See a letter written by Louisa to her publisher regarding a sequel to Little Women

In conjunction with an exhibit at the Houghton Library at Harvard University entitled  Louisa May Alcott: Family Life & Publishing Ventures, Alcott scholars Daniel Shealy and Joel Myerson contributed a post to Houghton’s blog called “You’ve Got Mail” (highlighting various letters from Houghton’s vast collection) regarding a sequel to Little Women.

Here’s a tease. Be sure and click on the link to see the actual letter written by Louisa to Thomas Niles, her publisher.

You’ve Got Mail: Little Women II: Wedding Marches

Because Little Women is embedded in the American mind as a classic children’s book, readers often forget that Louisa May Alcott always viewed herself as a professional author who wrote in order to make money, much of which went to help support her parents and sisters, and later, nephews and a niece. Between 1868, when Little Women was published, and 1886, when Alcott recorded her last royalty statement, she received $103,375 from her publisher, Roberts Brothers. During that same stretch they printed 846,291 copies of her books, and between 1868 and 1898, when the firm was bought by Little, Brown, and Company, they printed 597,827 copies of Little Women in all its various formats. In comparison, Henry James earned $58,503 during the same period, and Herman Melville was paid, from all American and British sales of his books, $10,444.33 during his entire lifetime.

Click here to see the letter and the rest of the article.

Thanks to Two Nerdy History Girls: Breakfast Links: Week of May 21, 2012
By Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott for the tip!

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3 Replies to “See a letter written by Louisa to her publisher regarding a sequel to Little Women”

  1. $103,375 for her last royalty payment! Wow, I wonder how much that is in today’s dollars…amazing that she earned so much more than James and Melville…

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