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 …

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 …

“Marmee and Louisa” book discussion: Introduction – why Abba Alcott?

Eve LaPlante’s ancestral link with the Alcotts extends to readers of Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother a unique and intimate connection to this family. In the introduction, she mentions a trunk in her attic, passed down by an aunt. Although it and other treasures have been in …

What attracted Abigail May to Bronson Alcott? Beginning a book club discussion of “Marmee and Louisa” by Eve LaPlante

I am pleased to announce that we will be doing a book discussion in the coming weeks on Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Mother by Eve LaPlante. Each Thursday I will do a post on one chapter of the book, giving a brief reflection and offering discussion questions. …

Happy Birthday to two bigger-than-life minds and hearts: A. Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott

Father and daughter, polar opposites in temperament. Both brilliant (he metaphysical, philosophical; she practical, from the heart). Both spiritual (Communion with The Spirit vs. "practical Christianity"). Both prolific writers. Both bigger than life. The Alcotts loved celebrating birthdays. Abba wrote back in 1851, "I seldom omit these occasions for showing my children the joy I …

Upcoming presentation on the Alcott connection in Swampscott and Lynn, Massachusetts

From Metaphysics & Christian Science to “Little Women:” The Alcott Family’s Connections with Swampscott & Lynn Presented by Susan Bailey Thursday, May 24 at 7 pm Swampscott Public Library 61 Burrill St., Swampscott, MA 01907 Between 1839 and 1876, Swampscott and Lynn hosted members of Louisa May Alcott’s family. Progressive educator, reformer and philosopher Bronson …

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)  …