It should be no surprise that Louisa May Alcott was a voracious reader—it may be a surprise that she did quite a bit of reading at the Athenæum! Caroline D. Bain Archivist and Reference Librarian Carolle Morini recently featured that Alcott was a member at the Athenæum. We not only have a record of her membership, but also of the books she checked out while she was a member. Many of these books are still in our circulating collection and are the exact copy she herself checked out so many years ago. These books will be on display in the Events Hall for this event.
Since its publication in 1868–1869 Little Women,perhaps America’s most beloved children’s classic, has been handed down from generation to generation. In this lavish edition, featuring over 200 full-color illustrations, John Matteson brings unprecedented vibrancy to the book, to its characters, and to the Alcott family who inspired it all. With numerous photographs taken expressly for this edition—elder daughter Anna’s wedding dress, the Alcott sisters’ theater costumes, and Abba Alcott’s recipe book—readers discover the extraordinary links between the real and the fictional family. Matteson’s annotations bring us back in touch with the objects and culture of a distant but still-relevant time.
John Matteson holds doctoral degrees from Harvard and Columbia Universities. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Eden's Outcasts and is the author of The Lives of Margaret Fuller. He is a distinguished professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where he lives.