An explanation of Homeopathy (the treatment of choice by the Alcotts)

This is a fascinating article that explains with great clarity the scope and nature of  homeopathic medicine (my thanks to Dr. Norbert Hirschhorn  for this referral). Bronson and Abba Alcott were firm believers in Homeopathy, using its treatments and medicines (in lieu of a doctor) during the outbreak of smallpox in the family in 1850, …

Review of “Louisa on the Front Lines” by Samantha Seiple

Many fans of Little Women are not aware of the fact that Louisa May Alcott, a bestselling children's author, also served her country during the Civil War as a nurse.  Because of her experience in taking care of her dying sister Lizzie, Alcott was accepted as a nurse, serving in Washington, DC in the Union …

The Alcott daughters as beneficiaries of their parents’ progressive ideas on education

Recently I read an essay called “Women, Menstruation and Nineteenth Century Medicine” by Vern Bullough and Martha Voght which discussed how misinformation regarding women and menstruation prevented them from receiving an education. The essay covered familiar territory with regards to how the world of medicine regarded women’s health in the nineteenth century. (See previous post)  …

A rare look at Louisa May Alcott’s life as an invalid and a patient

You never know what you will find out from a librarian. Or where research will lead you. That's what makes it so addictive. The Alcotts and Homeopathy My research on Elizabeth Alcott has recently led me into the world of alternative medicine. The Alcotts were followers of Homeopathy, a popular alternative to traditional medicine in …

Women’s health issues in Alcott’s time: Lizzie’s diagnosis and its repercussions

Research is addictive. It’s a lot like writing, taking you on a journey far beyond where you imagined you would go. Researching Elizabeth Alcott’s life is taking me on that unexpected journey. In the next few posts, I will take you there too, into the world of nineteenth century women’s health issues. Just a note …

Places that are redemptive, and damning: Monday presentation by Stephen Burby at the Summer Conversational Series

Note: Mr. Burby kindly gave me his presentation (handwritten notes and all) in lieu of the fact that I was unable to attend the Monday session of the Summer Conversational Series. I thank him for doing so. This is a longer post than usual as I found his presentation to be quite thought-provoking. * * * …

Elisabeth Alcott through the eyes of her father

By the time Elisabeth Sewall Alcott was born, Bronson had moved on from chronicling the daily activities of his daughters to exploring the soul. In Eden’s Outcasts, John Matteson writes that “Elizabeth was fairer than her elder sisters and … was the model of serenity that Bronson had vainly hoped Anna and Louisa would be. …