Little Women

by Alcott, Louisa May

Little Women (or Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). Written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, it was published in two parts in 1868 and 1869. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—on their way into adulthood while their father serves as a chaplain in the American Civil War. 

Although it is not based on a true story, it is loosely inspired by the author's childhood experiences with her three sisters and her father’s educational philosophy. Amos Bronson Alcott, a pioneer of “progressive education,” was a notable intellectual at the time. 

The book was an assignment of Alcott’s editor Thomas Niles, who wanted a novel for young women for the Robert Brothers publishing catalog. Although she initially despised the idea of writing a "girls' story," once she started, her writing became feverish. The first volume was published in 1868 with illustrations by Louisa’s younger sister May - the inspiration for the character of ‘Amy’ in the novel. It became an immediate hit, and the initial printing of two thousand copies sold out in two weeks. Little Women's original book cover was maroon cloth with gilt lettering, and it has become one of the most iconic Little Women book covers. 

The second part of the novel was issued in 1869, under the title of Good Wives in the UK. The novel is still published separately in some instances, although starting in 1880 the two parts were published as one single volume under Little Women in the US.

Little Women has been adapted into a film on four different occasions. The first one was George Cukor’s 1933 version, which cast Katharine Hepburn as Jo, followed by the 1949 Mervyn LeRoy adaptation, and the 1994 film directed by Gilliam Armstrong, the first one directed, adapted, and produced by women. The most recent version was in 2019 by director Greta Gerwig and stars Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, and Eliza Scanlen. 

Alcott’s most successful work has had notable cultural relevance all over the world. The ambitious and free-spirited Jo March has inspired women writers since its publication. Her unpretentious depiction of the March sisters and their aims and frustrations distinguish the work from the pious and moral tales of the time. 

If you are looking for books like Little Women, the novel has two sequels that constitute an unofficial trilogy: Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boys (1871), which tells the story of Jo Bhaer (formerly March), Professor Bhaer, and the children at Plumfield Estate School; and the followup, Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out (1886).

First Edition Identification

The first US edition of Little Women was published in 1868 by the Roberts Brothers, Boston and includes an advertisement in the back pricing Little Women at $1.25. The second part was published in 1869. Each volume is illustrated with a frontispiece and three plates; those in the first part of Little Women were created by the author’s sister, May. Originally bound in purple cloth with gold lettering. The first UK edition was published by Sampson Low in 1869.

Other Collectible or Notable Editions

Since first printings of the first edition are so rare, other early printings are very collectible. Other collectible editions of Little Women include illustrations by Tasha Tudor published in 1969. The Folio Society, Franklin Library and Easton Press have all published collectible versions. 

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Little Women
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Little Women

by Alcott, Louisa May

Condition
Used - Good
Jacket Condition
Good
Published
1950
Binding
Hardcover
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New York: New York University Press, 1950. Early printing of the first ML edition hardcover in a jacket. Circa 1950-1955. Full blue cloth binding. Prior owner's name and date inked on front flyleaf. A bit of pale spotting to upper page edges, and some wrinkling to upper corner of first hundred pages or so. 596pp.… Read more about this item
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LITTLE WOMEN

LITTLE WOMEN

by Louisa May Alcott

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Used
Edition
First Edition Thus; First Printing
Published
1985
Binding
Hardcover
ISBN
9780895772091
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New York: Reader's Digest Association. 1985. First Edition Thus; First Printing. Hardcover. 0895772094 . Very Good+ in boards. Owner imprint on top text block edge. Shelf wear on rear panel. ; 9.0 X 6.2 X 1.5 inches; 431 pages .
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Little Women (Great Illustrated Classics)
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Little Women (Great Illustrated Classics)

by Louisa May Alcott

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Used
Published
May 1989
Binding
Paper over boards
ISBN
9780866119559
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Independence, Missouri, USA
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This i a Great Illustrated Classics book published in 1989. It is a specially adapted version by Lucia Monfried. From the back cover: "The warmhearted story of the four March sisters....Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy growing up in 19th century America. Their happy family life is disturbed when their father leaves for the Civil War and shaken further when mother must… Read more about this item
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Little Women
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Little Women

by Alcott, Louisa May

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Used - Very Good
Edition
First Edition
Published
1869
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Portland, Oregon, USA
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Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1869. First Edition. Very Good. 1868, 1869. Two volumes. First Edition, first printings. Volume I is a first state with title page dated 1868 and Little Women priced at $1.25 in the adverts at the rear. Volume II, BAL's second state with a notice on p. iv "Little Women, Part First, is published in a… Read more about this item
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Little Women
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Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

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Used
Published
1955
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Fair
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Book in fair condition. The spine is in very poor condition (missing). Hardcover has picture on front and back. Identification page of book states, Modern Abridged Edition. Inside pages very readable, though discoloration of pages. See photos to see lack of original spine cover, and overall condition of book.
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Little Women (#1,303 of 10,000 Seasons Edition)
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Little Women (#1,303 of 10,000 Seasons Edition)

by Alcott, Louisa May

Condition
Used - Collectable - Very Good Condition
Jacket Condition
Good
Edition
First Edition
Published
2019
Binding
Hardcover
ISBN
9780785230809
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Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, GBR
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Thomas Nelson, 2019. First Edition. Hardcover. Collectable - Very Good Condition/Good. VG/Good+ Limited Edition #1,303 of 10,000 Seasons Edition Winter hardback, unclipped DJ with beautifully produced pattern. A couple of small tears to rear panel of jacket, lower front corner of board bumped, some surface rubbing has caused fading of pink along page edges in… Read more about this item
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Little Women (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition): 150th-Anniversary Annotated Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Little Women (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition): 150th-Anniversary Annotated Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

by Alcott, Louisa May

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Used - Very Good
Binding
Paperback
ISBN
9780143106654
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GORING BY SEA, West Sussex, GBR
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Paperback. Very Good.
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Little Women

by Alcott, Louisa May

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Used - Fair
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No Jacket
Published
1929
Binding
Hardcover
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Tolar, Texas, USA
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Akron, Ohio: Saalfield Publishing Co., 1929. Cover chipped, worn with pieces torn off on spine. Front inside hinge very weak. Pages tanning. . Hard Cover. Fair/No Jacket. Illus. by Brundage, Frances. 8vo - 7¾" - 9¾" Tall.
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Little Women (4,540 of 10,000 Seasons Edition)
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Little Women (4,540 of 10,000 Seasons Edition)

by Alcott, Louisa May

Condition
Used - Fine Condition
Jacket Condition
Near Fine
Edition
First Edition
Published
2019
Binding
Hardcover
ISBN
9780785230809
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Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, GBR
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Thomas Nelson, 2019. First Edition. Hardcover. Fine Condition/Near Fine. Fine/Near Fine Limited Edition #4,540 of 10,000 Seasons Edition Winter hardback, unclipped DJ with beautifully produced pattern. A little lifting to the intricate laser-cut dust-jacket design at a couple of places, no tears to jacket, book itself bright and unmarked with immaculate pink edging to pages.… Read more about this item
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LITTLE WOMEN

LITTLE WOMEN

by Louisa May Alcott

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Used
Edition
First Edition Thus
Published
1985
Binding
Hardcover
ISBN
9780895772091
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Pomona, New York, USA
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New York: Reader's Digest Association. 1985. First Edition Thus. Hardcover. 0895772094 . Fine in boards. ; 9.0 X 6.2 X 1.5 inches; 431 pages .
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Little Women

Little Women

by Alcott, Louisa May

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Orange, California, USA
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London: Associated Newspapers, n.d. Percy Tarrant, illustrator. Cover and many interior pages are stained, but book is intact and illustrations very good. G-/no DJ..
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£14.63
Little Women: The Original Classic Novel Featuring Photos from the Film!

Little Women: The Original Classic Novel Featuring Photos from the Film!

by Louisa May Alcott

Condition
New
Binding
Hardback
ISBN
9781419741203
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Southport, Merseyside, GBR
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Hardback. New. Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in mid-19th century New England. Includes movie stills from the 2019 feature film directed by Greta Gerwig.
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£11.30
Little Women

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Condition
Used - Good
Published
1947
Binding
Hardcover
ISBN
9780448060194
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Seattle, Washington, USA
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Penguin Publishing Group, 1947. Hardcover. Good. Former library book; Pages can have notes/highlighting. Spine may show signs of wear. ~ ThriftBooks: Read More, Spend Less.Dust jacket quality is not guaranteed.
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Little Women (A Golden Picture Classic)

Little Women (A Golden Picture Classic)

by ALCOTT, Louisa May

Condition
Used - Good
Published
1956
Binding
Softcover
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Gloucester City, New Jersey, USA
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New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956. Softcover. Good. Reprint. Edited and abridged by Emma Gelders Sterne. Illustrated by Julian Paul. Small quarto. Pictorial wrappers. Tape repairs and reinforcements on wraps and pages, modest foxing with a tear on the rear wrap along the spine, dampstains at the bottom margins near the gutter throughout, good only. CL-4-49.
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£24.39
Little Women (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Little Women (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

by Louisa May Alcott

Condition
New
Binding
Paperback / softback
ISBN
9780143106654
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Southport, Merseyside, GBR
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£13.16

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Paperback / softback. New. Presents the story of four sisters: independent, tomboyish Jo; delicate, loving Beth; pretty, kind Meg; and precocious, beautiful Amy, the baby of the family. This title tells the story of these four little women and their wise and patient mother Marmee enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England.
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£13.16
Little Women (Publisher's Promotional Poster)

Little Women (Publisher's Promotional Poster)

by Alcott, Louisa May: Illustrations by Michael Hague

Condition
Used - Near Fine
Jacket Condition
No Jacket, As Issued
Edition
First Printing
Published
1993
Binding
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Bloomington, Indiana, USA
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New York: Henry Holt Little Classics, 1993. Publisher's Promotional Poster, 24" h x 18"w, featuring Michael Hague's charming illustration. Near Fine, faint creases. Well suited for framing, will be shipped loosely rolled in sturdy mailing tube. . First Printing. Poster. Near Fine/No Jacket, As Issued. 24" h x 18"w.
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£60.97
LITTLE WOMEN

LITTLE WOMEN

by Louisa May Alcott

Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition Thus; First Printing
Published
1967
Binding
Hardcover
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Pomona, New York, USA
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£227.57

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Norwalk, Connecticut: Heritage Press. 1967. First Edition Thus; First Printing. Hardcover. Very Good+ in a Near Fine slipcase. Sandglass neatly laid in. Owner imprint on title page. .
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£227.57
Little Women

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Condition
New
Binding
Paperback / softback
ISBN
9780140390698
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Southport, Merseyside, GBR
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£9.62

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Paperback / softback. New. Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth - and their wise and patient mother Marmee. Enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England, March sisters have been adored for generations. Rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo's hand, cried over little Beth's death, and dreamed of travelling through Europe with old Aunt March… Read more about this item
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Little Women
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Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Condition
Used
Edition
Modern Abridged Edition
Published
1970
Binding
Very Good Condition
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Belt, Montana, USA
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Little Women

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Condition
Used - Good
Jacket Condition
None
Published
1935
Binding
Hardcover
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1
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Denver, Colorado, USA
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Whitman Publishing Company, 1935. Hardcover. Good/None. The story in 230 pages. Illustrated by Juanita Bennett. Pages are tanned and unmarked, aside from sticker residue on both sides of front endpaper. Red text-block stain is slightly faded on top edge but otherwise bright and clear. Boards are edgeworn, with worn, bumped corners. Spine ends are softened and top end… Read more about this item
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£32.52