Meet the artist to whom May Alcott acted as mentor: Daniel Chester French

Before May Alcott left for Europe to study and become a professional artist, she gave lessons from a studio at Orchard House which her father Bronson made for her. A student of hers created one of the most iconic pieces of sculpture in America: One of his first commissioned works is in Concord: That artist …

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A fresh examination of May Alcott Nieriker: Did Genius Burn?

I am pleased to present  a most interesting and insightful essay on May Alcott Nieriker by Azelina  Flint, an Alcott scholar from Great Britain who organized a conference in Paris last year called "Recovering May Alcott Nieriker's Life and Work." It begins with an intriguing letter written by May to her father, Bronson when she …

Did the real Amy March get together with the real-life Laurie? Letters between May Alcott and Alf Whitman

Did the real-life Amy know Laurie? Apparently so, and they were good friends! How do we know? Through a stash of letters at the Houghton Library from May Alcott to Alfred Whitman. Who was Laurie based upon? Alf is one of two boys on whom Laurie from Little Women was based (the other being Louisa's …

Petition drive begun for a memorial plaque for May Alcott Nieriker

I have gotten to know some amazing people through this blog; one of them is a young British scholar, Azelina Flint. Like many of us, she is fascinated by May Alcott. And like us, she is grieved that May was eventually buried in an unmarked common grave just outside of Paris (see previous post). That, …

A blunt, controversial psychological study of Miss Alcott — Katharine Anthony’s 1937 biography

The 1930s was an interesting time in Alcott scholarship. The year 1932 marked the one hundredth year of Louisa’s birth. 1938 not only marked the 50th anniversary of Louisa and Bronson’s death but also the 70th anniversary of the publication of Little Women. Thus in 1937, two important biographies were released – Odell Shepherd’s Pedlar’s …

Inside the heart of Bronson Alcott

In the last post covering John Matteson's talk at the Colonial Inn I mentioned Bronson Alcott's Sonnets and Canzonets, published in 1882 and how they reveal the heart of the man. Each sonnet or canzonet is dedicated to his wife, daughters and many luminary friends such as Ralph Waldo  Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. …

Don’t miss the special exhibit of rare artifacts at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

On Thursday I toured Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. I was anxious to see the artifacts pictured in The Annotated Little Women, edited by John Matteson and took a vacation day to see them as November can get swallowed up in holiday preparations. If you live anywhere near Concord and can get to this exhibit, …