Alden, Raymond Macdonald, 1873-1924

Alternative names
Birth 1873
Death 1924

Biographical notes:

Raymond MacDonald Alden, born in 1873 in New Hartford, New York, received his A.B. in English from the University of Pennsylvania (1894), A.M. from Harvard (1896) and completed his Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania (1898). He came to Stanford in 1901 as Assistant Professor of English and Rhetoric and in 1909 was promoted to Associate Professor. From 1911-1915, he served as professor and chairman of the Department of English at the University of Illinois. He returned in 1915 to Stanford as full professor and department chairman, positions he held until his death in 1924. Alden wrote both non-fiction and works of fiction and poetry.

From the description of Raymond Macdonald Alden papers, 1891-1924. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702129430

Biographical/Historical Sketch

R.M. Alden, born in New Hartford, New York in 1873, was the only child of the Reverend Gustavus R. Alden and Isabella Macdonald Alden (editor of a juvenile publication and author of numerous Sunday school books and fiction for adult readers). He began his college career at Rollins College in Florida, a school which would award him an honorary doctorate in 1910. Alden eventually completed his A.B. in English at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1894.

Alden earned his A.M. from Harvard (1896) and finished his Ph.D. at Penn (1898). During his student and immediately post-doctoral years, he was an instructor at Columbian (now George Washington) University, an assistant at Harvard, and a Senior Fellow-instructor at Penn. He came to Stanford in 1901 as Assistant Professor of English and Rhetoric. Promoted to Associate Professor in 1909, Alden left for the University of Illinois in 1911, having been offered a full professorship and the chairmanship of the Illinois English Department. He retraced his steps four years later when Stanford offered him a duplicate situation. Alden continued as chairman at Stanford until his death in 1924.

Alden's major professional works include: The Rise of Formal Satire in England (1899), The Art of Debate (1900), On Seeing an Elizabethan Play (1903), English Verse (1903), An Introduction to Poetry (1909), Tennyson--How to Know Him (1917), Shakespeare (Master Spirits of Literature Series, 1917).

In addition, Alden served as editor for numerous editions of Shakespeare (Julius Caesar and Sonnets) and other authors, as well as for several anthologies of essays, poems, and other readings. He was a frequent contributor to professional journals and publications.

Alden also achieved a certain amount of recognition as a writer of fiction and poetry. His Knights of the Silver Shield (1906), Why the Chimes Rang (1909), and The Boy Who Found the King (1922) were joined on the verse side by Consolatio--an Ode. A short story won third prize ($1,000) in the Collier's contest of 1905.

Alden served as President of the Drama League of America from its founding in 1914 until his death in 1924. He was also a member of the Modern Language Association, American Philological Association, American Association of University Professors, Phi Beta Kappa, and Beta Theta Pi.

Married to Barbara G. Hitt in 1904, Alden had a daughter and four sons. He was active in the Palo Alto Presbyterian Church.

[Information obtained from the Who Was Who in America, Vol I, 1897-1942, and from the Stanford Illustrated Review, October 1924.]

From the guide to the Raymond Macdonald Alden papers, 1891-1924, (Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives)


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  • Women authors, American--Biography
  • English language--Study and teaching
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