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. …

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The rise and fall of Bronson Alcott, in his own words

In pulling together my research for my biography on Elizabeth Alcott, I found the need to comb through Richard Herrnstadt’s enormous volume containing the vast majority of Bronson Alcott’s letters.* It requires a great deal of time to go through anything related to Bronson not only because of the amount of pages but because of …

Abba, Bronson and Lizzie: a slice of family dynamics – what does it tell us?

In 1853, Elizabeth Alcott suffered a bout of depression. She was seventeen at the time and the family was destitute, living in Boston and constantly on the move. Abba wrote the following to Bronson about the episode: "Elizabeth is in rather better spirits but it seems as if there had been some collapse of the …

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. …