HOME  >  Browse  >  Rare Books  >  Literature  >  Flower Fables

presentation copy of Alcott’s first book

Alcott, Louisa May. Flower Fables

George W. Briggs & Co., 1855

Original brown cloth. Light sunning, lower joint cracked through and partially split. Half morocco case.

First edition of Louisa May Alcott’s first book. This fine Transcendentalist association copy is inscribed by Alcott’s mother Abba (Marmee) for Louisa’s former tutor and mentor: “Miss Sophia Ford, with the best love of the Author 1855.”

Sophia Ford lived with the Alcott family for nearly a year, in 1845, at their home “The Hillside” in Concord, Massachusetts. (Hillside was later renamed Wayside by Nathaniel Hawthorne when he lived there.) Louisa May Alcott at that time was 13 years old and had just gotten a room of her own and commenced to write. At Hillside she began writing Flower Fables and had the experiences which would form the basis for Little Women.

Alcott herself best described her relationship with “Aunt Sophia” in a reminiscence written in 1885: “[Sophia Ford] is one of the most prominent figures in my early Concord days, when she kept school for the little Emersons, Channings, and Alcotts in the poet’s barn. Many a wise lesson she gave us there, though kindergartens were as yet unknown; many a flower hunt with Thoreau for our guide; many a Sunday service where my father acted as chaplain and endless revels where old and young play together, while illustrious faces smiled upon the pretty festivals under the pines” (“In Memoriam,” Woman’s Journal, April 1885).

Sophia Ford had an unrequited passion for Henry David Thoreau and proposed marriage to him in 1847. She depended on Louisa May Alcott for news of Thoreau’s illness and death in 1862.

A splendid Alcott association copy.