Google is celebrating Louisa May Alcott’s 184th Birthday, November 29, 2016, with a Doodle based on  the characters of iconic children’s book Little Women. Today’s Doodle portrays Beth, Jo, Amy, and Meg March, as well as Jo’s best friend Laurie, their neighbor. The March family of Little Women was based on Alcott’s own, and the coltish Jo was Louisa’s vision of herself: strewing manuscript pages in her wake, charging ahead with the courage of her convictions, and cherishing her family above all.


The same could be said of that beloved novel’s author, Louisa May Alcott, who was born on this day in 1832. In addition to being a writer, Alcott was a suffragist, abolitionist, and feminist. She grew up in the company of luminaries like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau, who fostered in her a strong sense of civic duty. Alcott volunteered as a nurse during the American Civil War, and her family’s home was a station on the Underground Railroad. She was active in the women’s suffrage movement and became the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts. Through it all, she wrote novels and short stories tirelessly, sometimes working 14 hours a day.


Who Was Louisa May Alcott?

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886).

Raised by her transcendentalistparents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau.

Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard, under which she wrote novels for young adults.