Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Per the UK Telegraph site: “Women growing up in 19th Century Massachusetts were not expected to be particularly influential, or to fight for human rights, but Louisa May Alcott, one of the best-known female authors of the time, was rarely one to conform to type.” She became a famous feminist and campaigned for the abolition of slavery.
As her family were not wealthy, Louisa worked to help support them as a housemaid and teacher. When the Civil War broke out, she volunteered as a nurse. She wrote up her experiences there as Hospital Sketches. She had already been publishing writing under various pseudonyms, but the success of this book led her to have the courage to use her own name. Shortly afterward, she wrote her coming of age novel Little Women, for which she is best known today. It was based on her own family. Again quoting from the Telegraph article. They say the book “may seem overly moralistic and formal by today’s standards, but set a mark for female individualism in the 1860s. The women were at the centre of the book and fully formed characters who grappled with their own choices, even within traditional domestic roles.” Alcott went on to write several novels in the series, such as Little Men, Jo’s Boys, and Eight Cousins. Today we celebrate a brave, independent nineteenth-century woman.
Quotes by Louisa May Alcott
I like good strong words that mean something.
I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
Let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth’s sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won.
“Stay” is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary.
The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.
A faithful friend is a strong defense;
And he that hath found him hath found a treasure.
I want to do something splendid… Something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead… I think I shall write books.
Love is a great beautifier.
Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.
Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.
The emerging woman … will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-souled, and strong-bodied … strength and beauty must go together.
I don’t pretend to be wise, but I am observing, and I see a great deal more than you’d imagine. I’m interested in other people’s experiences and inconsistencies, and, though I can’t explain, I remember and use them for my own benefit.
Nothing is impossible to a determined woman.
Some books are so familiar that reading them is like being home again.
Women work a great many miracles.
… for when women are the advisers, the lords of creation don’t take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do. Then they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it. If it fails, they generously give her the whole.
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