Secrets & Surprises
Did you know that Louisa May Alcott…
1. Wrote pulp fiction anonymously and under pseudonyms – a secret kept for a half-century after her death? (Some 30 have been found…. So far… others are still missing.)
2. Invented characters who were transvestites, spies, murderers, revolutionaries, drug addicts, and/or incestuous?
3. Smoked hashish and took opium?
4. Ran every day?
5. Was raised a vegetarian and grew up on a commune?
6. Had a schoolteacher father who invented recess and had an integrated classroom a quarter-century before the abolition of slavery?
7. Grew up on a stop of the Underground Railroad, harboring fugitive slaves?
8. Was home-schooled in literature by Ralph Waldo Emerson?
9. Accompanied Henry David Thoreau on his famous nature walks?
10. Lived next door to Nathaniel Hawthorne? Knew Henry, William, Alice and the rest of the famed James family from childhood?
11. Knew Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, and every leader of the antislavery movement? Her family hosted John Brown’s widow and boarded his daughter after his execution.
12. Had teenage crushes on Emerson and Thoreau, and in her favorite book (Moods), her heroine is married to a character based on one and in love with the other?
13. Was a nurse in the Civil War assisting in assembly-line amputations with no medical training? (She wanted to be a soldier but couldn’t.)
14. Was a descendant of Samuel Sewall, the only judge of the Salem Witch Trials who repented, and then wrote the earliest known anti-slavery tract?
15. That her great-aunt was married to John Hancock?
16. Wrote and published groundbreaking stories about interracial marriage, slave revolt, and race relations?
17. Grew up in grueling poverty and worked as a seamstress, a laundress, a governess, and a teacher and a domestic servant?
18. As a child of eleven saw her parents’ marriage nearly break up over her father’s tie to another man – and wrote about it at the time?
19. Was a professional-level actress-comedienne and may have worked as one under a different name?
20. Wrote more than 200 works – stories, poems, fiction, non-fiction, plays, articles, not to mention journals and letters. None of her books sold fewer than 10,000 copies.
21. Didn’t like writing for children – called it “moral pap for the young” and did it for the money?
22. Wrote Little Women in ten weeks? Wrote the sequel a few months later just as quickly?
23. Supported equal rights for women, and organized women to vote forty years before the 19th amendment was passed – and was the first to cast her ballot in an official election?
24. Wrote her way from rags to riches and died a multi-millionaire? (the 19th century equivalent)
25. Was probably manic-depressive and seriously considered suicide?
26. Lived in thirty different places before she was 25 years old?
27. Never married and is believed by many to have been gay?
28. Preferred younger or much older men ?
29. Her writing has been translated into over 50 languages?
30. None of her 8 books for young adults has ever been out of print?
31. Is the only woman in the card game “authors”?