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Louisa May Alcott was born in 1832 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Concord, Massachusetts. Educated by her father, the Transcendentalist thinker Bronson Alcott, she was influenced by the prominent men of his circle. Emerson, Hawthorne, Parker and Thoreau. The family was usually short of money, and she worked at various tasks from sewing to writing to help to support it. The Civil War broke out in 1861, and in 1862 she began to work as a volunteer army nurse in a Union Hospital. Out of this came her first book, Hospital Sketches (1863); she went on to write several Gothic romances and thrillers. With the publication of Little Women, her first full-length novel for girls, Alcott leapt from being an obscure, struggling New England writer to becoming the best-selling American author of the century. However, she suffered from ill health aggravated by early deprivation and overwork. Alcott died in Boston in 1888.
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