If a person knows how to write, they will write something. A shopping list, letter, journal, recipe, book, novel, thesis paper. Through the centuries, women had written, but they didn’t always receive much attention or much help from publishers. In mid-19th Century America, a change started to occur in attitudes toward women, writing, and publishing. Against this backdrop, fictional character Susan Rose Arnold scribbles poetry, wonders if someday it could be published, and meets a woman who regularly writes for publications.
“Miss Shermann,” I said as I guided her up to her room after the evening meal, “what do you write? If you don’t mind my question.” She had perfect manners and the most fascinating way of controlling the conversation at the table, without seeming to be in charge.
“It depends,” she replied, smiling. “Sometimes short stories. Sometimes information about travel or the impracticality of these beautiful ladies’ fashions. Anything I can sell to a newspaper or magazine.” (Lighthouse Loyalty, Chapter 18)
Today, we’ll highlight some mid-19th Century female authors and the changing world of publishing. Continue reading
Louisa May Alcott (1850’s)
A common rule that writers hear is: write what you know. That’s supposed to mean authors will tell their most powerful stories about events, places, and people they are familiar with. And – whether they’ll admit it or not – most writers do follow the rule to some extent. One particular American authoress based her best-selling novel on her childhood adventures, and the world has been captivated with the charming tale since the first publication.
Louisa May Alcott chose to be a professional writer in mid-19th Century America, an era when that was not a typical choice for a lady. In an ironic twist, this self-proclaimed feminist wrote one of the most well-known books about the traditional roles of girls and women. Her famous novel – Little Women – is still in publication and several movie versions have been made. Continue reading
Who wrote the classic novel Little Women? If you said “Louisa May Alcott.” You’re correct!
Who volunteered as a nurse at a Union hospital in Washington D.C. – “I haven’t the slightest idea…” Wait, I wasn’t finished with the question! (Don’t be so impatient, now.)
Let’s try again – Who volunteered as a nurse at a Union hospital in Washington D.C., worked hard and cheerfully, but became deathly ill and had to go home…and later wrote about her experiences in Hospital Sketches?
Louisa May Alcott is the correct answer. Let’s learn a little more about this remarkable writer and nurse and her role during the American Civil War.