About a dozen stories and poems believed to have been written by “Little Women” author Louisa May Alcott have been found by a Northeastern researcher. The work was written under a previously unidentified pseudonym. Alcott is known to have gone by several pseudonyms over the course of her career, including Flora Fairfield, Tribulation Periwinkle and L.M.A., but E.H. Gould is a potential new moniker discovered by Max Chapnick, a postdoctoral teaching associate in English at Northeastern. After combing through digital and physical archives, Chapnick unearthed about a dozen previously unattributed Alcott stories, poems or nonfiction works. He also found even more that Alcott had written either anonymously, under known pseudonyms or, in the case of one story, under her own name.
Chapnick’s work started as part of his dissertation on 19th-century fiction and pseudoscience, before arriving at Northeastern. One section focused on Alcott because before she became known as the author of “Little Women,” she wrote a series of Gothic stories, thrillers and potboilers in the 1860s. She wrote many of them under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, which was found in the 1940s by rare book dealers Madeleine Stern and Leona Rostenberg. However, there are still references to stories that haven’t been found, including one called “The Phantom” that scholars have long thought could be written by her because of a passing reference to the story in her journals. Considering the focus of his dissertation, the title immediately raised Chapnick’s interest –– and hopes.