In 1834, when her family moved to Boston, her father began an experimental school and joined the Transcendental Club with powerhouse poets Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson who became family friends.
Louisa May grew up in a well educated family committed to the abolition of slavery. In 1847, they served as station masters in the underground railroad helping a fugitive slave.
When the Civil War broke out, Louisa May served as a Union nurse in Washington D.C. (from December 1862 to January 1863) until she became deathly ill with Typhoid Fever.
She never married, but was an early feminist promoting a woman's right to vote. During her lifetime, She authored several books before she died from a stroke at the age of fifty-five on March 6, 1888.
Many people may not realize she also wrote poetry. I think her Thanksgiving poem, "Summer Days Are Over," makes the perfect tribute to celebrate her November birthday.
"Summer days are over,
Summer work is done;
Harvests have been gathered
Gayly one by one.
Now the feast is eaten,
Finished is the play;
But one rite remains for
Our Thanksgiving day.
"Best of all the harvest
In the dear God's sight,
Are the happy children
In the home tonight;
And we come to offer
Thanks where thanks are due,
With grateful hearts and voices,
Father, mother, unto you."
Some things haven't changed since the nineteenth century...Mom and Dad still appreciate a little thank you.
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind the Women
by Harriet Riesen