Austin College and Sherman Public Library Celebrate as
Louisa May Alcott’s Classic 1868 Novel Turns 150
Austin College and Sherman Public Library are recognizing the 150th anniversary of publication of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women with special events at Sherman Public Library September 19 and 20. Both sessions are free and open to the public.
Randi Tanglen, Ph.D., Austin College associate professor of English and director of the Gender Studies program, will offer a lecture, “Top 10 Secrets of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott,” on September 19 at 11:30 a.m. She will moderate a panel discussion, “Reflections on Little Women at 150,” September 20 at 6 p.m. Both will be held in Sherman Public Library Meeting Rooms A & B.
Panelists for the September 20 discussion include Cece O’Day, First Lady of Austin College and former English teacher; Melissa Eason, library services administrator at Sherman Public Library; Lisa Hébert, director of Grayson College Library; Carolyn Montgomery Nicholson, retired educator and community volunteer; Lindsey Manley, owner, CBC Creative; and Kate Whitfield, attorney and community volunteer.
“Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women first published in 1868, has become the favorite novel of generations of readers all over the world,” Tanglen said, adding that the novel has never been out of print and has been published in more than 50 languages. “The March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy— have inspired male and female readers alike to live bold and authentic lives.”
Tanglen points out that the book is sometimes taken too lightly. “Although Little Women is a popular and beloved novel, it is sometimes underestimated as ‘children’s literature’ or a ‘girls’ book,’” she said. “The novel explores complex issues, such as the limited role of women in society, the hardships of family separation, and the indignities of poverty. The four girls learn how to develop perseverance and courage in spite of these obstacles.”
Organizers believe the book remains significant for today’s readers. “I hope these events will encourage the community to read or re-read Little Women and talk with their friends and family about the novel’s universal themes and its relevance today,” Tanglen said.