COMPANION

Whitney Homestead

The Whitney Homestead, Massachusetts, USA, was home to Alexander and the Little School 1941-1942.

The Whitney Homestead is situated at 485 Great Road, in Stow, Massachusetts. It was built 1843–44 by the Whitney family. The last Whitney died in 1928, and the building, 129 acres of farmland, and $125,000 were bequeathed to the American Unitarian Association for the creation of a rest home for ministers and laymen. The rest home was not profitable and had closed before Alexander’s arrival.

With the assistance of D. Robert Dexter the building was let, rent-free, to Alexander and the Little School. Alexander, Margaret Goldie, Irene Stewart, Ethel Webb and eight children (Daphne G. Breaks, John Best, Francis Caldwell, Charmian Dundas, Deborah and Enid Frank, and Gillian and Thomas McNair Scott) from the school stayed at the Homestead from January 1941 through September 1942. F. M. and A. R. Alexander also started a training course for teachers at the Homestead. F. M. Alexander left the Homestead because of the heating costs and the uncertainty about getting fuel. The Homestead was sold in 1944 by the Unitarian Association.[1]

F. M. Alexander wrote the foreword to his last book, The Universal Constant in Living, in the Homestead.

An article with pictures on the subject of school children being refugees from Great Britain was done by a pupil of Alexander, Michael March, and published. A further article by Michael March on Alexander was published in Who – The Magazine About People, September 1941,[2] with pictures of the children at Stow.

These pictures were also used for an introduction to the Technique, by Michael March, written in 1941.[3]

A short description of the house is given in Stow - Images of America.[4]

Fig. 1. An old postcard of the Whitney Homestead.

References

[1] The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), endnote 4, p. 232.
[2] ‘Heads forward – and UP! – A way of well-being for old and young’ by Michael March in Who – The Magazine About People, September 1941, vol. 1, no. 5. Also in A Means To An End – Articles and Letters on the Alexander Technique 1909–1955 edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2015), pp. 60-68.
[3] A New Way of Life by Michael March (Dutton, 1941). Also in A Means To An End – Articles and Letters on the Alexander Technique 1909–1955 edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2015), pp. 69-81.
[4] Stow Historical Society, Stow - Images of America by Lewis Halprin, Sipler Barbara (Arcadia Publishing, 1999).