Amos Bronson Alcott's role as "Father" in Louisa May Alcott's fictional books is mostly off-stage, either due to his fighting in the Civil War or extended recovery from injuries. In reality, Bronson was a huge and active part in the Alcott sisters' lives. The Alcott girls were Bronson's four most consistent pupils. Bronson's innovative and controversial method of teaching art, music, nature study and a curriculum of social reform led many students to withdraw and forced the family to move twenty times in thirty years. However, Bronson's views remain documented in Observations on the Principles and Methods of Infant Instruction. He became well known for his work across New England, forming a Concordian community with transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In addition to published works by Bronson, Rauner has one of his private letters of recommendation for a young woman pursuing a musical education, showing just how far-reaching the Alcott family's influence was by the 1890s.
True Little Women fans will remember Amy March's artistic aspirations (as opposed to Jo/Louisa's literary ones). In light of her fictional counterpart, May Alcott's representation in Rauner is unsurprising: a book of sketches of the Alcott's home in Concord and a copy of Little Women illustrated by May. Like her fictional counterpart (Amy), May became a moderately successful artist in Europe. However, while Amy returned to America married to Laurie (to the fury of fans who predicted his eventual pairing with Jo), May Alcott married a Swiss violinist fifteen years her junior at age 38, then died in childbirth in Paris.
Rauner has – of course – a number of writings by Louisa May Alcott, including numerous copies of Little Women, but also lesser-known works, like Louisa's Hospital Sketches and A Free Bed. Come peruse a copy of Little Women, then read more from the family that inspired the novel!
Ask for Mss 872554 for Bronson's Letter; 1926 Collection A39 for Little Women (Illustrated by May Alcott); Rare PS1019.A2 C65 for Concord Sketches: Consisting Of Twelve Photographs From Original Drawings; and Rare PS1017.C6 1893 for Comic Tragedies, written by "Jo" and "Meg" and acted by the "Little Women."
Posted for Kate Taylor '13