apple Learn about the Alcotts and Orchard House

 


Tour the rooms of Orchard House


 

Amos Bronson Alcott originally purchased two houses set upon twelve acres of land on the Lexington Road in 1857 -- both dating to circa 1690-1720 -- for $945.  He then moved the smaller tenant farmhouse and joined it to the rear of the larger manor house, making many improvements to the home, as explained in his journals of 1857-58. The grounds also contained an orchard of forty apple trees, which greatly appealed to Mr. Alcott, who considered apples the most perfect food.  It is not surprising, then, that he should name his home "Orchard House."

Postcard from 1874 showing A. Bronson Alcott, Mrs. Alcott and one of the "Little Women"After moving twenty-two times in nearly thirty years, the Alcotts finally found their most permanent home at Orchard House, where they lived from 1858 to 1877. The house is most noted for being where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set her beloved classic, Little Women, in 1868 at a "shelf desk" her father built especially for her.

Fortunately, there have been no major structural changes to the house since the Alcotts' time, and on-going preservation efforts adhere to the highest standards of authenticity.  Since approximately 80% of the furnishings on display were owned by the Alcotts, the rooms look very much as they did when the family lived here, causing many modern-day visitors to comment that, "A visit to Orchard House is like a walk through Little Women!"

A guided tour of Orchard House introduces visitors both to objects which were important to the family and to the family members themselves: Amos Bronson Alcott ("Mr. March" in Little Women), a teacher and Transcendental philosopher; Abigail May Alcott ("Marmee" in Little Women), an independent-minded 19th century woman who was one of the first paid social workers in Massachusetts; Anna Alcott Pratt ("Meg" in Little Women), who had a flair for acting; Louisa May Alcott ("Jo" in Little Women), well-known author and advocate for social reform; Elizabeth Sewall Alcott ("Beth" in Little Women), the "Angel in the House" who died shortly before the family moved to Orchard House; and May Alcott Nieriker, ("Amy" in Little Women), a very talented artist.

 


 

Archival photographs of the family and objects in the collection are available for a fee.  All requests must be made in writing, allowing at least 2-3 weeks for processing.  Please click here to e-mail your photo request, or, write to Attn:  Photo Requests, PO Box 343, Concord, MA  01742-0343.

 


Tour the rooms of Orchard House


 

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Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House