Recollections of Louisa May Alcott by Maria S. Porter, longtime friend in later life

Louisa May Alcott had numerous friends and admirers. Being writers themselves (or children of famous writers such as Julian Hawthorne, see previous post), these friends and admirers provide us with what I think are the most colorful biographical sketches of Louisa. No scholar can truly capture what a contemporary (especially a friend) can reveal through …

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Happy birthday! Bronson Alcott at 216, Louisa at 183

Louisa May Alcott had remarked in her journal that memories of her November 29th birthday were not always happy ones. The gift of self-denial There’s the famous story of birthday number 3, celebrated at her father’s Temple School where, in the end, she had to deny herself her own birthday treat and give it to …

A visit to Fruitlands where Louisa took up the family cross

Back in October I took a trip to Fruitlands in Harvard, MA, only about 40 minutes from my home. That visit sparked a long period of binge reading on the subject which is why, in the dead of winter, I’m only getting around to writing about that visit now. A paradox Having immersed myself in …

From Alcott Memoirs: Bronson from the point of view of a grateful student

In his book, Alcott Memoirs, Dr. Frederick Llewellyn Hovey Willis spends much time describing the special relationship he shared with Bronson Alcott, and the profound effect Bronson had on Dr. Willis’ life. As a teenage boy, Willis spent many hours in conversation with Bronson and recorded some of these in his journal. Thus we have …

What was Louisa May Alcott really like? The memories of her “adopted” brother

Of all the memoirs written by people who knew the Alcotts well, none provided more detailed descriptions of family members than Frederick Llewellyn Hovey Willis' book, Alcott Memoirs. In a series of posts, I will share with you his impressions of each member of this illustrious family. Willis' daughter Ellen who compiled the memoir described …

“A Memorable Evening at the Alcotts’ House” as recalled by Edward W. Emerson

I recently picked up a lovely volume from the library entitled Louisa May Alcott An Intimate Anthology, put together the by New York Public Library using materials from their archives. What's inside The book contains stories and essays Louisa wrote about herself, excerpts from her journals, intimate poetry, short stories and recollections from friends. Resistance …

Louisa May Alcott’s summer retreat

A trip to a warehouse bookstore in the middle of nowhere produced a great find! I had just about given up the hope of finding something interesting until this book caught my eye:  Nonquitt A Summer Album, 1872-1985, edited by Anne M. Lyell. What is so significant about Nonquitt? This is where Louisa May Alcott …