The Palace Beautiful: The Little Women trail #5

This is a wonderful tour of the places where Jo March and family members dwelled through the real-life Alcott family members. My thanks to the “Much Ado about Little Women” blog.

Much ado about Little Women

By Trix Wilkins

There is something intriguing about the history of a home – who designed it and why, what accomplishments occurred under its refuge, who might have met within its walls and what precious moments might have consequently transpired? This trail follows the homes from the life of Louisa May Alcott that appear to make cameo appearances in Little Women – from their humble homes in Concord to the Hancock family manor in Boston.

The March sisters’ plays: Hillside House (now known as The Wayside)

“In a suburb of the city…an old brown house, looking rather bare and shabby, robbed in of the vines that in summer covered its walls, and the flowers which then surrounded it.”

According to Louisa’s teacher, Henry David Thoreau, Hillside was haunted by one of its previous owners. Despite this, Louisa spent happy early teenage years here and it became one of the homes…

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Celebrating the re-opening of The Wayside — a peak inside

After a three year renovation, the home of famous authors Louisa May Alcott, Nathanial Hawthorne and Margaret Sidney is finally open! I recently toured the house and was allowed to take pictures of each room, some of which I will share in this post. The force behind the preservation of the home Sidney (aka Harriet …

Remember this painting of The Wayside where the Little Women actually grew up? Artist Joyce Pyka sends us an update

You may recall an artist's rendition of The Wayside, originally named Hillside by Bronson Alcott after the home was purchased with Abba Alcott's inheritance. Although Orchard House is the physical setting for Little Women, artist Joyce Pyka, like many of us Alcott fans, knows that many of the childhood stories of the girls took place …

Tracing the steps of Little Women: Madeleine B. Stern’s brilliant analysis, part four: The All-American Novel makes a cherished dream come true

Little did Louisa May Alcott know that when she wrote Little Women, her classic book based upon her own family life and their “queer” adventures, she was writing the story that was on the heart of all Americans. Universal family It was time when American yearned for its own literature, its own family. The March …

On vacation with Louisa May Alcott: Day Two of the Summer Conversational Series – Louisa as a practicing Transcendentalist

Day Two of the Summer Conversational Series featured a fine array of speakers. Kristi Lynn Martin and Duty's Faithful Child Starting off the morning was Kristi Lynn Martin, a doctoral candidate at Boston University. Martin’s many years of experience as a tour guide at Concord’s finest historical homes (The Old Manse, “Bush” (aka the Emerson …

Much-needed repairs to The Wayside will close the historic house for two years

Be aware if you are visiting Concord: The Wayside, once known as Hillside to the Alcotts, will be closed for renovations for the next two years. Minuteman National Park which maintains the home has acquired the much-needed funds to effect repairs. Neighborhood walking tours will be given for free by the Wayside tour guides as …

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 …

My 3 days with Louisa (part 5): Houghton Library introduces me to Lizzie Alcott – up close and personal

My last of three days with Louisa was spent in the most intimate fashion, buried in papers written by the hands of her sisters and father at the Houghton Library at Harvard Square in Cambridge. What is Houghton like? Unlike Harvard’s main library, the Grand Dame known as Widener, Houghton is the little sister tucked …

Why is Louisa’s voice so powerful in my life? A childhood recollection

It’s been slow at work the last couple of days so I’ve been able to indulge in reading and research (one of the best perks of my job). It gave me a chance to revisit one of the first biographies I read on Louisa, Louisa May Alcott by Katharine Anthony. Published in 1937, it was …

Quirky Wayside offers a wealth of history: the architecture

When you think about all the different people who lived at The Wayside over the years, it's no wonder the house has gone through so many changes. Here are some of the more significant ones: Home of a minuteman The earliest known date for The Wayside is  c.1700 and was a typical two story, wood …