Lizzie’s words, in her own handwriting – the Hillside diary, and other news

I just received my order from the Houghton Library at Harvard for Lizzie’s Hillside journal. Now you can read Lizzie’s words in her own handwriting:

00 page 1 from Lizzie's journal for blog post
MS Am 1130.9-1130.12 Volume 9, Houghton Library, Harvard University (both images)

Presentation on Lizzie Alcott, sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University, UK

I would also like to announce that I will be presenting a 15 minute paper on Lizzie for an international symposium known as “Bearing Untold Stories,” hosted by Lancaster My presentation will be on Tuesday, May 31 at 11 am EST as part of a 3-person panel on the Alcotts. The event is free but you need to register as there are limited spaces. Livestreaming will be facilitated through MS Teams. You need an Outlook account to join MS Teams.

Go here to register for the symposium:
Click here to register for 31st May (either online or in-person):

I will be posting a video of my presentation a few days after the symposium, in case you cannot attend.

Book Update

Finally, an update on my book: I am in the middle of compiling my research for the rest of the chapters. As I have been doing this, I have realized that the book needs to take a different direction. I am excited at the prospect  because of how Lizzie’s story will be shared. Let me assure you, it will  not be a dry, chronological rendering!

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19 thoughts on “Lizzie’s words, in her own handwriting – the Hillside diary, and other news

  1. Lizzie is so interesting that no biography of her life could ever be dry unless all it said was “she was born, she lived and she died.”

    Will the first 2-3 chapters be affected by the book taking a different direction? Do they need to be rewritten?

    I was also wondering about the price. The last two Alcott books to be published were in the $100 category so I’m wondering if the book about Lizzie will be the same and I should wait for an e-book.

    Meanwhile I hope you are feeling as well as you need to be in order to keep doing all the things you are. It is amazing how much you do!

    Love & prayers,


    On Fri, May 13, 2022, 02:01 The Littlest Woman: The Life and Legacy of

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to say how the first 3 chapters will be affected. I am guessing a lot will be cut to sharpen the focus on Lizzie. As to the price, it all depends on who publishes it. Academic publishers charge a lot more. But I think that holds true for books written specifically for libraries to acquire. Mine is more of a trade book.


  2. WOW! WOW! WOW! What a bunch of wonderful news Susan!! Unfortunately, I don’t know much about livestreaming with an outlook account, but I would like to get as much of that information as I can on the May 31st symposium-“Bearing Untold Stories”, if you or an associate could give me any advice on how to do that, or maybe just to see the video. I am very excited about your book,& will be ordering it as soon as it is out. I share Elizabeth H.’s concerns & prayers for your good health. Elizabeth–were you able to get the E-book of “The Forgotten Alcott”? I thought there was a lot of great information about May, Louisa, & the relationship between the sisters, Marmee, & poignant memos of how Lizzie’s demise affected all of them (in Susan’s chapter). Susan–thanks again for soldiering on so dilligently to bring Lizzie’s story to life for us all. All my Very Best Regards Susan–and to you as well Elizabeth. Alex Laufer


    1. Hi Alex, No I didn’t get that e-book yet, but if it is available I will have to get it soon! All the best of everything to you,

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for your good wishes Elizabeth!! I really think you’ll love “The Forgotten Alcott”. There’s a lot of great stuff there. Besides Susan’s chapter, I especially liked chapters by Daniel Shealy (“Concordia’s Queen”), and Jan Turnquist’s Chapter “The Precious Legacy of (May Alcott) Nieriker.
        Best Regards-Alex

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Susan!!i I am in the same boat with Kitlat. I wonder if I were to e-mail you re the Hillside Chapters in Lizzie’s own handwriting, it you would do the same for me?? I am really thrilled about the news about your Lizzie book. I am still sort of what you describe in the “An Obsession” part of your Webpage, and I am still blown away by the sweet, kind, loving, affectionate sister Beth March was in “L.W.” and how her sisters reciprocated her affection, and for me (& I am hoping your upcoming book will show the same about Lizzie) THAT, even beyond the character of the Alcott sisters, and Louisa’s and May’s remarkable accomplishments and achievements is what keeps my interest in your “Lizzie book”, and everything about the Alcott sisters so high. All my very best regards to You, Elizabeth, Kitlat, and all of your followers. Thank you again for all that you do!! Alex Laufer


  4. All my best to YOU Elizabeth. All the chats I’ve had with you and Susan, I really feel like I’ve made a couple of real friends!! I really hope you get it. I think it’s a great book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Susan:
    In Jan Turnquist’s chapter of “The Forgotten Alcott”, she mentions that Anna’s 2nd son, John Sewall Pratt, knew, that even though Lizzie died shortly before the Alcotts moved into Orchard House in 1858, he “knew the touching stories of this beloved family member and the ways that the Alcotts honored her memory within Orchard House.”
    Do you know how they honored her memory at Orchard House Susan?
    Thank you very much! Best Regards-Alex


      1. Pardon my ignorance Susan, but what’s a melodeon?? Also who painted Lizzie’s picture? Was it May??
        Also just wondering how far you’ve come along on your Lizzie book??
        All my Very Best Regards.-Alex


      2. Hi Alex, that picture was from around 1853 when Mrs. Hildreth did the portrait of Bronson, so it might have she. Otherwise it might be a daguerreotype. May was only about 13 then so her skills weren’t up to portrait standards yet.
        A melodeon was very cheap version of an organ. A lot of churches that couldn’t afford proper organs used melodeons and harmoniums into the 20th century. I was “organist” for 9 years at a church that had a harmonium. It was a reed organ and although it had full bass footpedals and two keyboards, it only had a few stops. We’ll wait for Susan to answer about the Alcotts’ melodeon, but I think one needs to pump bellows in order to play it. Somewhere here in the archives is a post about that instrument – you would enjoy it!


      3. And yes, Mrs. Hildreth did the portrait of Lizzie in 1857. Lis Adams from Orchard House believes this reference in a letter from Bronston to Abba in February of that year is the proof: “Mrs. H, means to make the picture the more what you wished, but suspects she has not improved it. If you have the inspiration for it, please write and tell her what she has done. It will gratify, and bring some good returns.”

        Liked by 1 person

      4. And re, the book: After writing 3 chapters I realized it wasn’t going where it needed to go. I am currently rewriting it, and have started chapter 2. Sorry it is taking so long!


  6. Thanks Very Much Elizabeth!!
    P.S. I noticed now that the Kindle Version of “The Forgotten Alcott” is now available for $48.95, so if this version is now O.K., I hope that you are able to get it.
    All my Very Best Regards-Alex


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