Louisa May Alcott’s ocean retreat: Nonquitt today

After selling Orchard House in 1884, Louisa May Alcott invested some of the returns into a summer cottage in Nonquitt, a beachfront community in Dartmouth, MA, located on the South Shore. Here she could take Lulu for a summer respite. She enjoyed several summers there with Anna and her sons who took part in the …

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“Let the World Know You Are Alive”: May Alcott Nieriker and Louisa May Alcott Confront Nineteenth-Century Ideas about Women’s Genius

I am pleased to share with you a wonderful essay about the professional lives of Louisa  May Alcott and May Alcott Nieriker written by Lauren Hehmeyer, a professor of History and English at Texarkana College. Professor Hehmeyer presented at the May Alcott conference in Paris in June of 2018 (see previous post) and is currently …

Meet the artist to whom May Alcott acted as mentor: Daniel Chester French

Before May Alcott left for Europe to study and become a professional artist, she gave lessons from a studio at Orchard House which her father Bronson made for her. A student of hers created one of the most iconic pieces of sculpture in America: One of his first commissioned works is in Concord: That artist …

A fresh examination of May Alcott Nieriker: Did Genius Burn?

I am pleased to present  a most interesting and insightful essay on May Alcott Nieriker by Azelina  Flint, an Alcott scholar from Great Britain who organized a conference in Paris last year called "Recovering May Alcott Nieriker's Life and Work." It begins with an intriguing letter written by May to her father, Bronson when she …

Marmee and Louisa Book Discussion: Chapter Two “Drawing Toward Some Ideal Friend”

As a 19th century woman from a well-connected family, nineteen-year-old Abba Alcott was decidedly unconventional. She resisted the idea of marriage, preferring instead to study while nurturing dreams of opening her own school. Abba dreaded the pairing that had been arranged for her with cousin Samuel May Frothingham; his unexpected death freed her from that …

Chapter XXXII. Tender Troubles

Jo and Beth shared a special relationship, including things in common. My take on “Tender Troubles” from Little Women.

Little Women 150

By Susan Bailey

Marmee was worried about Beth and for good reason. Her daughter was quieter than usual, even withdrawing from her father. She would cry when visiting with Meg’s babies. Her music was tinged with sadness. Unable to draw Beth out, Marmee asked Jo to find out what was wrong.

Jo thought she had the answer: Beth was in love with Laurie. But in her lack of experience with matters of the heart, she misread the signs. Does a girl in love stare out of a window with a tear sliding down her cheek? Does she cry over her little niece and nephew because she is longing for Laurie? Why would she withdraw from her family?

Jo tried to look at the bright side when it came to her favorite sister even if the signs were pointing in the opposite direction. Hoping that Beth had moved beyond her lingering…

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Marmee and Louisa Book Discussion: Chapter One “A good child, but willful”

Born on October 8, 1800, Abigail May came from a long line of wealthy, prominent Boston families. They included the Sewalls (Judge Samuel Sewall, the “repenting judge,” who had presided over the Salem Witch Trials to which he spent the rest of his life atoning for those actions), the Mays (who fought in the American …