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Louisa May Alcott Collection

Identifier: MSN/MN 3010

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 4 items: 1 letter written by Louisa May Alcott; another letter written on her behalf by her London publisher, an inscribed photograph, and finally a page from the manuscript for the novel Jack and Jill: A Village Story.


  • Creation: 1879-1887


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) is the American writer best known for her novel Little Women and such sequels as Little Men and Jo's Boys. Although she was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, she grew up in Boston and Concord, and among the close family friends were: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, and other leading intellectuals of the day. Because of the family's financial difficulties, she worked at a variety of jobs including: seamstress, governess, teacher, and domestic servant. However, she also profited from the advanced educational theories of her father Amos Bronson Alcott and the intellectual atmosphere created by the family's circle of friends and acquaintances. Her parents encouraged her writing, which soon began appearing in journals and which gradually became an important revenue stream for the family.

Because she wrote such books as Little Women and edited such monthlies as Merry's Museum for young readers, Louisa May Alcott was long considered a children's author. However, toward the latter part of the 20th century, scholars began paying more attention to her sensational stories and novels which were published anonymously or under such pseudonyms as A. M. Barnard. Though none of these works can be considered outstanding, they reveal Alcott's understanding of literary techniques and conventions, characterization and plot, and her use of detail and vernacular speech to provide a realistic picture of New England life. They also indicated her strong interest in such important issues of the day as: abolition, educational reform, temperance, and women's rights. Though still revered for a handful of juvenile classics, a more complete picture of Louisa May Alcott has emerged.


4 items.

Language of Materials



This small collection consists of one letter written by Louisa May Alcott, one letter written on her behalf by her London publisher, one inscribed photographic portrait, and one page from the manuscript of the novel, Jack and Jill: a Village Story.


Collection is unarranged.

Related Materials

The primary collections of Louisa May Alcott's papers are at the Houghton Library at Harvard; the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts; the Boston Public Library; and the Clifton Waller Barrett Library, Manuscript Division, at the University of Virginia.

Louisa May Alcott Collection
Kenneth Kinslow
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556