William Livingston Alden was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts on October 9, 1837, time unrecorded, but we have rectified it to 10:50 am giving him a 10 Sagittarius rising.   Alden was a see-saw temperament showing the two parts of his life, his outward career of journalism and awriter of science fiction and his Neptunian career canoeing in, appropriately enough, the water-bearer Aquarius’s sign.  There is a problem with that date, as Alden attended Lafayette College and transferred to Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri,  after his father, Joseph Alden, was its elected president.

After graduating from college in 1858, and read law in New York City with William M. Evarts, joining the bar in 1860. He practiced law until 1866 and then became a journalist, writing for the Scribner’s Monthly, James Russell Lowell’s The Atlantic, New York World and Daily Graphic. He later worked on the editorial staff of The New York Times and produced a weekly column called “Minor Topics”.

While in New York City he became an early member of the Theosophical Society,  founded by Helena Blavatsky in 1875.   He married Agnes Margaret McClure and had one child.


Alden is credited with bringing the sport of canoeing to the United States, founding the New York Canoe Club in 1871, that was the first canoeing organization in America. He was also a founding member of the American Canoe Association and served as its first Commodore.

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President Grover Cleveland appointed him Consul General to Rome in 1885, a position he held until 1890, after which he lived in Paris, writing for the New York Herald. He died in 1908 in Buffalo, New York.

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