"An Old Fashioned Girl" was first serialised in the "Merry's Museum" magazine between July and December 1869 and consisted of only six chapters. For the finished product, however, Alcott continued the story from the chapter "Six Years Afterwards" onwards and so it grew to nineteen chapters in all. She claims in her preface to have been convinced to give the first part a sequel by her young fans, "in beseeching little letters that made refusal impossible". The book tells the story of Polly, the old-fashioned girl, who rides to the city on a load of furniture in a farmer's cart. She goes to Boston where she wants to work as a music teacher and a tale follows that is peculiarly like that of Alcott's fortunes. Contemporary reviews noted the mature age of the main character, Polly, by the end of the story and commented that she is, "neither quite young enough for a children's story, nor quite old enough for a novel" ("Harper's New Monthly Magazine"). However, even the more critical reviews such as that in "Lippincott's Magazine" noticed the "simple, graceful and modest style" and "superior claims of mental and moral worth" in the book.