

During the 1940s and 1950s, Rose, with two other female writers, her friend Ayn Rand and Isabel Paterson, were influential advocates of the American Libertarian movement. She began extensive correspondence with powerful figures such as DuPont Executive Jasper Crane and author Bank Meyer. She wrote reviews for the National Economic Council and the Volker Fund, out of which came the Institute for Humane Studies. Rose lectured at and generously supported the Freedom School, headed by the libertarian Robert LeFevre. 

When Rose’s mother died in 1957, Rose was granted a lifetime lease and the local citizenry established a non-profit corporation to purchase the house and grounds as a museum. She felt that making the home into a museum would draw lasting attention to the books she and her mother wrote and sustain the theme of individualism that both she and her mother wove into the series. Rose donated her own money initially and made significant contributions each year to maintain the site. 

Rose Wilder Lane live the life of a trailblazer, business woman, author, political observer, essayist, and world traveler. She carved out a career for herself as a journalist in a difficult and larger mail dominate newspaper profession. Rose supported women’s rights, job equity for females and personal liberty for ALL people. She was a visionary, a humanitarian, a mentor, and a role model for youth. Rose’s love and devotion to her parents is well known; her influence on her mother’s writing is partially responsible for Laura Ingall’s Wilder’s beloved series of Little House books. Rose has been called a ghost writer in this series. 

By the way, did you know the Little House books are on the banned book list? 

A little look at Rose's writing that I found two parts. Enjoy!


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