Thursday, June 4, 2009


I recently received this note from Dean Butler, Almanzo Wilder (LHOP, NBC). I'm very excited about these potential projects and will be supporting Dean and Legacy Documentaries in any way I can.

Message from Dean:

I wanted to thank all of you for your support of ALMANZO WILDER: LIFE BEFORE LAURA. Thanks to all those who have purchased it. For those who haven’t the DVD is available at the Wilder Homestead in Burke, NY. You can order the DVD on-line at

Beyond Little House, American history has always been something that interests me, so I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to be producing other documentaries that feature American heroes and patriots. The idea is to make these stories come alive for young people in particular and hopefully inspire them to make a difference in the world and in our country. I’m also more than pleased to tell you that I’m working on a production paradigm that would deliver these “slice of history” DVDs to school children for about the cost of a Happy Meal or a paperback book!

Some of you out there are teachers and parents and you certainly have an interest in the education of children… I would love to hear from you. Which of the following titles do you think would have the most appeal to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students and teachers? Here are some of the ones under consideration:

Tom Savage – early Colonial period - a young boy from England who, at 13, stowed away on a vessel leaving London for the Virginia colonies. He was traded to the Powhatan Tribe in exchange for a Native American boy. Tom provided valuable information about Native American culture (as well as information about the likelihood of attacks) to the colonists.

Benjamin Banneker – Revolutionary War era - a Revolutionary War patriot and an African American freeman who aided in the design of the Capitol. A man of great accomplishment, Banneker wrote a famous letter to Thomas Jefferson, advocating the abolition of slavery. A child prodigy, Banneker was also an astronomer and published an almanac.

Sybil Ludington – Revolutionary War era - At the tender age of 16, Sybil Ludington, daughter of an American military leader, took a midnight ride longer and more dangerous than Paul Revere’s famous ride, to warn the colonists that the British had invaded Danbury.

Spy Kids of the American Revolution – Revolutionary Era - Dicey Langston and John Darragh are only two of the young people who were used as spies and messengers during the American Revolution. The fact that they were mere children meant they were often overlooked by adults and therefore were valuable messengers... though it was dangerous work. John Darragh, 14, would listen in on the British officers who took over a room in his parents’ house. His mother would sew information into his coat buttons so he could deliver “intelligence” to George Washington’s army. Dicey Langston, 15, often overheard neighbors and loyalists talking about troop movements. When she heard that the British were planning to attack her brother’s militia, she ran to warn them, swimming though the Tyger River in the middle of the night to do it.

Elizabeth Blackwell – Pre Civil War - the first woman doctor in America. After being rejected by over 20 medical schools, Elizabeth was finally admitted to Geneva Medical College as a prank. But she stuck it out and graduated first in her class in 1849, despite the fact that she was forbidden to attend certain anatomy classes which were deemed improper for a lady to attend.

Maggie Walker – Post Civil War -A community leader and civil rights advocate born in 1867, Maggie was the first woman (and an African American) to start a bank in the United States. Despite the recent economic downturn, the bank she started is still in existence today.

Other titles under consideration are the more familiar ones: Betsy Ross, Martha Washington, Pocahontas.

So this is your chance to help design the future of my venture into American History! Write to me and let me know which titles interest you the most. Feel free to suggest other names as well.

Please respond to dean(at)legacydocumentaries(dot)com.

For anyone who has not purchased Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura, I encourage you to do so. It is absolutely wonderful and would make an excellent addition to anyone's Laura Ingalls Wilder collection. You can read my review here.

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