Louisa May Alcott (1832 - 1888)
Louisa was a novelist and poet best known for Little Women, based on her own family's experiences during the Civil War. She grew up among the intellectuals of the day, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. She was unusually well-educated for women of her time and actively engaged with the world.
Louisa worked from an early age to help support her family, which always struggled with finances. Writing was an outlet for her energetic spirit, and she wrote some very lively fiction for young adults under a pen name, A. M. Barnard, which masked the fact that she was a woman and spared her reputation.
Little Women was a huge success and made her real name quite famous. She was an abolitionist and a feminist, writing for the Atlantic Monthly and working with other leaders to promote the vote for women and freedom for slaves. She served as a nurse during the Civil War and wrote eloquently about the corruption she found in the medical establishment.
Spending time with Louisa opens unexpected worlds. She wrote often in her journals that she loved to go on runs, and she challenged the social norms of her day by encouraging her young female readers to run for pleasure, as well. Enjoy conversing with this forward-looking woman from the past, whose transcendentalist roots make for a vibrant experience.