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Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Little Women was set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, and published in 1868. This novel is loosely based on her childhood experiences with her three sisters. Alcott's literary success arrived with the publication by the Roberts Brothers of the first part of Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. Part two, or Part Second, also known as Good Wives, followed the March sisters into adulthood and their respective marriages. Little Men detailed Jo's life at the Plumfield School that she founded with her husband Professor Bhaer at the conclusion of Part Two of Little Women. Jo's Boys completed the "March Family Saga". In Little Women, Alcott based her heroine "Jo" on herself. But whereas Jo marries at the end of the story, Alcott remained single throughout her life. She explained her "spinsterhood" in an interview with Louise Chandler Moulton, "because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man." However, Alcott's romance while in Europe with Ladislas Wisniewski, "Laddie", was detailed in her journals but then deleted by Alcott herself before her death. Alcott identified Laddie as the model for Laurie in Little Women, and there is strong evidence this was the significant emotional relationship of her life. When her younger sister May died in 1879, Alcott took in May's daughter, Louisa May Nieriker ("Lulu"), who was two years old. The baby had been named after her aunt, but was nicknamed Lulu, whereas Louisa May's nicknames were "Weed" and "Louy". In her later life, Alcott became an advocate for women's suffrage and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts, in a school board election.
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