Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

7/1/2011 - 8/31/2011

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

The Making of Louisa May Alcott: Publishing and Marketing an American Author

FAIN: FT-58678-11

Daniel Lester Shealy
University of North Carolina, Charlotte (Charlotte, NC 28223-0001)

I am requesting an NEH summer stipend to work on a book titled "The Making of Louisa May Alcott." From 1852 to 1888, Louisa May Alcott published nearly 300 works in periodicals and over two dozen books. However, no one has yet to examine Alcott and the profession of authorship. Since the early 1990s, academic studies have turned increasingly more towards book and publishing history, consumer culture, and authorship studies. Utilizing unpublished manuscript material, my work will be the only book that discusses Alcott as a professional author and demonstrates how publishers helped her development as a writer, aided her understanding of the business of the book trade, and helped market her into one of the most successful authors of the 19th century. This extensive study of Alcott's professional relationships with her publishers will allow scholars to examine in detail the correspondence between Alcott and her publishers and to trace the effect of these publishers on her career.