Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Louisa May Alcott 1832-1888

Louisa May Alcott, was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832.  In 1840 the family moved to Concord where prominent American author and close friend of the Alcott's, Ralph Waldo Emerson, helped the family to set up residence. Louisa enjoyed the county atmosphere of Concord and found her time divided between acting out plays with her sisters which she had written, and nature walks with Henry David Thoreau. In 1843 the Alcott family took part in an experimental communal village known as the Fruitlands.

In 1852 Louisa's first poem, "Sunlight" was published in Peterson's magazine under the pseudonym, Flora Fairfield. Although modest payment was received, Louisa was beginning a career that would bring her great fame and end her financial worries.

Three years later, in 1855, her first book, Flower Fables was published.

She headed for Washington, DC. in 1862 to serve as a Civil War Nurse.  Her stay in Washington prompted Louisa to write Hospital Sketches which was published in 1863 followed by Moods in 1864. At this point Louisa's publisher, Thomas Niles, told her that he wanted "a girls story" from her. Having spent her life with three of the most interesting girls, Louisa wrote furiously for two and a half months and produced Little Women based on her own experiences growing up as a young women with three other sisters. The novel, published September 30, 1868, was an instant success and sold more than 2,000 copies immediately.

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