Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

louisa may alcott

Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Little Women was set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, and is loosely based on her childhood experiences with her three sisters.

She also wrote passionate, fiery novels and sensational stories under the nom de plume A. M. Barnard. Among these are A Long Fatal Love Chase and Pauline's Passion and Punishment. Her protagonists for these tales are willful and relentless in their pursuit of their own aims, which often include revenge on those who have humiliated or thwarted them.

In her later life, Alcott became an advocate for women's suffrage and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts, in a school board election.

Louisa May Alcott, who continued to write until her death, suffered chronic health problems in her later years, including vertigo. She and her earliest biographers attributed her illness and death to mercury poisoning (during her American Civil War service, Alcott contracted typhoid fever and was treated with a compound containing mercury). Recent analysis of Alcott's illness, however, suggests that her chronic health problems may have been associated with an autoimmune disease, not acute mercury exposure. Alcott died at age 55 of a stroke in Boston, on March 6, 1888 at 3:30am, two days after her father's death. Her last words were "Is it not meningitis?"