Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888

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Woman Category: Academy & Education, Activism & Feminism, and Literature & PoetryWoman Tags: Abolitionist, Author, and Philly Women

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    A poet and a novelist, the author of the novel ‘Little Women’.

    Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, to a family of abolitionist and transcendentalists, a movement that encouraged the perfection of the individual. She was homeschooled by her father, who was a teacher. During Alcott’s childhood, her family moved to various places. When in Harvard, they tried to establish a utopian community called ‘Fruitlands’, and when moved back to Concord, they helped hide fugitive slave that escaped via the Underground Railroad.
    From a young age, Alcott helped to support her family and worked in various jobs, such as a teacher, governess, seamstress, domestic helper, and writer. When she was only 17 years old, she wrote her first book. At first, she published under the pen name Flora Fairfield, and later as A. M. Barnard. She published poems, thrillers, short stories, and juvenile tales.
    During the American Civil War, Alcott volunteered as a nurse in the Union Hospital at Georgetown, DC. Her experiences in the hospital inspired her to write “Hospital Sketches”, the book which made her famous.
    After Alcott accepted an editorship at a girls’ magazine, she was asked to write a book especially for girls, and that resulted in the first part of ‘Little Women,’ inspired by her relationship with her three sisters. She was an enthusiastic supporter of women’s rights, wrote for a women’s rights periodical, encouraged women to vote, and an abolitionist. When the state of Massachusetts passed the law allowing women to vote, she was the first women to register.
    During her lifetime, Alcott published more than 20 books and almost 300 literary works, in them, she challenged social norms addressing women’s issues and encouraged her readers to do so as well.

    “Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable”

    “Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She was never married or had children.
    • She used to pretend to be a servant to trick fans who came to her house.
    • Alcott’s childhood home became a museum in memorial of her and her work.
    • The book ‘Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind “Little Women”’ was written about her.
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  • Louisa May Alcott

    A brief biography of Louisa May Alcott, American author of "Little Women"

  • Louisa May Alcott bronze sculpture by Frank Edwin Elwell, located at the National Portrait Gallery WDC. Credit - WWP team.

  • Citations and Additional References:
    Wikipedia page.
    Biography website.