Father of Four “Little Women”

Amos Bronson Alcott Educator
Amos Bronson Alcott Educator

November 29, 1799
Educator Amos Bronson Alcott, Father of Louisa May Alcott, Was Born

Alcott put his educational theories to the test with his own family. He and his wife had four daughters, Anna, Louisa, Elizabeth, and May. Alcott believed that education should be a pleasant experience, and he included physical education, dance, art, music, nature study, and daily journal writing in the course of studies he established at his school. At first the school was successful, but it later failed when he insisted on allowing a black child to attend, and by 1835, all the remaining pupils had withdrawn.

The financial success of Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), who wrote about a family based on her own in the classic novel Little Women (1868-1869), was a big help to the Alcott family. The Alcotts moved to Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, where Amos Alcott established the Concord Summer School of Philosophy in a converted barn. The school flourished until shortly after his death in 1888.

The suffrage movement was not the only cause in which Amos Alcott believed. He also supported the abolition of slavery. In 1830, he traveled to Boston to attend a series of lectures on abolition. There he met Samuel May, a Unitarian minister in Massachusetts, and his sister Abigail May, a teacher and social worker.

Amos Bronson Alcott married Abigail May on May 23, 1830. Over the next few years, the couple moved several times as Amos Alcott attempted and later abandoned experimental schools after they proved financially unsuccessful. Alcott’s theory on education was that “early education is the enduring power” in forming the imagination and moral life of a human being.

Alcott put his educational theories to the test with his own family. He and his wife had four daughters, Anna, Louisa, Lizzie, and May. Alcott believed that education should be a pleasant experience, and he included physical education, dance, art, music, nature study, and daily journal writing in the course of studies he established at his school. At first the school was successful, but it later failed when he insisted on allowing a black child to attend, and by 1835, all the remaining pupils had withdrawn.

The financial success of Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), who wrote about a family based on her own in the classic novel Little Women (1868-1869), was a big help to the Alcott family. The Alcotts moved to Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, where Amos Alcott established the Concord Summer School of Philosophy in a converted barn. The school flourished until shortly after his death in 1888.