Frederick Matthias Alexander (20 January 1869 - 10 October 1955) was an Australian actor who developed the educational process that is today called the Alexander Technique - a form of education that is applied to recognize and overcome reactive, habitual limitations in movement and thinking.
Alexander's first rooms in London, in 1904, were at the Army & Navy Mansions in Victoria Street, London, where he built a thriving practice. In 1920 he moved a short distance to continue practicing at 16 Ashley Place, with the help of two teachers, Ethel Webb and Irene Tasker. From the start of the First World War in 1914, in order to maintain a constant practice, most years until 1924 he spent the Autumn and Winter in the United States.
In 1914 Alexander married Edith Page, an Australian who was the widow of one his best friends, Robert Young, and in 1924 he bought their home 'Penhill', a house with 20 acres (81,000 m2) of grounds, at Bexley in Kent, where he started the "little school" for children where his method was made fundamental to the school curriculum. It was not a happy marriage and he and Edith had no children. However Alexander had a son with Gladys Johnson, the caretaker of Penhill: Gladys, known as 'Jack.' Jack had married Owen Vicary, Edith's nephew, and after Jack and Owen had separated in 1925 and Edith had moved out of Penhill in 1929, Alexander and Jack became close; their son was born in 1931 and passed off as Owen's son, named John Vicary.
The first training course was started at Ashley Place in September 1930. and continued alongside his own practice until 1940. When the war came he lived and worked in the United States from 1940 until 1943, which was a difficult time as his teachers were disappearing into the services. Fearing that the technique would be lost, he returned to London in 1943 and successfully restarted the training course.
The four books of F. Matthias Alexander exist in many editions, being reprinted and revised, published in the UK and USA, and not all editions are shown.
Man's Supreme Inheritance, Methuen (London, 1910), revised and enlarged (New York, 1918), later editions 1941, 1946, 1957, Mouritz (UK, 1996), reprinted 2002
Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, Centerline Press (USA,1923), revised 1946, Mouritz (UK, 2004)
The Use of the Self, E. P. Dutton (New York, 1932), republished by Orion Publishing, 2001
The Universal Constant In Living, Dutton (New York, 1941), Chaterson (London, 1942), later editions 1943, 1946, Centerline Press (USA, 1941, 1986)