Thursday, November 26, 2009

36. Louisa May Alcott

Dear Followers,

Happy Thanksgiving! Tony and I Will be enjoying the annual Fragiacomo feast with 40+ family members at Caroline and Terry Brown's house, and I hope your holiday will be every bit as festive as ours.

Today I thought I'd share with you a bit of information about Louisa May Alcott, who lived in the mid 1800s (1832 to 1888) and is best known as the author of "Little Women," which was published in 1868.

Next month on the PBS series American Masters a multi-dimensional look at Alcott's life will include an animated scrap book, introduced with historians, and dramatic portrayal of the writer who also happened to be a runner, feminist and abolitionist.

Did you know that Gloria Steinem, Gertrude Stein and Simone de Beauvoir were all influenced by her character Jo March? And even though Alcott wrote over two dozen other books, "Little Women" is the only one that has never been out of print for over 140 years.

Alcott lived in Concord, Massachusetts, was the second of four daughters, and as a "spinster," lived with her father who was close friends with David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathanial Hawthorne. Like many Self-Empowered Women, Alcott could not depend (financially) on her father, and the family struggled. The house they lived in was purchased with money with her mother's inheritance and monetary help from Emerson.

Louisa May Alcott - because of the family's money problems - had to go to work at an early age. Among her jobs were seamstress, governess, domestic helper, teacher and writer. Long after she had started writing books, she was still taking in sewing.

"Little Women" was loosely based on her childhood with her three sisters and was completed in only two and a half months. Alcott became an early advocate for women's suffrage and was the first female to register to vote for a school board election in Concord.

Looking forward to your comments...

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