The New International Encyclopædia/Alcott, Louisa May

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ALCOTT, Louisa May (1832-88). An American novelist and juvenile writer. She was born at Germantown, Pa., November 29, 1832, and died at Boston, March 6, 1888. She began her active life as a teacher, writing stories of harmless sensation for weekly journals, and publishing the insignificant Flower Fables (1855). During the Civil War she volunteered as an army nurse, and wrote for a newspaper the letters afterward collected as Hospital Sketches (1863). She first attracted notice by Little Women (1868; second part, 1869), the best and most popular of her writings. Among the more noteworthy of numerous other contributions to the literature of adolescence are: An Old-Fashioned Girl (1869), Little Men (1871), Jo's Boys (1886). Her novels, Moods (1863) and Work (1873), attracted little attention. In later years she suffered much from ill-health; but her writing was to the last singularly buoyant and hopeful, full of faith in human nature, democracy, and freedom. She was typical in her social ethics of the literary generation in which her father, Amos Bronson Alcott (q.v.), had been a prominent figure. There is a Life, by Cheney (Boston, 1889).