Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. She spent her childhood in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, where she met Ralph Waldo Emerson and took nature walks with Henry David Thoreau. When her family encountered financial difficulties, Alcott took on any jobs she could find and was eventually able to turn her love for writing into a source of income as several of her poems and short stories appeared in popular magazines.
Her first book, Flower Fables, was published in 1855. Then, during the Civil War, Alcott moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as a nurse, where she contracted typhoid as well as mercury poisoning from the medicines used to cure it at the time, from which she would suffer for the rest of her life. However, she was able to turn her experiences in Washington into Hospital Sketches, which was published in 1863.
Soon after, her publisher, Thomas Niles, asked her to write â€œa story for girls.â€ In two and half months, Alcott wrote Little Women, which was based on her own experiences of growing up with three sisters. It was published in 1868, and became an immediate success.
In the years before her death on March 6th, 1888, Alcott published over 30 books and collections of short stories, leaving a legacy of wonderful stories to be enjoyed by generations of young readers.