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Create a seminal film on an American treasure, Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House - home of "Little Women." #PledgeYourLove!
Create a seminal film on an American treasure, Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House - home of "Little Women." #PledgeYourLove!
734 backers pledged $156,650 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$156,650

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"She unlatches the door to one house...and all find it is their own home which they enter."  from Cyrus Bartol's remarks at Louisa May Alcott's Funeral 

The Documentary Project: 

Everyone has a special place – a mountaintop, a cathedral, a beloved home – that makes them feel safe, connected, and inspired. For millions of people from all over the world, Orchard House is that place: a gathering place, where people from many backgrounds have come together for over 350 years to count themselves part of a community - a community steeped in hope, courage, and perseverance. 

Many who wish to experience Orchard House may never be able to visit in person, and there are millions more that do not realize the house exists. Together with your pledges and our dedication, this film will change that.

As a backer you may ask:

"Why make a documentary about Orchard House, the real-life home where 'Little Women' was written and set in 1868? Hollywood has already made four 'Little Women' movies."    

Little Women (1933) - RKO Radio Pictures
Little Women (1933) - RKO Radio Pictures

Orchard House is not only the setting of Little Women, it is also a character all its own. Warm and strong, comforting and challenging, it is the ultimate manifestation of Home.

This film will offer the rare opportunity to peek beyond the pages of Little Women into a beloved piece of American history.

"What will the film look like?"      

"I've never seen a museum where 80% of the artifacts belonged to the family & the house itself is unchanged.  It's like the Alcotts just walked out the door!  Amazing!"  Visitor
"I've never seen a museum where 80% of the artifacts belonged to the family & the house itself is unchanged. It's like the Alcotts just walked out the door! Amazing!" Visitor

The history of Orchard House includes the prolific Alcotts, of course, but other stories remain unexplored. Even a visit to the home cannot reveal all there is to tell about Orchard House. That's why we need to make this documentary.

Our film will be an hour-long, PBS quality documentary that will dive deep into those stories starting in the 1600's. We will tell of the courageous occupants before the Alcotts, including the rescuer of a kidnapped woman and a Revolutionary soldier. We will also offer insights about Concord's rich literary history; chronicle the process of how the museum was created in 1911; and, of course, give a behind-the-scenes look into the Alcott family and their time in Orchard House. We will seek national and international distribution to share interviews with house staff, Alcott scholars, celebrity friends, and the people of Concord to illuminate the remarkable power of place Orchard House possesses.

"Why create this film now?" 

Previously we had neither the capacity nor the resources to produce a project of this scope. But today, with your pledges, YOU are ensuring that the legacy of Orchard House reaches people all over the world and continues for many generations to come. 

Orchard House is a beacon of  hope. For thousands, it has become a place of pilgrimage, a beloved destination full of emotional resonance, inspiration and even a bit of magic. On several occasions, however, the house has nearly been lost. Fortunately, massive and on-going historic preservation efforts are saving this irreplaceable treasure. Wnow need to document Orchard House's past to ensure its future.  We need your help to keep the magic alive.

The House and Little Women:

Written at a small, half-moon shaped desk in her bedroom at Orchard House, Little Women was one of the first works of American feminist literature and has become a classic for readers the world over.
Written at a small, half-moon shaped desk in her bedroom at Orchard House, Little Women was one of the first works of American feminist literature and has become a classic for readers the world over.

By the time Amos Bronson Alcott purchased the two dilapidated houses which were joined to create "Orchard House" (which Louisa and her mother jokingly called "Apple Slump" due to its signature tilt), it had already survived over 150 years of history. 

By 1911 Orchard House had been vacant for decades. But the extraordinary power it holds over devotees of the Alcotts and Little Women was strong. It was not uncommon to see families peering in the windows, clutching Little Women, wishing "if only" they could get in. Feeling a duty to preserve this piece of Concord history, slated for demolition, a gutsy group of local women made it their mission to save the home and welcome all who traveled to experience it. By 1912 they had created one of the first literary house museums in the country.

For over a century since then, people of all ages have connected to "the shabby brown house" through the eyes of its most famous occupants, the “Little Women,” Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March (based on the real Alcott girls Anna, Louisa, Beth and May).

"I can’t count the number of times I read it (Little Women) between the ages of 10 and 15... It soothed and enchanted me, and it was only much later, as an adult, that I realized Louisa May Alcott had given me a road map of the journey from childhood into adulthood…I learned that I could be whatever I wanted to be, and that you could come from anywhere to achieve [it].” - Julianne Moore

This connection has continued to influence generations of readers, male and female (including President Theodore Roosevelt who once told a reporter he "worshiped" the book!), as the book has never been out of print, and has been published in over 50 languages.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with Orchard House Executive Director Jan Turnquist
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with Orchard House Executive Director Jan Turnquist

"Like many women of my generation who read this novel growing up, I really felt like I lived in Jo's family. This book was one of the first literary explorations of how women balance the demands of their daily lives, from raising families to pursuing outside goals." - Hillary Clinton

"I want to urge every one of you ... to be as generous as you possibly can be and ask a few of your friends and neighbors to also contribute to...Orchard House." First Lady Laura Bush
"I want to urge every one of you ... to be as generous as you possibly can be and ask a few of your friends and neighbors to also contribute to...Orchard House." First Lady Laura Bush

With YOUR help, our documentary will open wide the doors of Orchard House and share the stories this extraordinary place has to tell. Without your help this opportunity will be lost. Please don't let this chance pass you by.

Join us "...to do something splendid...something heroic or wonderful that won't be forgotten...to astonish you all one day." from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. 

Risks and challenges

The greatest challenge for us will be raising the funds to create the film.

It is also a challenge to be able to truly honor the history, beauty, and creativity Orchard House offers as a subject. In reverence to the house we plan to make a documentary that is not only educational but also beautiful to watch and artfully composed. Even though our budget is modest, and films of this caliber can cost $250,000 - $500,000 to produce, we are confident that we can maintain exquisite production values on our non-profit budget due to enthusiastic and gifted professionals already on board.

We are fortunate to have a dedicated team at the ready to help us meet these challenges and meet them we will! But only if we raise our entire funding goal by October 22, 2014.

What have we risked so far?

With a small amount of seed money we have started top quality production work, which has produced over 9 hours of exciting footage, several great interviews, and our Kickstarter campaign. With this project page we wanted to give you a taste of what is possible. But we need every dollar of Kickstarter funding to make this feature documentary.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When will the film be finished?

We have a head start on production with the 9 hours of footage we shot while creating our Kickstarter video, but we can't begin scheduling production until this campaign is fully funded. We would like to have a finished film by the end of 2015.

Is $150,000 the entire budget for the film?

Yes - which is why it's crucial for us to raise every last dollar of our goal! But, of course we have some "stretch" goals and exciting additions to make to the film if we raise some extra money.

I pledged but my card hasn't been charged - did my pledge go through?

You can contact us to be extra sure, but if you got a confirmation e-mail from Amazon, then yes your pledge has gone through! Your card won't be charged unless we are fully funded at $150,000 by October 22.

What happens to my pledge if you don't raise your funding goal?

The great thing about being a Kickstarter backer is that your involvement is risk-free! If our project is not fully funded by October 22 you keep the money and your credit card is never charged. If we ARE fully funded, your card will be charged and you will get the pleasure of knowing you were part of our success with your contribution to a one-of-a-kind project with some special rewards!

Can I change my pledge amount?

Yes. If you decide you would like to give more, or receive a different reward, you can sign on to Kickstarter and click “Manage your donations”

When can I expect my reward?

For rewards under $1000 we will begin fulfillment as soon as we can and you can expect fulfillment by March 31, 2015. Rewards over $1000 require some communication and scheduling arrangements and may take up to a full year to fulfill. We will work to exceed expectations on delivery, but can promise rewards by October 22, 2015.

Is my pledge tax-deductible?

Yes! Orchard House is a 501(c) 3, non-profit organization and donations made through Kickstarter are tax-deductible. For information on valuation of rewards for tax-purposes please contact us directly.

How can we get in touch with you?

Please e-mail us at louisamayalcottoh@gmail.com
Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/LouisaMayAlcottsOrchardHouse
Follow us on Twitter @LouisaMayAlcott
Find us on Instagram @alcotts_orchard_house
And of course, visit our website: www.louisamayalcott.org to read the blog and see updates.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A handwritten thank you note from Orchard House, sent on a card suitable for framing.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A lovely pewter keychain, imprinted with the Alcott quote " 'Stay' is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary." And a handwritten thank you note.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A copy of Little Women, personally inscribed from Orchard House and sent directly to you or the recipient of your choice.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A Writer's Guild Membership package to Orchard House (a $125 value).

    Membership benefits for up to 2 adults & up to 4 youths (ages 6-17) + free admission for up to 4 Guests per visit. See other benefits at louisamayalcott.org.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A framed archival quality print of one of Louisa May Alcott's poems, "A Wail", written in her own handwriting, and a thank you note from Orchard House.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A shingle from the Orchard House roof, dating to the time of the Alcotts, with a certificate of authenticity and hand written thank you note.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    One signed copy of Annie Leibovitz's "Pilgrimage" featuring her photos of Orchard House and a hand written thank you note from Orchard House.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    For businesses that wish to make a corporate pledge, receive a "Business Sponsor" credit in the film featuring the name of your business as well as a listing on our website as a Sponsor through 2015 featuring your business name, logo, and contact information, and a handwritten thank you note from Orchard House.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Associate Producer Credit in the film and a private tour of Orchard House, led by Executive Director Jan Turnquist for a group of up to 8. Scheduled for a mutually agreed upon time and date after campaign completion - to be scheduled within one year.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Associate Producer Credit.

    And Choose between a private performance of Jan Turnquist's trademark Louisa May Alcott program for a group of up to 50 (within 100 miles of Concord, MA scheduled for a mutually agreed upon time and date after campaign completion - to be scheduled within one year.)

    OR a signed and framed print of Annie Leibovitz's portrait of Orchard House.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Producer Credit in the film and a deluxe Concord travel package for 2 including: 2 night stay in Concord, admission to The Old Manse and Concord Museum; private tour of Orchard House; $200 towards dinner at a beautiful Concord restaurant; 2 passes for a guided Freedom Trail Tour in Boston. (trip reservations to be arranged after campaign, valid within one year, air and ground transport costs are not included).

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Funding period

- (39 days)