Sunday, December 28, 2014

Louisa May Alcott's Mother

When the famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison came to speak in Boston on October 15, 1830, there was an all-male audience.

Louisa May Alcott's mother wanted to go, but it was not appropriate for her to be there.  She was not only female but four months pregnant.

She had also wanted to study at Harvard College, like her brother Samuel Joseph May, but women weren't allowed.  Instead she had learned Latin, French, botany, chemistry and philosophy by studying at home and reading books her brother recommended from his courses.  

She wanted to teach and to have a voice in the issues of her day, from the abolition of slavery to women's rights, but she ended up raising four daughters in poverty and even supporting the family at times because her husband was so feckless.

I'm grateful to Rizz Arthur Dean, my mother-in-law, for giving me the 2012 biography of Louisa May Alcott's mother, Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Storyof Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother by Eve LaPlante. 

I'm so moved by the yearning for education and equality that these women felt in the 1830s--before Seneca Falls!

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