Louisa May Alcott

AFor the A to Z blogging challenge, I have chosen to highlight people who found success later in life because we can’t all be Justin Beiber.  My A is Louisa May Alcott who found her first taste of success at 31 but her biggest hit was Little Women when she was 36.


Interesting facts I found while studying Louisa May Alcott:

–  Her father was a part of the Transcendental Club with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau(two favorites of mine).  Alcott received lessons from them and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller.

–  They lived mostly in poverty.  Alcott worked early as a teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper, and writer.  I found this interesting because I grew up in what would be considered poverty and I’ve had a gazillion jobs.

– At one point after being unable to find work, she considered suicide.  I know that level of desperation.  During this time she read Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography on Charlotte Bronte and found parallels to her own life.  I guess it is fitting I would look to find inspiration in others just like Alcott.

–  Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist.  She and her family served as station masters on the Underground Railroad.

–  Alcott never married but did raise her sister’s daughter after her sister died.  I can think of multiple talented women who never married.  Perhaps men are a distraction from our writing.  This means I can blame my husband for my lack of literary work, right?

– Her last words were “Is it not meningitis?”  She is buried near Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts.

Success Route:

–  In 1860, began writing for Atlantic Monthly.  During the Civil War from 1862-1863, she served as a nurse at the Union Hospital in D.C. for six weeks before contracting typhoid.  Her letters home during this time period were published as Hospital Sketches and brought her first recognition.

–  In the mid-1860s, Alcott wrote under a nom de plume, A. M. Barnard, several fiery novels and sensational stories.  Then several works for children including Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy(1868).


My Take Away:

It is easier to work on your novel if you have no money or a man to distract you.  I tease.  I want to know if she was writing during her 20’s or if she was mostly working. Either way it does show sometimes you need to take longer to produce your product the way you know it deserves to be produced.  For the record, my first Louisa May Alcott story I read was Under the Lilacs.  What was yours?  If you haven’t read her, which book would you like to read?

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9 thoughts on “Louisa May Alcott”

  1. Brilliant, just what I need, a list of such people. About to enter my eightieth year, so am hoping that one day :0) I shall be added to such a list. Do encourage me, if you have a moment, and say you would be interested to receive my new adventure, a monthly newsletter, via a comment on my website please. http://caroleannecarr.co.uk.
    Afraid no one will be interested June x
    Carole Anne Carr recently posted..Fun with PaintingMy Profile

  2. A is for awesome post. Facts that I didn’t know about Louisa Alcott. My first story was Little Women. I haven’t gone back to read it in years. I think your interest in success later in life is interesting because I think success meets you when you’re ready for it and looking.
    Mary T Kincaid recently posted..A IS FOR ANGRYMy Profile

  3. Really enjoy your blog and your voice. Louisa May Alcott is a favorite of mine and of many. :)

    I did know most of what you said but not the suicide. I think all writers go there at some time or another. We make almost no money, get little respect, and give up so much. Most of my author friends work 12-18 hour days with almost no time off, and yet they depend on full-time salaries of their spouses.
    Anastasia Vitsky recently posted..A is for Azra the advisor and lavender scented sheetsMy Profile

  4. Hello! I loved your post today and will be looking forward to coming back for the rest of this challenge, even longer! The first book I read was Jack and Jill. I must go to the library and get more of her works. They are lovely. I have followed your blog via networked blogs. I am writing about all things crochet. You are welcome to take a look and please, if you like it, follow. Can’t wait till tomorrow!

  5. I first read “Little Women” when I was about Amy’s age. Then again, and again, and again. It was one of my favourite books as a child. Thank you for making Louisa May your ‘A’ post.

    Ros, visiting from GenWestUK

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