Origin of the P.C. and the P.O. from Little Women — it started earlier than you think.

Research has a way of taking you places you never thought to go. I recently rereaded a 1937 biography of Louisa May Alcott by Katherine Anthony (of which I will write about in a future post) and started to wonder why so much came out about the Alcott family that year. An era of the …

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A rare look at Louisa May Alcott’s life as an invalid and a patient What would you like to know about the woman behind Beth March? “Poppy’s Pranks” reveals the childhood of Louisa May Alcott Comparing the March sisters with their real life counterparts Major acquisition by the Concord Library of Louisa May Alcott working …

Recent discovery of Thoreau’s notes sheds light on tragic drowning of Margaret Fuller

The Houghton Library at Harvard University has acquired the complete set of notes made by Henry David Thoreau as he visited the site of Margaret Fuller's drowning along with her husband and little son aboard the steamship Elizabeth. Here is a teaser from the article, published in the Harvard Gazette: A recent Houghton Library acquisition …

Revealing the real Abigail Alcott to the world must include Bronson

Slowly but surely I am getting through Abba’s letters in relation to my research on Lizzie Alcott. These letters cover a period from 1853 to 1858. Abba’s handwriting is difficult; it appears she often wrote in haste. Her eyesight was poor so it’s amazing she could write letters at all considering she was writing either …

Tweeting live from the Houghton Library today

I will be tweeting from the Houghton Library today and let you know when I find something cool. Watch out for my tweets at @LMAismypassion. You follow can me here: https://twitter.com/LMAismypassion Don't do Twitter? There's a live Twitter feed on this blog - scroll down and you'll see it on the left hand side. Back …

Question for you: How interested are you in unpublished letters from Alcott family members?

As I've been transcribing letters I've seen at the Houghton Library, I've been dying to share their content with you. I wrote to Houghton asking for permission and as long as I properly cite them, I can publish as much as I want! Here's the question: Would you be interested in full-length letters on this …

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. …

A day at Houghton: Getting to know the inner Bronson through his own hand

Ever since last July I have dreamed of the day I could return to the Houghton Library at Harvard and Saturday was that day. I had made a connection with one of the librarians who had supplied me with scans of three of Abba’s letters (see previous post). She told me that a collection of …

Six women writers (including Louisa May Alcott) and their journeys as writers on film

There is a wonderful film online featuring the stories of six prominent women writers (including Louisa May Alcott, of course!. It is called Behind a Mask: Six Women Finding a Space to Write. Here is the summary from the website, Films on Demand Digital Educational Video: Behind a Mask: Six Women Finding a Space to …