Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832, the second of four daughters of Abigail May Alcott and Bronson Alcott, the prominent Transcendentalist thinker and social reformer. Raised in Concord, Massachusetts, and educated by her father, Alcott early on came under the influence of the great men of his circle: Emerson, Hawthorne, the preacher Theodore Parker, and Thoreau. From her youth, Louisa worked at various tasks to help support her family: sewing, teaching, domestic service, and writing. In 1862, she volunteered to serve as an army nurse in a Union hospital during the Civil War an experience that provided her material for her first successful book, Hospital Sketches (1863). Between 1863 and 1869, she published several anonymous and pseudonymous Gothic romances and lurid thrillers. But fame came with the publication of her Little Women (1868 69), a novel based on the childhood adventures of the four Alcott sisters, which received immense popular acclaim and brought her financial security as well as the conviction to continue her career as a writer. In the wake of Little Womens popularity, she brought out An Old- Fashioned Girl (1870), Little Men(1871), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876), Jos Boys (1886), and other books for children, as well as two adult novels, Moods (1864) and Work (1873). An active participant in the womens suffrage and temperance movements during the last decade of her life, Alcott died in Boston in 1888, on the day her father was buried.
Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She has released twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time by Rolling Stone. Smith had her first exhibit of drawings at the Gotham Book Mart in 1973 and has been represented by the Robert Miller Gallery since 1978. Her books include M Train, Just Kids, winner of the National Book Award in 2010, Wītt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, and Auguries of Innocence. In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor given to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Smith married the musician Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit in 1980. They had a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Jesse. Smith resides in New York City.
Anne Boyd Rioux is Professor of English at the University of New Orleans and the author/editor of several books, including Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters (Norton, 2018). The recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, one for public scholarship, she writes reviews and essays for general and academic audiences, specializing in women writers.