Selection of the Month

Little women: or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy

Louisa May Alcott
Publication Information: 
Boston: Roberts Brothers
Special Collections Rare Book Collection.
Call Number: 
PS1017.L558 1885
December, 2014

“’Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug,” and so begins one of the classic tales many read, especially young girls, in childhood. The book goes on to tell the story of four sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War and beyond with all the joys and sorrows that brings.

The book is written in two parts, Little Women being the first, covering the war and fathers’ safe return home and all seemingly ready to live happily ever after. Published in 1868 it was immediately a hit and a sequel sought. Good Wives, was the sequel and was published in 1869. Part two deals with tragedy as one of the sisters dies after a long illness, and each of the other girls finding their way, and eventually their husbands. The two books at least in the United States immediately became one and from 1870 on were published as one.

Special Collections copy is cloth-bound, stamped in black, red, and gold. The Frontispiece is signed: E.H.G. and includes several other lovely illustrated pages. Publisher’s advertising fill the 12 pages at the end, several featuring other works by Miss Alcott. Here also is featured a contemporary review of sorts by Mrs. Sarah J. Hale:

“Miss Alcott has a faculty of entering into the lives and feelings of children that is conspicuously wanting in most writers who address them, and to this cause, to the consciousness among her readers that they are hearing about people like themselves, instead of abstract qualities labelled with names, the popularity of her books is due.”


Tamara Belts  

Special Collections Manager                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      





Library Department: