How did May Alcott Nieriker’s “Studying Art Abroad” influence American art students flocking to Europe?

I am pleased to present this guest post by Lisa Francesca who is currently researching Carlotta Norton Smith, an art editor in New York’s Gilded Age. May Alcott Nieriker’s guide, Studying Art Abroad: And How to Do It Cheaply (Roberts Brothers, 1879), reads like a confidential chat over tea with a wise and experienced friend. …

Register for free symposium today, featuring my presentation on Lizzie Alcott

On May 31st at 11am, I will be giving a 15-minute presentation on Lizzie Alcott that I believe will be groundbreaking. To see the talk, you need to register right away for this free international symposium, "Bearing Untold Stories: A Hybrid Symposium." Registration closes tomorrow. Here is the link: 31st May: Bearing Untold Stories: A Hybrid …

Lizzie’s words, in her own handwriting – the Hillside diary, and other news

I just received my order from the Houghton Library at Harvard for Lizzie's Hillside journal. Now you can read Lizzie's words in her own handwriting: Presentation on Lizzie Alcott, sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University, UK I would also like to announce that I will be presenting a …

Latest update on my biography of Lizzie Alcott

I haven't given you an update since April of 2021 on my progress but I am pleased now to say that Chapter 2 has been edited and the first draft of Chapter 3 is complete. Chapter 3 proved quite the challenge.  I covered the seven-month-long Fruitlands experiment (June, 1843 through January, 1844) and the Alcotts' …

It’s here! “The Forgotten Alcott: Essays on the Artistic Legacy and Literary Life of May Alcott Nieriker” landed on my doorstep.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  Please note that the book is currently unavailable for purchase due to errors on the part of the publisher. The editors are working closely with Routledge to correct this situation.  Once settled,  The Forgotten Alcott will be made available for purchase again. On behalf of the editors and fellow contributors, I apologize for …

Experience The Wayside as Hillside – my latest article in the Fall 2021 edition of “Discover Concord”

When touring The Wayside, have you ever wondered how the house was laid out when the Alcotts lived there? My latest article in "Discover Concord" provides a first floor floorplan and descriptions of each room as it was used by the family. Visit to read the article. Bring it with you the next time …

Lizzie Alcott’s story told in quilts

The Littlest Woman: The Life and Legacy of Lizzie Alcott, the Real Beth March

I saw this article on a quilting blog and thought you might find it interesting. I wish I knew more about quilts and the significance of their design but perhaps some of you can offer help in your comments.

Here is the article:

Hands All Around #5: Star Puzzle for Elizabeth Alcott

Block #5 Star Puzzle by Becky Brown

A block for Elizabeth (Peabody) Sewall Alcott, the quiet sister. The puzzle may be: “How could anyone be quiet in that family?”

 Elizabeth (Peabody) Sewall Alcott (1835-1858) 
Crayon (chalk) portrait by Caroline Negus Hildreth 1857
Collection of Orchard House

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First draft of Chapter 2 of Lizzie book completed!

The Littlest Woman: The Life and Legacy of Lizzie Alcott, the Real Beth March

I am pleased to announce that I have completed the first draft of chapter 2 which focuses on the Alcott family’s first home in Concord. This was a fun chapter to write as there was much to say about the sisters. There are a couple of revealing letters from Bronson to Lizzie plus reminiscences from Lizzie’s best friend and next-door neighbor at the time, Lydia Hosmer.

Concordia (aka Dove Cote) courtesy of the Louisa May Alcott Memorial Society

Now that I have finally figured out the methodology for writing this book (and that has taken years as I am teaching myself), the writing goes along much faster. And as I edit, I learn new things — how will I make this book read like a novel rather than just a regurgitating of facts? What words and methods will I use to make the reader feel Lizzie’s story? And how will…

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Another stab at fiction – Father, sisters and childhood from Lizzie’s point of view

The Littlest Woman: The Life and Legacy of Lizzie Alcott, the Real Beth March

This is a series of scenes that I wrote for fun a few years ago. Sometimes I wish I didn’t work so slowly! I hope I stay healthy long enough to write a novel as well as a biography. I really love taking Lizzie’s point of view and seeing life as I imagine it through her eyes. But I can always write scenes. 🙂

This is the first draft.

Memories of Father

My first memory was of his face. It was a kind face with blue eyes like still pools, and I could see myself in them. Such a sweet countenance, one I could look at from morning till night. It broke into a smile, and a quiet voice spoke my name: “Elizabeth.” My arms shot up in an instant, hoping he would lift me.  He granted my wish, and as I snuggled close to his chest, he looked into…

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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, …

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