Louisa May Alcott
(1832 - 1888)
Daughter of a famous Transcendentalist founder of a failed utopian community, Louisa May Alcott is best known for her children’s books, not her first stories, which were salacious and violent. Alcott tutored Ralph Waldo Emerson’s daughter, often reading works of philosophy and literature in his library. After six weeks serving as a volunteer nurse during the Civil War, she contracted typhoid and was forced to return home to Concord. She wrote Little Women in a six-week period in 1868 based on her own family life. It was an immediate success and continues to be a staple of children’s literature.