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Louisa May Alcott


(1832 1888)

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Brief Biography of Louisa May Alcott:

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 March 6, 1888) was an American novelist, best known for the novel Little Women, which she wrote in 1868.

Alcott grew up in Massachussets under the influence of her Father, the noted transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott. Louisa's early education had included lessons from the naturalist Henry David Thoreau but had chiefly been in the hands of her father.

As she grew older, she developed as both an abolitionist and a feminist. In 1847 the family housed a fugitive slave for one week, and in 1848 Alcott read and admired the "Declaration of Sentiments" published by the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights. She became the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts.

Due to the family's poverty, she began work at an early age as an occasional teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper, and writer. Her first book was Flower Fables (1854), tales originally written for Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Although Louisa May Alcott published 7 works between 1854 and 1868, her overwhelming success as a writer dated from the appearance of the first part of Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (1868), a semiautobiographical account of her childhood years along with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts.

Although the Jo character in Little Women was based on Louisa May Alcott, Alcott, unlike Jo, never married. In 1879 her younger sister, May, died, and Louisa May took in May's daughter, Louisa May Nieriker ("Lulu"), who was two years old.

Despite failing health, Alcott wrote through the rest of her life, finally succumbing to the after-effects of mercury poisoning which she contracted during her Civil War service. She died in Boston on March 6, 1888, two days after visiting her father on his deathbed.

For a more complete biography, see Louisa May Alcott on Wikipedia

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