ALCOTT, Louisa May, author, born in
Germantown, now a part of Philadelphia, 29 November, 1832. She is a daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott. When she was about two years of age her parents removed to Boston, and in her eighth year to Concord, Massachusetts At the age of eleven she was brought under the influence of the community that
endearored to establish itself near Harvard, in Worcester County. Thoreau was for a time her teacher; but she was instructed mainly by her father. She began to write for publication at the age of sixteen, but with no marked success for fifteen years. During that time she devoted ten years to teaching.
In 1862 she went to Washington as a volunteer nurse, and for many months labored in the military hospitals. At this time she wrote to her mother and sisters letters containing sketches of hospital life and experience, which on her return were revised and published in book form (Boston, 1863), and attracted much attention. In 1866 she went to Europe to recuperate her health, which had been seriously impaired by her hospital work, and on her return in 1867 she wrote "Little Women," which was published the following year, and made her famous.
The sales in less than three years amounted to 87,000 copies. Her characters are drawn from life, and are full of the buoyant,, free, hopeful New England spirit which marks her own enthusiastic love for nature, freedom, and life. Her other stories are conceived in the same vein, and have been almost equally popular. They are: "Flower Fables or Fairy Tales" (Boston, 1855) "Hospital Sketches," her first book, now out of print, reissued with other stories (1869); "An Old-Fashioned Girl" (1869); "Little Men " (1871); a series called "Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag" (1871-'82), containing "My Boys," "Shawl Straps," "Cupid and Chow-Chow," "My Girls," "Jimmy's Cruise in the Pinafore," and "An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving" ; "Work, A Story of Experience" (1873); "Eight Cousins" (1874) ; " Rose in Bloom" (1876) ; "Silver Pitchers" (1876); " Under the Lilacs" (1878) ; "Jack and Gill" (1880) ; "Moods" (1864), reissued in a revised edition (1881); " Proverb Stories" (1882); "Spinning-Wheel Stories" (1884) ; "Lulu's Library," the first of a new series (1885).
-- Edited Appleton's American
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