On November 29, 1832, Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, PA. She shared a birthday with her father, Amos Bronson Alcott, an American educator and transcendentalist. Her family moved to Massachusetts when she was two years old, and she spent her childhood surrounded such family friends as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Alcott embarked upon her own literary career with a selection of stories called Flower Fables in 1849, and she gained critical recognition in 1863 for Hospital Sketches, a collection of her letters home to Massachusetts while serving as a nurse in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. She is, of course, best known today for her semi-autobiographical novel, Little Women, a celebrated classic of children’s literature.
In addition to her literary career, Alcott was also an outspoken abolitionist and later became an advocate for women’s suffrage. You can learn more about Alcott’s life, philosophy and politics at Opening History where several of her lesser known works are available through University of Pennsylvania’s A Celebration of Women Writers Collection.