Arthur Goodhart ‘Poggea’ Pite (1896-1938) was headmaster of Weymouth College, and a pupil of F. M. Alexander.
Arthur Goodhart Pite served in the RAF during World War I and later gained a First Class in Modern History Tripos at Cambridge. He married Muriel Tasker, Irene Tasker’s sister. Two of their children attended the Little School briefly in 1932.
Although Pite had no experience of teaching and had never been a headmaster before, he was elected to be headmaster of Weymouth College in 1927. He successfully developed the College, expanded the school’s...
Albert Redden (‘A. R.’) Alexander (1874-1947), teacher of the Alexander Technique and F. M. Alexander’s younger brother.
After service in the Boer War he joined F. M. Alexander’s teaching practice in 1901 in Melbourne which he continued after F. M. moved to London in 1904. A. R. joined F. M. in London in 1911. In 1917 A. R. was paralysed for about six months from a riding accident but recovered, though from then on he walked with a cane and would often sit while teaching the Technique. Between 1915 and 1925 he regularly taught in the US and in 1934 or 35...
Aaron Sussman (1903–1991), Russian-born US journalist, author, advertising executive, and pupil of F. M. Alexander.
Aaron Sussman studied chemical engineering at The City College of New York and journalism at New York University. He started his writing career as a reporter on the Brooklyn Eagle and the New York Daily News, and contributed to several other newspapers and magazines, including Popular Photography. He worked for publishers such as G. P. Putnam’s Sons and Random House. He had a gift for seeking out provocative books and advertising them, such as the US...
Alan Murray (1897–1975), Australian teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Alan Murray studied acting and music and worked with a theatre company in Melbourne. After a tour of America in the 1920s Alan Murray settled for some time in New York where he was involved in acting, stage production and dramatic teaching. He started working for Alice Bailey of the Arcane School of Philosophy and Comparative Religion, teaching and doing administration. He did some of this work at the centre’s headquarters at Tunbridge Wells, England. Through his wife, Marcia (neé Ford), he...
Alan Rowlands (1930?–2012), pianist and teacher of the Technique.
Alan Rowlands learned the piano at the Royal College of Music, and later became a Professor of piano at the RCM. He had lessons with Marjory Barlow, and later trained as a teacher of the Technique with the Barlows in the early 1970s.
‘Trainee’s recollection from Marjory’s training course’ by Alan Rowlands are notes from sayings of Marjory Barlow during his training with her.
‘Alan Rowlands’ by Anne Battye.
Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951), US chemist, businessman, art collector, writer, educator, and pupil of F. M. Alexander.
Barnes came from a poor working-class area in Philadelphia. He attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, qualifying in 1892. He did not go into practice but trained as a chemist as applied to medicine. Barnes went into business with the German chemist Hermann Hille (1871–1962) in 1899, with whom he invented Argyrol, a silver nitrate antiseptic. In 1908 Barnes went on to form the A. C. Barnes Company and registered the trademark for...
Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894–1963), English essayist and novelist; pupil of Alexander.
Aldous Huxley was a prominent man of letters and author of more than 38 books. His early novels (Crome Yellow, 1921, Antic Hay, 1923) were satires on the pretensions of the intellectual elite of his day, exposing the impotence of academic knowledge. The witty attacks on modern society and its aimless pursuits continued in later novels (Those Barren Leaves, 1925, Point Counter Point, 1928, Brave New World, 1932, After Many a Summer, 1939) but the tone became more serious and pessimistic as...
This entry covers Alexander’s Shakespearean performances and his references to Shakespeare.
Reciting from Shakespeare plays
Alexander incorporated scenes from Shakespeare plays in some of his recitals, especially in his early reciting days. For example he performed scenes from Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth in 1893. It would appear that later recitals in the 1890s would include poems and extracts from Dickens rather than Shakespeare. However, by 1901 he returned to Shakespeare’s plays, especially The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet.
Performing in Shakespeare plays...
Alexander Leeper (1848–1934), principal of Trinity College, Melbourne University, and pupil of F. M. Alexander.
Alexander Leeper was born in Belfast and completed his education at Trinity College, Dublin, and St. John’s College, Oxford. He took up an appointment in 1876 as principal of Trinity College at Melbourne University, a post he would keep for the next 42 years. (The title ‘principal’ was later changed to ‘warden’.) He was member of a number of Melbourne educational and cultural organisations, including the Public Library, National Gallery...
Alma (Mae Magoon) Frank (1898–1953), US teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Frank received an M.A. from Teachers’ College of Columbia University. She heard about the Technique from Margaret Naumburg while teaching at Naumburg’s nursery school at Walden – one of the first progressive educational schools in the US. (Naumburg, who founded the Walden school, was instrumental in bringing Alexander to the USA.) Frank worked with Lawrence Frank (no relation) and received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to study the Technique; she trained with Alexander 1937...
Andrea Beesley (1945–2020), teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training.
Andrea Beesley was introduced to the Alexander Technique in 1971 or ’72 by her brother, Roderick Beesley, a teacher of the Technique.
Andrea Beesley trained to be a teacher of the Technique in 1974 with Walter Carrington at the Constructive Teaching Centre, London. On finishing she assisted Walter Carrington on the training course every day for seven years while also teaching privately. In 1984 she emigrated to Australia. She worked at the first Alexander Technique training course in...
Andrew Rugg-Gunn (1884–1972), Scottish eye surgeon, and pupil of F. M. Alexander.
Rugg-Gunn graduated in medicine in 1907 from Edinburgh University and went into general practice. During WW1 he served in both Italy and India. After the War he settled in London (he had a clinic in Harley Street) and became senior ophthalmic surgeon to the Western Ophthalmic Hospital, the central Middlesex County Hospital, and the Metropolitan Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, London. In 1925 he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Rugg-Gunn was active in several London medical...
Ann Sickels Mathews (†2021), US teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training.
Ann Sickels Mathews grew up in Greenwich Village and attended a progressive school inspired by John Dewey’s educational approach. She started to learn playing the piano at the age of five and would later study singing. She studied at The High School of Music and Art, the Sarah Lawrence College, and the Bank Street College of Education.
Ann Mathews started having lessons in the Technique in 1970 with Patrick Macdonald (her stepdaughter, Christine Mathews Batten, was training at...
Anthony Mario Ludovici (1882–1971), English translator and author, and pupil of F. M. Alexander.
Ludovici began as an artist and illustrator of books and was at one point secretary to Auguste Rodin. Ludovici translated six volumes of Nietzsche’s philosophy, on which he also lectured. He served in WWI and became Captain in the Royal Field Artillery. The elitist aspects of Nietzsche’s philosophy doubtlessly influenced Ludovici’s work, which argues for the inherent inequality of human beings, the natural subordination of women, some form of practised eugenics...
Anthony Spawforth (1919-2003), British teacher of the Alexander Technique, who started his training with F. M. Alexander.
Anthony Spawforth started training with F. M. Alexander in February 1951, and was qualified by Walter Carrington in 1955.
He worked as an assistant at Ashley Place and also taught part-time in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 1958, and was the first teacher to teach the Technique in continental Europe.
He and his wife Pat, who also trained in the Technique, moved to Bournemouth in 1966 where he taught until a few days before his death. For some years he also...
Arthur J. Busch (c. 1900–66), aka Michael March, was a US journalist, photographer, and a pupil of Alexander.
Arthur J. Busch was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was a drama critic for The Brooklyn Times and features editor of The Jacksonville Journal before he became city editor of The Brooklyn Citizen. Later he became the managing editor of The Citizen. A keen photographer, he was the Eastern editor of Popular Photography 1943–49 and later managing editor. He was also editor of Popular Arts, Home Movie Making Annual and 35 mm. Annual. He wrote Photography With The...
Beaumont (‘Monty’) Alexander (1886–1982), youngest brother to F. M. Alexander.
Beaumont Alexander had worked for Du Pont in America but came to London in the early 1920s where he took over the New Princes Hotel in Piccadilly. However, it soon encountered financial difficulties and Beaumont was declared bankrupt in 1927. He was then engaged in other ventures, being at various times an impresario, an agent, a manager of nightclubs, and he was manager of Ashley Place 1956–1969.
Beaumont Alexander was first married to an American, Sonnie, and...
William (‘Billy’) Morris Hughes (1862–1952), Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia (1915–1923), and pupil of Alexander.
Connection with Alexander
In 1909 Alexander Leeper presented his ‘The Report on Physical Culture in the United Kingdom and the Continent of Europe’ to the Victorian Teachers and Schools Registration Board. The report recommends Alexander’s method:
That what is known as the Alexander method of the re-education of the respiratory organs is deserving of the Board’s special attention.
Carol McCullough (1957-2003), US teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Carol McCullough taught violin at Illinois Wesleyan University before she trained in the Alexander Technique. She was a Doctor of Musical Arts and lived in Minneapolis.
She self-published her paper, ‘The Alexander Technique and the Pedagogy of Paul Rolland’ (1996). It was a research paper presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Doctorate in Musical Arts. Paul Rolland (1911-78) developed a ‘whole body’ approach to violin technique and later in life...
Countess Wielopolska, née Catherine (‘Kitty’) Merrick (1900-1988), US teacher of the Technique.
Wielopolska had a degree as a nurse-midwife and worked in a Maternity Center. She was a friend of Lulie Westfeldt and both joined Alexander’s first training course in 1931. Wielopolska battled with schizophrenia for most of her life. She was due to graduate from Alexander’s training course, but suffered a breakdown and returned to the US. She never obtained a certificate from Alexander. Around 1945 she married Count Alfred Wielopolska, who had fled Poland...