Abba May Alcott, 1840 - 1879

Abba May--known simply as "May"--was the fourth daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott and the only daughter to be born in Concord, Massachusetts.  Although she studied at the Bowdoin School to become a teacher, it became evident that she was a gifted artist.  At first called a "little Raphael" by the family, May added to the family income by teaching art and by painting and selling decorative objects.  She even painted inside the family home, Orchard House, filling the nooks and corners with faces, birds, flowers, and mottoes in ancient English characters.  She was best known for her reproductions of English landscape painter J.M.W. Turner (1775 - 1851), praised by art critic John Ruskin as the best that had ever been done.  She studied in Europe, and in 1877 one of her works was accepted and displayed by the prestigious Paris Salon.  She married Ernest Nieriker in 1878 and gave birth to Louisa May Nieriker in 1879.