Louisa May Alcott's 184th birthday

Happy 184th birthday, Louisa!
If she were alive today, Louisa May would be very old indeed. Even though she is not still living, we can wish her a happy birthday.

        Louisa May Alcott

My book came out; and people began to think that
topsy-turvy Louisa would amount to something after all ...

-Louisa May Alcott, 1855

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. 

Germantown, PA
For Louisa, writing was an early passion.  She had a rich imagination and often her stories became melodramas that she and her sisters Anna, Elizabeth, and May would act out for friends.  Louisa preferred to play the "lurid" parts in these plays --"the villains, ghosts, bandits, and disdainful queens."

At age 15, troubled by the poverty that plagued her family, she vowed:   "I will do something by and by.  Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!"

Confronting a society that offered little opportunity to women seeking employment, Louisa determined, "... I will make a battering-ram of my head and make my way through this rough and tumble world." 

An Assyrian battering ram attacking an enemy city.
 When Louisa was 35 years old, her publisher in Boston, Thomas Niles, asked her to write "a book for girls."  Little Women is based on Louisa and her sisters’ coming of age and is set in Civil War New England.  

"Jo March" was the first American juvenile heroine to act from her own individuality --a living, breathing person rather than the idealized stereotype then prevalent in children’s fiction.

In all, Louisa published over 30 books and collections of stories.  She died on March 6, 1888.

"I was ten years old and looking for something to read one summer afternoon when I spied a book called Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and became bewitched by the March family. The more I think about it, the more it seems that the March family planted the seeds of my liberal faith."


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