Louisa May Alcott, 1832 - 1888

Louisa May was the second daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott.  As with his first daughter, Anna Bronson Alcott, Bronson made careful observations of Louisa's behavior as an infant and upon these based unpublished manuscripts.  As early as age 16 Louisa dreamed of adding to the family's meager income through writing.  Before writing, however, she was employed as a teacher at various schools and in late 1862 and early 1863 served as an army nurse in Washington, DC.  Unfortunately, this experience left her with typhoid-pneumonia and mercury poisoning that plagued her health the rest of her life.  Among her first works were Flower Fables (1854), Hospital Sketches (1863), and Moods (1865, 1882).  Thanks to Louisa's generosity and hard work as a popular and prolific children's author, the Alcott family finally was able to obtain enough money to escape poverty.  Of her many poems, plays, novels, and short stories, her most famous are Little Women (1868 - 1869) and Little Men (1871).