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Louisa May Alcott facts for kids

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Louisa May Alcott
Alcott at about age 20
Alcott at about age 20
Born (1832-11-29)November 29, 1832
Germantown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died March 6, 1888(1888-03-06) (aged 55)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Pen name A. M. Barnard
Occupation Novelist
Period American Civil War
Genre Prose, poetry
Subject Young adult fiction
Notable works Little Women


Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 - March 6, 1888) was an American writer. She was born at Germantown, Pennsylvania to Amos Bronson Alcott, a controversial educator.

In 1834, the Alcott family moved to Massachusetts, finally settling at Concord. Family friends in the area included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Early Years

Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of a teacher. He and his wife helped children. Louisa was the second of four daughters. The family moved to Boston in 1834, where Alcott's father started a school and was friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

In 1840, after the school ended, the Alcott family moved to a small house on land next to a river in Concord, Massachusetts. Louisa's mom had a lot of money and with some help from Ralph Waldo Emerson, they bought land in Concord, Massachusetts. They moved on April 1, 1845. Louisa went to work at an early age. She taught, sewed, and did chores in houses. In 1848, her first book, Flower Fables, was published.

Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott

Louisa was taught by Henry David Thoreau and her father. Her father was really hard and taught her to not think about herself. She was also taught by important people like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. They were friends of her family. She also wrote for a newspaper.

In 1847, she and her family helped on the Underground Railroad, they allowed a runaway enslaved person to stay in their house for one week. Alcott believed that women should be treated better and became the first woman allowed to vote in Concord, Massachusetts.


She wrote many sensational stories and passionate novels such as A Long Fatal Love Chase. She also wrote stories for children. The critics liked these children's stories.

In 1868, Little Women was published. It was a great success. After Little Women, Alcott wrote Little Men in 1871 and Jo's Boys in 1886. These books were about four fictional sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March. The books were based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her own three sisters. The character of Jo was based on Alcott herself. Other children's books by Alcott include Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Under the Lilacs, and Jack and Jill.

Alcott supported the rights of women and enslaved people in America. In 1860, Alcott wrote for a newspaper. When the American Civil War began, she worked as a nurse in a hospital at Georgetown, D.C., for six weeks in 1862–1863. She wanted to serve three months as a nurse, but she contracted typhoid but eventually she did get better. Her letters to her home were put in popular newspapers and books (1863, republished with additions in 1869). These letters gave her fame, and people liked her observations and humor. Many people liked her stories and became fans of her writing.

Louisa May Alcott 5c 1940 issue
Louisa May Alcott commemorative stamp, 1940 issue

Alcott became very famous with her book Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (1868), a story of her childhood with her sisters in Massachusetts. Part two, or Part Second, also known as Good Wives (1869), followed the characters into adulthood and marriage.

Little Men (1871) talked about Jo's life at the Plumfield School that she started with her husband Professor Bhaer at the end of Part Two of Little Women. Jo's Boys (1886) completed the "March Family Saga". In Little Women, Alcott based her character "Jo" on herself. But Jo marries at the end of the story, and Alcott never got married. She said, "I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man's soul put by some freak of nature into a woman's body ... because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man." Every character in Little Women is like a person in Alcott's own life.

Little Women was liked by a lot of people of different ages. A reviewer of Eclectic Magazine called it "the very best of books to reach the hearts of the young of any age from six to sixty". People also liked the book because it was like their own lives.


Alcott died of a stroke at age 55 in Boston, Massachusetts on March 6, 1888.

In popular culture

Little Women inspired film versions in 1933, 1949, 1994, 2018, and 2019. The novel also inspired television series in 1958, 1970, 1978, and 2017, and anime versions in 1981 and 1987.

Little Men inspired film versions in 1934, 1940, and 1998. This novel also was the basis for a 1998 television series.

Other films based on Alcott novels and stories are An Old-Fashioned Girl (1949), The Inheritance (1997), and An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008). In 2009 PBS produced an American Masters episode titled "Louisa May Alcott – The Woman Behind 'Little Women' ". In 2016 a Google Doodle of the author was created by Google artist Sophie Diao.

A dramatized version of Alcott appeared as a character in the television series Dickinson, in the episode "There's a Certain Slant of Light," which premiered on November 1, 2019. Alcott was portrayed by Zosia Mamet.

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