My Betsy-Tacy MiracleMy Betsy-Tacy Miracle: a Literary Pilgrimage to Deep Valley

Kathleen Baxter writes: “Have you ever wished you could meet a book character? I grew up in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, renowned as the place where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in On the Banks of Plum Creek, as well as the setting for the TV show Little House on the Prairie. My mom had gone to college in Mankato, knew that it had been fictionalized as Deep Valley in the Betsy-Tacy books, and suggested I give them a try. Little did she know that she would create a lifelong passion. Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that one day I'd meet several of the real-life counterparts upon whom characters in the books were based, let alone correspond with their author. Betsy, Tacy and Tib—and Maud Hart Lovelace—have opened so many doors for me through the years. Without them, my life wouldn't have been this much fun!”

Laura Weber, editor of Minnesota History, writes: “Kathleen Baxter is a legend among fans of Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy book series, set in the fictional town of Deep Valley, a nom de plume for early-twentieth-century Mankato, where Lovelace grew up. Baxter cofounded and led the Maud Hart Lovelace Society, based in the Twin Cities, and through her position as head of children's services at the Anoka County Library for 32 years and as a prolific public speaker, championed the series locally and nationally. Baxter's "legend" began with the 1965 trip to Mankato she and college friends made while library science students at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. They met two of the many real people Lovelace based her characters on, which eventually led to a correspondence with Lovelace herself. Baxter tells the story in words and pictures in this latest offering from Minnesota Heritage Publishing, which has brought out seven previous Lovelace-related volumes, including reprints of two of her adult novels, which, like the Betsy-Tacy series, rest of deep research into various aspects of Minnesota history.”

You can buy the book directly from Minnesota Heritage Publishing.

Invite Kathleen to speak to your group ... pro bono!

If you'd like to hear Kathleen Baxter talk about "Three Minnesota authors on the road to stardom," specifically Highway 14 in southern MInnesota, you'll hear fun and interesting stories about Wanda Gág, Maud Hart Lovelace, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Length: 60 minutes. Technology: PowerPoint projector, screen, room that can be darkened.

About Kathleen

Kathleen Baxter is a retired teacher and librarian who spent more years than she cares to remember as head of children's services at the Anoka County Library in suburban Minneapolis. She says the most exciting thing about her is that she is a native of Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in On the Banks of Plum Creek.

As a former children's literature consultant, she gave many workshops every year, all around the USA as well as across Canada and in Cancun. She has co-written seven books on topics including books that appeal to boys and nonfiction for young people. She has served as a consultant for publishers and written a column for School Library Journal on nonfiction book-talking for over 17 tears-resigning from a hospital bed after a nasty fall in Times Square.

Betsy-Tacy Books by Maud Hart Lovelace

She is a huge fan of the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace and highly recommends them to the world—other fans include Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, Bette Midler, Nora Ephron, Anna Quindlen and Laura Lippman.

Will Little, 1930sIn May 2007, she developed a sudden passion for genealogy when Ancestry.com offered free viewing of World War One draft records. Determined to see Mrs. Lovelace's husband's card, she instead realized that her beloved grandfather (at left) would have had to fill one out.

When she saw that draft card, she was hooked for life! Passionate about family history and fascinated by the seemingly miraculous uses of DNA testing for genealogical purposes, she spends too much time at the computer determined to figure out yet another mystery—of which there are endless supplies! It is the puzzles, the mysteries, and the delightful new connections she makes that supply the joy.

If you have ancestors from County Fermanagh or County Monaghan, Northern Ireland, County Tipperary, Ireland, Wigtownshire, Scotland. colonial New England, Maryland and Rhode Island, we may be related!

Contact Kathleen Baxter.

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