(click any photos to enlarge)
In June of 1857, a then 24-year old Louisa May wrote in her journal:
"Read Charlotte Bronte's life. A very interesting, but sad one. So full of talent; and after working long, just as success, love, and happiness come, she dies. Wonder if I shall ever be famous enough for people to care to read my story and struggles. I can't be a C.B., but I may do a little something yet."
A little something? Oh my goodness! She did so much, but she is probably best known for the beloved, "Little Women," first published in 1869 (twelve years after that journal entry). As you can see, I have a small collection of Little Women books..
... as well as some other books about Louisa May Alcott's life. So let me show you a bit of Orchard House (dubbed Apple Slump by Louisa May Alcott).
Unfortunately, photos are not allowed to be taken inside the house, but I'll provide a link below where you can take a virtual tour through the house on-line. And I highly recommend taking the tour in person if you are ever in the Concord area! Don't you just love the door knocker on the front of Orchard House? (It reminds me of the door knocker that morphs into Marley's ghost in "A Christms Carol"!)
Now here is a photo that I took just a couple of weeks ago....
...and here is an 1874 photograph of the house from the exact same angle, with Mr. & Mrs. Alcott in the front yard...
A plaque by the back door of the house that now leads into the gift shop.
Flowers growing outside the study window...
This is Bronson Alcott's School of Philosophy, constructed in 1879, just behind Orchard House. (Bronson is Louisa May's father.)
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I posted about Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, where all of the Alcotts are buried... (Here's Amanda at Louisa May Alcott's grave)..
"October 8th Dear Marmee's birthday. Never forgotten. Lovely day....
(Alcott family plot)
...Go to Sleepy Hollow with flowers. Her grave is green, black berry vines with red leaves trail over it. A little white stone with her initials is at the head, & among the tall grass over her breast a little bird had made a nest....
Bird's nest on LMA's grave a couple of weeks ago
... Empty now, but a pretty symbol of the refuge that tender bosom always was for all feeble & sweet things. Her favorite asters bloomed all about, & the pines sang overhead. So she & dear Beth lie quietly asleep in God's Acre, & we remember them more tenderly with each year that brings us nearer them & home."
It was quite profound reading that journal entry after having just been at their graves a couple of weeks ago...
Right next door to Orchard House is The Wayside (you can read a bit more about it below). It was called Hillside when Louisa May Alcott lived there in her younger years, and she drew upon the many adventures she and her sisters had while living there when writing Little Women. She wrote of this house:
"I have at last got the little room I have wanted so long, and am very happy about it. It does me good to be alone, and Mother has made it very pretty and neat for me. My work-basket and desk are by the window and my closet is full of dired herbs that smell very nice."
(written by Louisa May Alcott, age 13,
in her journal, May, 1846)
Information regarding Hillside/The Wayside: