We've Got History
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
Born: Germantown (now a part of Philadelphia), Pennsylvania. Her family moved in 1834 to Boston, Massachusetts. and in 1840 to Concord, Massachusetts. She died in Boston.
Family: Alcott was one of four daughters. Although her father's association with the Transcendentalists allowed Louisa to grow up in an intellectual and untraditional environment. Her education served to foster her love and dedication to writing, acting, education and women's rights.
Our school is named for one of the most famous and foremost American writers, and one of the first major women authors, Louisa May Alcott .
More than two centuries after her death, her work remains classic especially her most celebrated novel, Little Women. It is so powerful and beloved, the novel has been made into a movie several times.
Little Women was published as a children's book 1868 to great success, for its heartfelt descriptions of family, hopes and dreams and the sacrifices of war. The success of this book led to other books based on Alcott's life such as Little Men and Jo's Boys. Louisa's success as a writer allowed her to support her family.
Her driving ambition was to promote womens' roles at a time where women still did not have the right to vote and it was a rare woman who finished school or held important jobs. She was a passionate abolitionist dedicated to ending the institution of slavery. So dedicated was she that she volunteered to be a nurse in an Army hospital in Washington, D.C.. during the Civil War. She risked her life and her health, and contracted typhoid fever during her service. This experience provided the theme for her work, Hospital Sketches.
Alcott is most popular for her children's literature, but she was confident enough as a writer to tackle adult fiction exploring themes of self-expression and women's rights that includes Behind a Mask; or, A Woman's Power.
Her influences came her friendships with from some of the leading intellectuals of the age. Most of Alcott's early education was received by her father, Bronson Alcott. She briefly attended school in Still River Village and a small school held in her family's barn. She was instructed throughout her childhood by her father's fellow Transcendentalists: writers and family friends, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne -- both great men have schools in San Diego Unified named for them as well!