ALCOTT, Miss Louisa May

Louisa May Alcott (2).jpg
Louisa May Alcott biographical sketch from Chicago Daily Tribune 1880 .jpg
Louisa May Alcott on woman suffrage.jpg

Dublin Core


Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and several other books, was born in Germantown, PA on November 29, 1832, but she spent most of her life in Concord, MA.  

Alcott lived in Boston with her family during her youth and moved with them to Harvard where her father, transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott, had formed the Fruitlands community.  Later, the family moved back to Concord.  During the Civil War, Louisa worked as a nurse in Washington, D.C.  While an illness halted her service shortly after it had started, the experience was the inspiration for Hospital Sketches (1863).  James Redpath, her publisher, also published her On Picket Duty, and Other Tales the next year.

During her career, Louisa wrote numerous books under her own name and several thrillers under her pseudonym, A. M. Barnard.   Her most famous book was Little Women published by Roberts Brothers in 1868.  This book was illustrated by her sister May Alcott Nieriker, an artist whose profile is in A Woman of the Century.  Louisa also edited Merry's Museum from 1868 to 1879 and wrote pieces for periodicals such as The Atlantic Monthly and The Independent.  
Louisa's extensive social network included authors Ednah Dow Cheney, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Powell Bond, Henry David Thoreau, and her uncle, reformer Samuel Joseph May.

By 1883, Louisa was living in Concord and caring for both her elderly father and her niece Lu, whose mother May had passed away shortly after her birth. The Indianapolis Journal reprinted Louisa's letter to Lucy Stone that while she was  interested in woman's suffrage, her family obligations prevented her from attending the Woman's Suffrage National Convention.  Louisa also expressed her frustration at the lack of interest in the topic by many of Concord's women and hoped that the women at the Convention could help to provide motivation for "these slothful sisters."  Later that year, Louisa was one of ten women who sent a joint letter to the Massachusetts and Republican State Central Committees.  As The Greenville Times notes, "They believe that the establishment of political rights for women is essential to the highest good of the state."  The other women were Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, Mary G. Ames, Mary A. Livermore, Mary F. Eastman, Ednah D. Cheney, Mary C. Shannon, Mary Shannon, and Susan E. B. Channing.  Louisa continued to support the cause during the 1880s.

She passed away on March 6, 1888 at age fifty-five and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetry in Concord, MA.



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This Item Contributor Item: Atlantic Monthly
This Item Contributor Item: Independent
This Item knows Item: STONE, Mrs. Lucy
Item: CHENEY, Mrs. Ednah Dow knows This Item
Item: BOND, Mrs. Elizabeth Powell knows This Item