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John Matteson (born March 3, 1961) is an American professor of English and legal writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.He won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for his first book Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father.
Born in San Mateo, California, Matteson is the son of Thomas D. Matteson (1920–2011), an airline executive jointly responsible for developing the theory of reliability-centered maintenance, and Rosemary H. Matteson (1920–2010), who worked as a commercial artist before becoming a homemaker.
Matteson attended Menlo School in Atherton, California. He graduated with an A.B. in history from Princeton University in 1983 after completing an 178-page-long senior thesis titled "The Confederate Cotton Embargo, 1861-1862: A Study in States' Rights."He then received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986, and a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University in 1999. He served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle before working as a litigation attorney at Titchell, Maltzman, Mark, Bass, Ohleyer & Mishel in San Francisco and with Maupin, Taylor, Ellis & Adams in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has written articles for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal , The New England Quarterly , Streams of William James, and Leviathan. His second book, The Lives of Margaret Fuller was published in January 2012 and received the 2012 Ann M. Sperber Biography Award as the year's outstanding biography of a journalist or other figure in media. It was also a finalist for the inaugural Plutarch Award, the prize for best biography of the year as chosen by the Biographers International Organization (BIO), and was shortlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. His W. W. Norton & Company annotated edition of Little Women was published in November 2015, featuring many exclusive photographs from Alcott's childhood home, Orchard House, as well as numerous illustrations and stills from the various film adaptations. Matteson's most recent book, A Worse Place Than Hell: How the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg Changed a Nation, was published in February 2021.
Matteson appeared in the 2018 documentary Orchard House: Home of Little Women.
Matteson is a former treasurer of the Melville Society and is a member of the Louisa May Alcott Society's advisory board. Matteson is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and has served as the deputy director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography. He married Michelle Rollo in 1991. They have a daughter.
He is not the same person as the John Matteson who, as a professor of speech at Los Angeles City College in 2008, allegedly barred a student from giving a classroom speech in opposition to same-sex marriage.
Amos Bronson Alcott was an American teacher, writer, philosopher, and reformer. As an educator, Alcott pioneered new ways of interacting with young students, focusing on a conversational style, and avoided traditional punishment. He hoped to perfect the human spirit and, to that end, advocated a plant-based diet. He was also an abolitionist and an advocate for women's rights.
Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist, short story writer and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Little Women is a coming-of-age novel written by American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888) which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the book over several months at the request of her publisher. The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and details their passage from childhood to womanhood. It is loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters. Scholars classify it as an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel.
The Pulitzer Prize for Biography is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished biography, autobiography or memoir by an American author or co-authors, published during the preceding calendar year. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year.
Abigail May Alcott Nieriker was an American artist and the youngest sister of Louisa May Alcott. She was the basis for the character Amy in her sister's semi-autobiographical novel Little Women (1868). She was named after her mother, Abigail May, and first called Abba, then Abby, and finally May, which she asked to be called in November 1863 when in her twenties.
Little Men, or Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys, is a children's novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was first published in 1871 by Roberts Brothers. The book reprises characters from her 1868–69 two-volume novel Little Women, and acts as a sequel, or as the second book in an unofficial Little Women trilogy. The trilogy ends with Alcott's 1886 novel Jo's Boys, and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to Little Men. Alcott's story recounts the life of Josephine or called as Jo Bhaer, her husband, and the various children at Plumfield Estate School. Alcott's classic novel has been adapted to a 1934 film, a 1940 film, a 1998 film, a television series, and a Japanese animated television series.
The Wayside is a historic house in Concord, Massachusetts. The earliest part of the home may date to 1717. Later it successively became the home of the young Louisa May Alcott and her family, who named it Hillside, author Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family, and children's writer Margaret Sidney. It became the first site with literary associations acquired by the National Park Service and is now open to the public as part of Minute Man National Historical Park.
March (2005) is a novel by Geraldine Brooks. It is a novel that retells Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women from the point of view of Alcott's protagonists' absent father. Brooks has inserted the novel into the classic tale, revealing the events surrounding March's absence during the American Civil War in 1862. The novel won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Orchard House is a historic house museum in Concord, Massachusetts, US, opened to the public on 27 May 1912. It was the longtime home of Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) and his family, including his daughter Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), who wrote and set her novel Little Women (1868–69) there.
Stacy Madeleine Schiff is an American former editor, essayist, and author of five biographies; her biography of Vera Nabokov, the wife and muse of the Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
Kenneth Eugene Silverman was an American biographer and educator. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Bancroft Prize for his 1984 biography of Cotton Mather, The Life and Times of Cotton Mather. Silverman, who specialized in Colonial American literature, was a professor of English at New York University until his retirement in 2001.
A Long Fatal Love Chase is a suspense novel by Louisa May Alcott. She wrote it in 1866, two years before the publication of Little Women (1868) finally established her literary reputation and began to resolve her financial problems. The manuscript remained unpublished until 1995.
Elizabeth Sewall "Lizzie" Alcott was one of the two younger sisters of Louisa May Alcott. She was born in 1835 and died at the age of 22.
Anna Bronson Alcott Pratt was the elder sister of American novelist Louisa May Alcott. She was the basis for the character Margaret "Meg" of Little Women (1868), her sister's classic, semi-autobiographical novel.
Hospital Sketches (1863) is a compilation of four sketches based on letters Louisa May Alcott sent home during the six weeks she spent as a volunteer nurse for the Union Army during the American Civil War in Georgetown.
Odell Shepard was an American professor, poet, and politician who was the 86th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1941 to 1943. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1938.
Messrs. Roberts Brothers (1857–1898) were bookbinders and publishers in 19th-century Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1857 by Austin J. Roberts, John F. Roberts, and Lewis A. Roberts, the firm began publishing around the early 1860s. American authors included: Louisa May Alcott, Susan Coolidge, Emily Dickinson, Maud Howe Elliott, Louise Imogen Guiney, Julia Ward Howe, Helen Hunt Jackson, Abigail May Alcott Nieriker. British and European authors included: Berthold Auerbach, Caroline Bauer, Mathilde Blind, Juliana Horatia Ewing, Anne Gilchrist, David Gray, Philip Gilbert Hamerton, Jean Ingelow, Vernon Lee, William Morris, Silvio Pellico, Adelaide Ristori, A. Mary F. Robinson, George Sand, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Helen Zimmern.
John Bridge Pratt was the husband of Anna Bronson Alcott Pratt, the elder sister of novelist Louisa May Alcott. He inspired the fictional character John Brooke in his sister-in-law Louisa May Alcott's best known novels.
Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father is a 2007 biography by John Matteson of Louisa May Alcott, best known as the author of Little Women, and her father, Amos Bronson Alcott, an American transcendentalist philosopher and the founder of the Fruitlands utopian community. Eden's Outcasts won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.
Eve LaPlante is a New Englander who has written many articles, essays, and non-fiction books. Married with four children, she writes nonfiction books, one of which, Salem Witch Judge, won the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction. LaPlante's ancestor biographies "have been praised as reminiscent of a more celebratory Nathaniel Hawthorne", according to the Boston Book Festival. In the anthology Boston, which includes the preface to LaPlante's American Jezebel, Shaun O'Connell observed, "Just as Nathaniel Hawthorne dug into the dark history of his ancestry, which reached back both to the original Boston settlement of the 1630s and the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s, so too did LaPlante trace family members who were rooted in the same eras... Hawthorne took shame upon himself for the misdeeds of his Puritan ancestors, and LaPlante offers praise for her forebears who testified against Puritan repression. As her prefaces to these biographies, a kind of spiritual autobiography, show, Anne Hutchinson and Samuel Sewall were not the dark Puritans many imagined them to be. They remain living presences, even models of rectitude, into the twenty-first century."