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Florence Nightengale

Page history last edited by Mrs. K. 8 years, 8 months ago

Louisa May Alcott-19th Century American Writer



Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, which is now part of Philadelphia.  As a girl, her family moved to Boston and she lived the rest of her life in the Boston-Concord area.  Her education came from her father, Bronson Alcott, and family friends Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who were neighbors in Concord.  The Alcott family did not have much money and after the utopian community her father founded failed, Alcott realized that her father was not able to provide for his family.  Consequently, Alcott taught school and then worked as a domestic maid.  Later she started to write.  She wrote stories for Emerson's daughter that were published in 1854 as Flower Fables.  By 1860, her poems and short stories were appearing in theAtlantic Monthly.


During the Civil War, Alcott served as a nurse in the Union Hospital in Washington D.C.  Her letters to her family during that period were published as Hospital Sketches in 1863.  While serving as a nurse, Alcott contracted typhoid and was sent home.  She never fully recovered from typhoid.


Alcott's first novel, entitled Moods, was published in 1864.  In 1867 she became the editor of a children's magazine, Merry's Museum.  To earn money for her family, Alcott wrote Little Women, based upon her own childhood experiences in New England.  The book features Alcott as the heroine Jo and was published in 1868.  After its publication, Alcott became a well-known writer and finally earned money for her family.  By 1869, she paid off all of her family's debts.  Later She published a second volume of Little Women followed by Little Men in 1871.  Alcott spent the rest of her life writing at her home in Concord and traveling in Europe.


Learning from Her Character

1. How did Alcott use her writing abilities?

2. How did Alcott show responsibility for others?

3. Who are some people you can show more responsibility for?


Please paste your comment about why you think Louisa May Alcott is a person of character below!  

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