When Laura wrote the Little House books, she decided to turn the characters of three different girls from her childhood into the one character Nellie Oleson. However, the primary basis of Nellie was a girl named Nellie Owens, which is pretty similar to the name Nellie Oleson.
The similarities with Nellie Owens and Nellie Oleson are great. Nellie Owens also had a brother named Willie. And Nellie’s father owned the mercantile in Walnut Grove, as in the book.
The second person who was melded into the Nellie Oleson character was Genevieve Masters, who was the daughter of the school teacher in Walnut Grove. Genevieve was particularly haughty to others, and liked to brag about being from New York.
The third person who is partially portrayed as Nellie Oleson is Stella Gilbert, who was not from Walnut Grove but was from De Smet.
If you are interested in even more about the three girls who were melded into Nellie Oleson in the Little House Books, Robynne Elizabeth Miller has a book, The Three Faces of Nellie Oleson.
- Miller, Robynne Elizabeth (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 140 Pages - 11/28/2016 (Publication Date) - Practical Pioneer Press (Publisher)