COMPANION

Pupils of F. M. Alexander

Raymond Dart, John Dewey, Aldous Huxley

Arthur Goodhart ‘Poggea’ Pite (1896-1938) was headmaster of Weymouth College, and a pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life 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.[1] 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...
Aaron Sussman (1903–1991), Russian-born US journalist, author, advertising executive, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life 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...
Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951), US chemist, businessman, art collector, writer, educator, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life 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. Life 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...
Alexander Leeper (1848–1934), principal of Trinity College, Melbourne University, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life 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...
Andrew Rugg-Gunn (1884–1972), Scottish eye surgeon, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life 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...
Anthony Mario Ludovici (1882–1971), English translator and author, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life 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...
Arthur J. Busch (c. 1900–66), aka Michael March, was a US journalist, photographer, and a pupil of Alexander. Life 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...
William (‘Billy’) Morris Hughes (1862–1952), Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia (1915–1923),[1] 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.[2] That the...
Dr Charles Bage (1859–1930), Australian doctor who was Alexander’s doctor in the early 1890s. Life Dr Charles Bage (1859–1930). He obtained his medical degree in 1881 and became doctor of medicine in 1884. He ran a private practice in South Yarra, Melbourne, until 1923 and retired in 1925. Dr Bage was a founding member of the Felton Bequests (1904) – a trust assisting charities and the arts. He took a keen interest in public health, in particular the St John Ambulance Association and the Red Cross.[1] Connection with F. M. Alexander It was Dr Bage who...
Dr Andrew Murdoch (1862?–1943), Scottish doctor and pupil and supporter of F. M. Alexander. Life Dr Andrew Murdoch gained his MD in Glasgow in 1884 but settled soon afterwards in Bexhill-on-Sea where he remained in private practice until his retirement. In 1936 his practice was one of the first in the area to build group premises, and it became a flourishing partnership. He was an active member of the BMA for many years, serving both as chairman and president to local divisions. A colleague contributing to the obituary in the BMJ describes Murdoch as humble, yet enthusiastic and...
Edward H. Owen (1919 – 2000), UK journalist, pupil of F. M. Alexander, and first editor of the Alexander Journal. Edward Owen was a journalist who lived for many years in Guernsey. In 1965 he formed an agency specialising in travel and financial matters in Guernsey, and was the Financial Times offical correspondent for the Channel Isles. Edward Owen was a pupil of F. M. Alexander who encouraged Anthony Spawforth to have lessons and later to train as a teacher. Owen wrote two articles on F. M. Alexander and his work.[1] [2] Shortly after Alexander’s death Edward Owen...
Frederick (‘Fred’) C. Chatto Watts (1896–1953), British publisher, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life He was the son of the founder of the Rationalist Press Association, Charles Albert Watts (1858–1946), which was established in 1885 for the purpose of publishing secular books, and for the promotion of humanism and free thinking. F. C. C. Watts succeeded his father as editor of the Literary Guide and Rationalist Review (today published as the New Humanist). He also succeeded his father as managing director and chairman of C. A. Watts & Co. and continued the...
George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) was an Irish playwright, critic and polemicist, and a pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life George Bernard Shaw was born in Ireland but moved to London in 1873 where he lived for most of his life. He wrote more than sixty plays, including Arms and the Man (1894), Man and Superman (1903), Pygmalion (1913) and Saint Joan (1923). His influence on British theatre was enormous, as his plays did not follow the tradition of Victorian melodramas and introduced a new realism and ‘the theatre of ideas’. He was a socialist, a vegetarian, and a pacifist,...
Coghill, George Ellett (1872–1941), US professor of anatomy and researcher into the development of reflexes of movement in vertebrates. Coghill wrote an appreciation for The Universal Constant in Living, and Alexander and his supporters used Coghill’s discoveries as a scientific support for the Alexander Technique. Life Coghill started his biology studies in 1897, became assistant professor of biology in 1900, and took a Ph.D. in 1902. He then worked at several universities but it was during his teaching at the University of Kansas (1913–25) that he carried out a large...
Gerald Stanley Lee (1862–1944), US clergyman, author of popular books, and a pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life Gerald Stanley Lee was an American Congregational clergyman of puritan background. He was a preacher in several churches in New England and Minnesota before resigning from the pulpit in 1896 to dedicate himself to writing. He was the author of numerous popular books and essays. He married Jennette Barbour Perry in 1896 (who also became a pupil of Alexander and went on to teach her own version of the Technique). His first successful book was Inspired Millionaires (1908)...
Henry Brodribb Irving (1870–1919), English actor and manager, elder son of Sir Henry Irving. Henry Irving started acting in 1891 and revived many of his father’s famous parts both in England and in America. He also ran his own company, and was manager of several London theatres.[1] Writings in support of the Alexander Technique Following F. M. Alexander’s letter ‘Breathing and Cancer’ in Pall Mall Gazette (19 October 1909), Henry Irving wrote a letter which was published in Pall Mall Gazette (21 October 1909) and subsequently in a flyer produced by...
Sir Henry Irving (1838–1905), born John Henry Brodribb, English actor, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life Irving started acting in 1856 and made his London début ten years later. It was his success in The Bells in London (1871) which secured his reputation. (Note, that Alexander saw Walter Bentley in the lead role in The Bells in Melbourne in 1891 which inspired him to write a poem called ‘The Dream of Matthias the Burgomaster’[1]). With his Shakespearian rôles Irving gained his reputation as the greatest English actor of his time. He is reported to have...
Horace M. Kallen (1882–1974), Professor of social philosophy, educator, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life Horace Kallen was born in Austrian Silesia (now part of Poland), and his family moved to the US in 1887. He studied philosophy at Harvard University and at Oxford University. He taught at Princeton University, Harvard University (until 1911), and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (until 1918). He then became a founding member and professor of the New School for Social Research in New York City, where he remained for the rest of his career.[1] [2] [3] He was the author...
James E. R. McDonagh (1881–1965), English surgeon, Alexander’s doctor and friend, and a pupil of Alexander. Life In 1909 McDonagh became Fellow of the Royal College of Surgery, and in 1916 he was elected Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons. His research into venereal diseases, the common cold, influenza and corresponding infections in animals led him in 1929 to found and become director of The Nature of Disease Institute. From then onwards he dedicated his research to studying the underlying factors common to different kinds of diseases.[1] [2] Over the...

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