NEH Funds Library Programs

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women – Library Outreach Programs

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women – Library Outreach Programs has been designated as part of the NEH’s We the People initiative, exploring significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture and advancing knowledge of the principles that define America. Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women – Library Outreach Programswill offer programming grants of $2,500 to thirty selected libraries to present five reading, viewing, and discussion programs focused on Louisa May Alcott, her body of work, and her era.

For more information, click here.

In Heaven’s Name, Give Her a Chance

The 2010 Summer Conversational Series and Teacher Institute

Join scholars, educators, and Alcott fans from across the country and around the world to listen, learn, and share in honoring the bicentennial of Margaret Fuller’s birth.

This year’s Series spotlights the contributions of women of the 19th Century and focuses on their attempts to stretch the limits of what was then considered their “sphere.”

Each day, ample opportunities for Q&A with Presenters, as well as small group discussions, will be available. Every afternoon is devoted to helping educators understand how the Series content can be applied to their curricular needs, with a keen awareness of Massachusetts Frameworks.

Educators from all grade levels and subjects — including home schoolers — are welcome to attend, as is anyone wishing to learn more about the remarkably progressive Alcott family and their notable friends and neighbors.

For more information and to register, log on to:

Sneak Peak of Louisa May Alcott

Alcott: ‘Not The Little Woman You Thought She Was’

Though many readers associate Alcott with the sweetness of Little Women, Reisen tells NPR‘s Linda Wertheimer, Alcott’s legacy — and Jo March’s, too — is really about the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

“You don’t grow up to walk two steps behind your husband when you’ve met Jo March,” says one Alcott fan.

In the time since Little Women was published in 1868, Reisen says she believes a countless number of women have — as Alcott put it — “resolved to take fate by the throat and shake a living out of her.”

Listen here to the NPR interview

School Library Journal: “Visually Rich,” “Inspirational”

[STARRED REVIEW] Harriet Reisen’s fine script and Nancy Porter’s vivid production combine to treat viewers to a visually rich, well-paced, and intimate view of Louisa May Alcott’s life. The story unfolds in well-paced dramatized vignettes, excellent scholarly commentary, clips from the original film of Little Women, and readings from Alcott’s personal letters and from her biographer, Ednah Cheney, played with a marvelous, spine-cracking correctness by Jane Alexander.


“The Story-Telling is Superb”

Alcott is known as the iconic March sister, Jo. In Reisen’s book, the reader meets the real Louisa; the pulp fiction writer, the comedian, the moody and the cantankerous.

This book will appeal to all who love Alcott classics, who cherish stories of fierce, independent women, and who want to know about writer’s craft and inspiration. The book’s research is impeccable, and the author’s storytelling is superb. Meet the real Louisa May Alcott. – Lynn Brogan, Suite101


“Smart”… “tasteful,” says The Boston Globe

“Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind ‘Little Women’ ’’ manages to penetrate the facts of Louisa May Alcott’s life (1832-1888) to get at her humor, her spirit, and her growth as a person. With a smart, tasteful use of docudramatic re-creations, director Nancy Porter gives us the story of a writer’s interior world and genesis with more drama and color than you generally expect from a 90-minute documentary.

LA Times says Alcott doc “gives breadth and life to the author of the 1860s classic”

For those who know Louisa May Alcott only as the author of some of the most enduring classics of children’s literature, “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind ‘Little Women’ ” will be a revelation. For those already familiar with Alcott’s Transcendentalist-boho childhood, her sensational tales of love and horror under the pen name A.M. Barnard and her refusal to diminish her personal and economic freedom by marrying, the dramatically reenacted documentary gives life and texture to a woman of extraordinary talent and determination who became as great a celebrity in her day as J.K. Rowling is in ours.

The Buffalo News rates Alcott film 4 out of 4 stars

The documentary is an education about the period in American history and the Alcotts’ friendships with the leading reformers of their day. It is also an intimate look at the hardships of Alcott’s life — the poverty of her early life, the death of sister Elizabeth at 23, and the health problems that began to plague her in her late 30s.

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