In 1857, Amos Bronson Alcott purchased 12 acres of land with a manor house that had been on the property since the 1660s for $945. He then moved a small tenant farmhouse and joined it to the rear of the larger house, making many improvements over the course of the next year, as he detailed in his journals. The grounds also contained an orchard of 40 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."
After moving more than twenty times in nearly thirty years, the Alcotts had finally found their anchoring place at Orchard House, where they lived until 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, with ongoing preservation efforts adhering 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!"
Guided tours introduce visitors to the family members themselves, the household items that held meaning to them, their individual and collective achievements and lasting impact, as well as their influence on characters in the beloved novel, Little Women.
("Mr. March" in Little Women)
Educator, Transcendental philosopher, writer, and social reformer
("Marmee" in Little Women)
A strong, independent woman who was one of the first paid social workers in Boston
("Meg" in Little Women)
A wife and mother who exhibited a flair for acting and was a nurturing caregiver
("Jo" in Little Women)
Author, Civil War nurse, and reform advocate, as well as seamstress, governess, and teacher
("Beth" in Little Women)
The "Angel in the House," who passed away prior to the Alcotts' move to Orchard House
("Amy" in Little Women)
A talented artist and early teacher of noted sculptor Daniel Chester French
Archival photographs of the Alcott family and their contemporaries or artifacts in our collection are available for a fee. All requests must be made in writing, allowing at least four to six weeks for processing. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Orchard House, Attn: Photo Requests, PO Box 343, Concord, MA 01742-0343.
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