Alcott Day takes event-goers back to the mid-1800s

OCEANSIDE — Book lovers and history buffs gathered for Louisa May Alcott Day at the Civic Center Library on Oct. 15. The event gave those who attended an insight into Alcott’s writing and the era in which she lived.
“Her life was so interesting and fascinating,” said Marie Town, children’s librarian. “She lived in an eventful time. She wrote lots of works under a penname that most people don’t know she’s written.”
A living history performance, 1850s fashion show, and history scholar’s lecture celebrated the author who is noted for being ahead of her time.
Between programs, there were tea and sandwiches and an opportunity to interact with history scholar Donna Thune and San Diego Costume Guild members dressed in replica 1800s gowns.
“She is so applicable today,” Thune said. “She took a strong stance on women’s issues.”
Louisa May Alcott is best known for her novel “Little Women.”
In her early years, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were family friends and members of her father’s Transcendental Club.
As an adult Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. She was the first woman to vote in her town.
Alcott worked at a variety of jobs including work as a teacher, seamstress, governess, and writer. She wrote for the “Atlantic Monthly,” published a collection of letters she wrote as a nurse during the Civil War and penned the novel “Moods.” She also wrote romantic novels under the pen name A. M. Barnard.
Louisa May Alcott Day is part of a monthlong series of grant-funded activities centered on Alcott and the book and documentary film “Unmasking Alcott.” Book discussions, an authors panel, and screening of the documentary film were part of the series of events. Oceanside Public Library was one of two libraries in California to receive the National Endowment for the Humanities grant that funded the program.
In addition to numerous events, displays that relate to Alcott stretch to every area of the library. Collections of her books, time period dolls, lacework and Civil War displays highlight Alcott and her time.
Early Women of Oceanside will be the final event to celebrate Alcott. The history lecture will be held in the Civic Center community rooms on Oct. 22. For more information, visit library.ci.oceanside.ca.us.

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