Sunday, December 18, 2011

Introducing: Abigail Alcott

If you haven't read it for yourself, you've at least heard of the book, "Little Women" written by Louisa May Alcott, right?  Her mother, "Abba" as she was nicknamed was Marmee in the Little Women story and I found her to be the perfect 4th Abigail.  It took us good long while to figure out which room fit which Abigail and which color theme belonged to each room and in the end they all seem to fit perfectly. Each time we completed the transformation of a room, I'd think, "Oh, this one is my favorite!"  Now that they are all complete though, I find I have 4 favorites because each one is perfectly suited.  

The Alcott room, by far, went through the most detailed renovation because of the extent of damage to the walls.  At some point the walls were padded and covered with a heavy fabric.  When we removed the fabric and padding we found the fabric had been adhered to the walls with tack strip (used for carpeting) and the tack strip had been glued and nailed to the walls.  Under the padding was wallpaper. This room had to be stripped layer by layer and then the walls had to be repaired and primed before we could even think about paint and wallpaper.

With that being said, I'd like to introduce Abigail Alcott!

 (before and after photos follow the introduction)

Abigail May Alcott was born on October 8, 1800.  The youngest daughter of Colonel Joseph May and Dorothy Sewall, she was a descendant of the distinguished Quincy and Sewall families of New England.  Her great aunt was Dorothy Quincy, the revolutionary belle who married John Hancock, the first governor of Massachusetts.

Abigail, or "Abba" as she was called, had a passionate temperament, a fine mind and a generous heart.  She felt keenly the injustices of the world and worked energetically for various causes, especially to help the poor, for women’s rights, temperance and abolition.  Louisa said of her mother as a social worker in Boston, "... she always did what came to her in the way of duty and charity, and let pride, taste, and comfort suffer for love’s sake."

Abba May met Amos Bronson Alcott in Brooklyn, Connecticut at the home of her brother, Samuel Joseph May, the first Unitarian minister in the state.  Throughout their long courtship, Bronson Alcott, a shy lover, communicated his sentiments to Miss May by letting her read passages about herself in his journal.  Bronson and Abba were married in King’s Chapel in Boston on May 23, 1830.

Abba’s love for her visionary husband was a mainstay in calm and storm.  Although frequently frustrated by his inability to support his family, she believed in him and his ideals even when it seemed the rest of the world did not.  She wrote in her journal that she could never live without him:  "I think I can as easily learn to live without breath."

Mrs. Alcott is the beloved "Marmee" of Little Women.  To her four daughters she was "the most splendid mother in world."  She devoted herself to them, encouraged them in their talents, and gave them practical rules to live by.  Some of her sayings were, "Rule yourself," "Love your neighbor," "Hope and keep busy."

When Abba died in November 1877, Louisa wrote, "... she was so loyal, tender, and true, life was hard for her and no one knew all she had to bear but her children."


Stripping away the layers and pulling staples and nails one-by-one!
The settee and chair are turn-of-the-century pieces we gleaned from a new friend.
This room has a private balcony, the views from which are stunning!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Patti - I've just found your lovely blog and love your use of the sophisticated Dove grey to highlight your pretty bedroom scheme - I'm sure Abigail Alcott would have felt at home with that dainty floral paper. I like to use Laura Ashley papers in England - very similar
    Best wishes