Author: Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott, c. 1857

Louisa May Alcott (1832–88) was the second of four daughters of Amos Bronson Alcott, the Boston transcendentalist whose social circle included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Alcott herself turned to the practical aspects of life and living after a utopian commune her father founded collapsed. She published stories and articles, often under the male pen-name A. M. Barnard, as well as a collection of her letters from her time as a Civil War nurse, before the best-selling classic Little Women (1868), a semi-autobiographical novel, established Alcott as one of America’s most successful novelists. 

A Night, from Hospital Sketches

Louisa May Alcott

American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832–88), later famous for Little Women and Little Men, drew on her personal experience as a volunteer nurse during the Civil War to write Hospital Sketches (1863). During her time in a Washington, DC hospital, nursing wounded Union soldiers fresh from the battle of Fredericksburg (1862), she wrote letters home, from which she soon after composed the Sketches, narrated by a novice nurse “Tribulation Periwinkle.”

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Louisa May Alcott

This story from 1881 by the beloved New England author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (1832–88) presents a picture of a 19th-century Thanksgiving in a farming family in New Hampshire before there were stoves and supermarkets, when all food was raised in the fields around the house and cooked in the hearth that kept the house warm.