Louisa May Alcott, born on November 29, 1832, was a celebrated short story writer, novelist, and poet. She is remembered as the author of the acclaimed novel titled “Little Women” and its sequels. Growing up in financial constraints, she began working at an early age to support her family. Today, she is one of the most renowned authors across the globe, known for their works revolving around social issues and reform. She passed away in 1888 after suffering a stroke. On her special day today, let’s pay tribute to Alcott and celebrate her life and work.
Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown (now in Philadelphia), U.S, to Abby May and Amos Bronson Alcott. Her mother was a social worker, and her father was an educator associated with the transcendentalist movement. Alcott was the second of four daughters, Abigail May Alcott and Elizabeth Sewall Alcott being the youngest, and Anna Bronson Alcott being the eldest. The family relocated to Boston in 1834 when her father set up an experimental school.
Growing up, her personality can be described as a ‘tomboy’ who enjoyed playing the ‘boys’ games and liked being independent. Under the care of her father and his beliefs, she grew up to be a perfectionist. She learned about the larger issues of society, like the inequality of sexes, from her mother, who passed on a strong desire to redress the wrongdoings of women. Her family moved a lot, relocating over 20 times in about 30 years before settling in Concord in 1857. The author’s early education comprised private lessons from her father and his friend, Henry David Thoreau. Moreover, she received instructions from several educators and writers, such as Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Ward Howe, and Nathaniel Hawthrone, from time to time. However, deprivation and poverty compelled her to start working at an early age. She served various roles, such as a domestic helper, teacher, writer, governess, and seamstress.
In 1854, Alcott wrote her first play, titled “The Rival Prima Donnas.” She started writing for a magazine named “Atlantic Monthly” in 1860. She first gained critical recognition for her work in the early 1860s, which was later compiled as the “Hospital Sketches.” She penned a novel named “Moods” in 1864, which also gained traction. Since then, she began writing gothic thrillers for various famous papers and magazines under a pen name. Major success came her way with the publishing of “Little Women.” Alcott passed away in 1888 due to a stroke.
Alcott takes up writing as a profession.
Her works begin to appear in papers and magazines.
Alcott writes the novel “Little Women.”
She writes “Rose in Bloom,” “An Old-Fashioned Girl,” “Eight Cousins,” and “Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag.”
Why We Love Louisa May Alcott
She paved the way
The author was the first woman in Concord, Massachusetts, who registered to vote. In addition, as mentioned earlier, Alcott encouraged women in and around her neighborhood to cast their vote by visiting their homes personally.
Her great contributions
Alcott served as a nurse during the Civil War for several weeks. Although she intended to serve longer, she got ill with typhoid in 1863. Throughout her career, she wrote stories that revolved and shed light on various social issues.
She was an inspirational figure and role model
Alcott is one of the most celebrated authors known for their feminist works. As a result, she is a source of inspiration to women across generations. Her home in Concord is preserved as a historical museum.
5 Surprising Facts
She was ahead of her time
Alcott would go door-to-door and encourage women to vote.
She was always headstrong
Alcott helped her family hide slaves who were on the run.
She had mercury poisoning
Alcott was exposed to mercury when it was used to treat her pneumonia — she suffered from the symptoms of mercury poisoning for the rest of her life.
Alcott’s clever way out
In a bid to avoid attention from fans at her doorstep, Alcott often answered the door and pretended to be the house help.
She never had kids
Alcott never married or had kids but took in her niece when her sister passed away.
Louisa May Alcott FAQs
What were Louisa May Alcott’s last words?
“Is it not meningitis?” were the author’s last known words.
Who inherited Louisa May Alcott’s estate?
The kids in her family, which included her niece, received a bulk of Alcott’s estate.
Where is Louisa May Alcott buried?
She was buried in Concord at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Louisa May Alcott’s birthday dates