Image of Louisa May Alcott


Lifetime: 1832 - 1888 Passed: ≈ 136 years ago




United States

Louisa May Alcott

Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. In 1860, Alcott began writing for the Atlantic Monthly. When the American Civil War broke out, she served as a nurse in the Union Hospital in Georgetown, DC, for six weeks in 1862–1863. She intended to serve three months as a nurse, but halfway through she contracted typhoid and became deathly ill, though she eventually recovered. Her letters home—revised and published in the Boston anti-slavery paper Commonwealth and collected as Hospital Sketches (1863, republished with additions in 1869) —brought her first critical recognition for her observations and humor. This was her first book and inspired by her army experience. She wrote about the mismanagement of hospitals and the indifference and callousness of some of the surgeons she encountered, and about her own passion for seeing the war first hand. Her main character, Tribulation Periwinkle, showed a passage from innocence to maturity and is a "serious and eloquent witness”. Her novel Moods (1864), based on her own experience, was also promising.

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist, short story writer and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Alcott died of a stroke at age 55 in Boston, on March 6, 1888, two days after her father's death. Louisa's last known words were, "Is it not meningitis?" She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, near Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, on a hillside now known as "Authors' Ridge”. Her niece Lulu was only eight years old when Louisa died. She was cared for by Anna Alcott Pratt, then reunited with her father in Europe and lived abroad until her death in 1976.

Books by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women Cover image

Little Women

Comedy Fiction Novel
Sisters Children's Literature Bildungsroman

Set in nineteenth century New England, Little Women follows the lives of the four March sisters-Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. The novel is a classic rites of passage story, that has often split literature critics but has been adored by many over the years....

Jack and Jill Cover image

Jack and Jill

Rebel Adolescence

Louisa May Alcott, more famously known for her Little Women series, takes a familiar nursery rhyme and creates a whole novel out of it in one of her last books Jack and Jill: A Village Story. Though she continued to publish under the penname AM Barna...

Little Men Cover image

Little Men

Fiction Novel
Children's Literature

Little Men, or Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys, is a children's novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was first published in 1871 by Roberts Brothers. The book reprises characters from her 1868–69 two-volume novel Little Wome...

The Abbots Ghost or Maurice Treherne Temptation Cover image

The Abbots Ghost or Maurice Treherne Temptation

Romance Fiction
Evil Forgery Fraud

Louisa May Alcott enthusiasts would be delighted to read this short novel published in 1867, just a year before the grand debut of her most famous Little Women trilogy. This is one of three books she wrote under the pseudonym AM Barnard. She used thi...

Eight Cousins Cover image

Eight Cousins

Fiction Novel

Eight Cousins, or The Aunt-Hill was published in 1875 by American novelist Louisa May Alcott. It is the story of Rose Campbell, a lonely and sickly girl who has been recently orphaned and must now reside with her maiden great aunts (yet having a guar...

An Old-Fashioned Girl Cover image

An Old-Fashioned Girl

Children's Literature Family Life

An Old-Fashioned Girl is a novel by Louisa May Alcott first published in 1869. The first six chapters of the novel were serialised in the Merry's Museum magazine between July and August 1869. Alcott added another thirteen chapters before publishing...

Work: A Story of Experience Cover image

Work: A Story of Experience

Semi-autobiographical novel

Work: A Story of Experience, first published in 1873, is a semi-autobiographical novel by Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, set in the times before and after the American Civil War.

Spinning-Wheel Stories Cover image

Spinning-Wheel Stories

Family Children's Literature Short Stories

A group of stories-within-a-story, told in the classic Louisa May Alcott style.

 Aunt Jo's Scrapbag Cover image

Aunt Jo's Scrapbag

Family Children's Literature Short Works

A collection of short stories by Louisa May Alcott that were written with the intent to entertain the whole family and to fill children's heads with wonder and delight.

Shawl-Straps: A Second Series of Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag Cover image

Shawl-Straps: A Second Series of Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag

Family Children's Literature Short Works

Unlike the other volumes in this series, which are books of childrens' stories, Shawl-Straps is a novel. It is the story of Amanda, Matilda, and Lavinia, three sisters who are travelling in Europe. The book is based on Louisa May Alcott's own travels...

Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Vol. 5 Cover image

Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Vol. 5

Family Children's Literature Short Works

A book of short stories by Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and Eight Cousins. It includes Two Little Travellers, a story about two very different little girls, Lunch, a story of two women who resolve to stop the schoolboys from eating unhea...

Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag Vol. 6 Cover image

Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag Vol. 6

Family Children's Literature Short Works

The last volume of Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag is another collection of stories by Louisa May Alcott. From preparing for Thanksgiving (with your parents away!) to the adventures two dolls had on their way to Maine, to the strange tale told by the old seat, t...

 Hospital Sketches Cover image

Hospital Sketches

Memoir War
Military Letters Medical

Hospital Sketches is a compilation of four sketches based on letters Louisa May Alcott sent home during the six weeks she spent as a volunteer nurse for the Union Army during the American Civil War in Georgetown.

Jo's Boys  Cover image

Jo's Boys

Fairy Tale
Love Arrogance Children's novel Children Children's Literature Romance General Fiction

Jo's Boys, and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to "Little Men" is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott, first published in 1886. The novel is the final book in the unofficial Little Women series. In it, Jo's children, now grown, are caught up i...

Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power  Cover image

Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power

Romance Novel
Family Mystery Thriller Suspense Espionage political Classics

This story belongs with many other thrillers and mysteries that Alcott published under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard. Of all her stories of femme fatales, Behind a Mask is considered Alcott's masterpiece in the genre of sensation fiction. Critic Christ...

Pauline's Passion and Punishment  Cover image

Pauline's Passion and Punishment

Romance Novel
Love Thriller Life America Civil War Desire United States

The story is about Pauline's desire to get even, which involves her using a man who's besotted with her, and a former female school friend, without accounting for how her (Pauline's) actions against her betrayer will affect those two who are innocent...

Under the Lilacs Cover image

Under the Lilacs

Fairy Tale Novel
Family Farm Children's novel Children Education Struggle Childhood Fun

Bab and Betty, two little girls, are having a tea party with their dolls when an unknown dog appears and steals their cake. The girls find the dog, Sancho, along with his owner Ben Brown, a run-away from the circus who is hiding in their play barn in...

Rose in Bloom  Cover image

Rose in Bloom

Family Marriage 19th century Love Young Sensation Society

It depicts the story of a nineteenth-century girl, Rose Campbell, finding her way in society. It is Alcott's sequel to Eight Cousins.

Flower Fables  Cover image

Flower Fables

Fairy Tale
Children Children's Literature Myths Legends

Flower Fables was the first work published by Louisa May Alcott and appeared on December 9, 1854. The book was a compilation of fanciful stories first written six years earlier for Ellen Emerson (daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson). The book was publish...

Good Wives  Cover image

Good Wives

Family Independence Poverty Autobiography Kindness Success Childhood True Love

The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and details their passage from childhood to womanhood. Loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters, it is classified as an autobiographical or semi-autobi...

A Garland For Girls  Cover image

A Garland For Girls

Fairy Tale
Short Story Beauty Children Blossom Childhood Classics

"These stories were written for my own amusement during a period of enforced seclusion. The flowers which were my solace and pleasure suggested titles for the tales and gave an interest to the work. If my girls find a little beauty or sunshine in th...

A Whisper in the Dark Cover image

A Whisper in the Dark

Adventure Fiction
Victorian Mystery Thriller Suspense Betrayal Clue Secret Twists Plotting

It is an intriguing and captivating book that will keep young readers on the edge of their seats. This book offers a thrilling and mysterious journey into the unknown. Set in an atmospheric and eerie world, "A Whisper in the Dark" follows the adventu...

Silver Pitchers: and Independence, A Centennial Love Story Cover image

Silver Pitchers: and Independence, A Centennial Love Story

Romance Fiction Novel
Independence Mystery Courage Loyalty Friendship Freedom Passion Desire Intriguing Hidden Motives

The picturesque landscape of Harmony, where the year is 1876, and the nation is celebrating its centennial anniversary. Louisa May Alcott weaves a mesmerizing tale of love, independence, and the resilience of the human spirit. At the center of this...

A Modern Mephistopheles Cover image

A Modern Mephistopheles

Mystery Adventure Thriller Moral Dilemmas Espionage Ambition Seduction Psychological Gothic Fiction

In the shadows of the city's dimly lit streets, a mysterious figure weaves a web of temptation and desire. "A Modern Mephistopheles" by Louisa May Alcott is a gripping tale of seduction, ambition, and moral dilemmas. When Felix Canaris, a struggling...

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