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Louisa May Alcott
Like so many young girls, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, was one of the very first substantive novels I ever read. Since the literary icon's life was so inspiring and extraordinary - and since today is the anniversary of her birth - I have chosen Louisa May Alcott for the subject of this week's blog posting of Champions of Creativity.
Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania and was the second of her parents' four daughters. Amos Bronson Alcott was a teacher and transcendentalist, while Louisa's mother, Abigail May, was a social worker. The Alcott family moved to Boston in 1938 where Amos Alcott established an experimental school. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne were not only some of Louisa's educators, they were also friends of the Alcott family. The family suffered through constant poverty and multiple changes in residence which pushed Louisa to go to work at an early age. She worked as a seamstress, governess, teacher, and writer. Writing became a method for the young girl to cope with the emotional stress in her life, and at the age of seventeen she wrote her first book, Flower Fables.
As an adult, Ms. Alcott was an abolitionist, a feminist, and during the Civil War, she served as a nurse. Although Louisa May Alcott wrote numerous books and poems, it is Little Women that is most definitely her lasting legacy. The novel's protagonist, Jo - who is loosely based on the author, has touched and inspired generations of young girls and women. At a time that was known as The Gilded Age, Little Women gave young girls a reason to read, and even dream, of a different kind of life in a way that they never had before. Louisa May Alcott also became active in the women's suffrage movement, writing for "The Woman's Journal," where she encouraged women to register to vote.
The legendary American author lived this extraordinary life while battling bouts of depression and was never married. Louisa May Alcott died on March 8, 1888, in Boston, and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts. She rests in peace on a hillside known as "Authors Ridge," near Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne.
To view the Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, click here: http://www.louisamayalcott.org/alcottorchard.html