Louisa May Alcott and the Civil War: A tale at an historic house

Christina Higgins stars in Tribulation Periwinkle Civil War Nurse.
Christina Higgins stars in Tribulation Periwinkle Civil War Nurse.

While serving as a nurse during the Civil War, Louisa May Alcott wrote letters to her family describing her experiences. At the urging of friends, she fictionalized them for publishing. Initially the stories were printed in a Boston magazine. Later the entire collection became available in book form titled Hospital Sketches.

Local playwright Josh Hitchens, creative director of the Ebeneezer Maxwell Mansion, has interpreted one of these stories into Tribulation Periwinkle Civil War Nurse. The museum will present a live performance of one of these Civil War nursing stories March 24-26, 2017, as part of its Women’s History Month celebrations.

Christina Higgins, who acted in the mansion’s production of Alcott’s Little Women, portrays the nurse in a one-woman performance. Before Friday’s performance, Josh Hitchens, talks about Alcott’s Hospital Sketches and Civil War era nursing practices. Preceding the Saturday and Sunday performances, Patricia D’Antonio, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Barbara Bates Center for Nursing gives an account of nursing practices in the 19th century.

[Ebeneezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 W. Tulpehocken Street] March 24-26, 2017; ebenezermaxwellmansion.org

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