COMPANION

Pupils of F. M. Alexander

Raymond Dart, John Dewey, Aldous Huxley

Peter Macdonald (1870–1960), surgeon and eye specialist, a pupil of F. M. Alexander, who wrote several articles on the Alexander Technique for the medical profession. Life Peter Macdonald was born in Scotland and was a Scottish surgeon and eye specialist. He settled in York where in 1904 he became medical officer to Rowntree & Co – one of the first companies to establish such a post for their workers. He later married Joseph Rowntree’s daughter, Agnes Julia. He was an experienced eye, ear, nose and throat surgeon and wrote many medical papers on these subjects. He...
Dr Robert Henry Scanes Spicer (1856–1925), doctor and specialist of the throat, and a pupil of Alexander. Life Dr Robert Henry Scanes Spicer (sometimes referred to as Scanes-Spicer) gained his M.D. in 1885. He studied in throat clinics in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, and was one of the founding members of the Laryngological Society of London. In 1888 he became a throat surgeon at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, and in 1908 became a consulting surgeon. Inspired by Alexander he gave a number of papers and presentations between 1909 and 1910 with a focus on respiration. His last...
Raymond Arthur Dart (1893–1988), Australian-born anatomist and anthropologist. He was the originator of what is now known as the Dart procedures. Life Dart, Raymond Arthur (1893–1988) was an Australian-born South African anatomist and anthropologist. He graduated in medicine at Sydney in 1917, and became Professor of Anatomy in Johannesburg in 1923. He achieved international fame as an anthropologist with his discovery of a branch of the human family, Australopithecus africanus, in 1925. It was the first early human fossil found in Africa, and it helped to shift the focus to...
Robert Dudley Best (1892-1984), British businessman and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life Best inherited his family brass founder business, Best & Lloyd, known for their lamps and chandeliers (they invented the ‘Surprise’ pendant in 1893 which was the forerunner of today’s angle-poise lamp). Best wrote a biography of his father, R. H. Best (1843-1925), who was one of the founders of the business.[1] Connection with Alexander Suffering from neck spasms R. D. Best started having lessons in 1929 and became a keen supporter of the Technique. He encouraged teachers...
Friedrich Robert Donat (1905–58), English actor and a pupil of F. M. Alexander. Donat made his first stage appearance in 1921, at the age of 16. From 1930 Robert Donat acted in London’s West End Theatres where he also worked briefly as a manager. He is known for several leading film roles, among them The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935), Goodbye Mr Chips (1939) and The Citadel (1938) in which he played an idealistic doctor who comes to Harley Street from a mining village in Wales. Donat’s health was delicate all his life and and he suffered occasional depressions. 1946 was a...
Ron George Brown (1911–55), British journalist, editor and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Ron Brown wrote a summary of F. M. Alexander’s four books. Life Ron Brown worked for Reuters, the Times diary, the Evening Standard ‘Londoner’s Diary’ and Associated Press. He also worked for the embryo United Nations in 1944. He was a heavy smoker and developed lung cancer, as well as T.B. Owing perhaps to a mild case of polio in his childhood he had impaired back and leg muscles which affected his walk and he later on he developed muscular dystrophy of the legs. He...
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (1889–1952), British politician, pupil and supporter of F. M. Alexander. A lawyer, Cripps entered Parliament in 1931 as a left-wing Labour MP, antiwar and pro-Soviet. He served as Ambassador to Moscow (1940–42) and later served in Winston Churchill’s wartime cabinet. He helped to coax Stalin into joining the Allied war effort and tried unsuccessfully to give independence to a united India. As Chancellor of the Exchequer (1947–50), he presided over the post-war austerity program. Cripps received a Knights Bachelor in 1931, hence he...
Viola Tree (1884–1938), English actress, singer, playwright, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life Tree was born in London, the eldest of three daughters of Herbert Beerbohm Tree and his wife, the actress Helen Maud Tree. Her aunt was author Constance Beerbohm and an uncle was Max Beerbohm. Tree made a successful London debut in March 1904 as Viola in Twelfth Night. For the next four years she appeared in her father’s productions at His Majesty's Theatre. In 1919, Tree took over the management of the Aldwych Theatre. Her last Shakespeare role was Helena in A Midsummer...
Waldo David Frank (1889–1967), American novelist, travel writer and essayist, a pupil of F. M. Alexander, and who was first married to Margaret Naumburg and later Alma Frank. Life Waldo Frank grew up in New York City, attended a college preparatory boarding school in Switzerland, earned a bachelor’s degree at Yale University, and then a Masters degree in 1911. He worked briefly for the New York Times, and spent a year in Paris 1913–14. In 1916 he became associate editor of The Seven Arts, an influential journal although it only ran for twelve issues. His first novel...
William Temple (1881–1944), Archbishop of Canterbury and a pupil of F. M. Alexander. William Temple was a British churchman and Archbishop of Canterbury (1942-44). He was a conservative Christian but politically of socialist orientation. His broad-minded idealism is expressed in Nature, Man and God (1934) and Christianity and Social Order (1942). He started having lessons with F. M. Alexander in the early 1930s, during the time he was Archbishop of York (1929–42).[1] F. M. Alexander lists ‘The late Archbishop of Canterbury’ as one of his pupils in the 1945...

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