Alexander Technique Center

The Dart Procedures

A Fascinating and Stimulating Exchange: Raymond Dart's and Alex and Joan Murrays' Correspondence

The big thing is to be able to use the knowledge we already have more expertly.
–Raymond A. Dart
Letter to Joan and Alex Murray
September 14, 1968

A key part of the collaboration of Raymond Dart with Alexander and Joan Murray was their extensive correspondence during the 1960s and 1970s.

The following is much of the written correspondence between Raymond Dart and Alexander and Joan Murray from 1967 to 1971. Most of the letters were handwritten and have been transcribed from xerox copies by Marian Goldberg. The typewritten letters are scans of xeroxes of the originals. One hand printed letter from Alex Murray to Dart has been scanned. This material has been generously provided by the Murrays.

1967 Dart/Murray Correspondence

1968 Dart/Murray Correspondence

1969 Dart/Murray Correspondence

1970s Dart/Murray Correspondence


1968 Letters


University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Murray,

It was nice to receive your letter from England yesterday & dated 30-12-67 the day of our arrival back here, after a most impressive[?], & I feel fruitful as well as thrilling, though naturally all too brief overview (& to some extent underview) of Honolulu, Tokyo (&Kyoto & Japan Monkey Center), Hong Kong (& Kowloon & New Territories), Bangkok, Bombay, & Nairobi (& Africa) on the way home. In some ways the least expected part of it was showing the Zambesi and the Limbopo & ___eys to a Mississippi member of the U.S. House of Representatives on a fantastically clear day.

So we have had lots of experiences since our separation less than, or just about a month ago from yourselves; & you seem to have been working instead of resting after your strenuous week at the I.A.H.P. I hope that you have not been overdoing things.

The article you have found in Sandoz Journal of Medical Science sounds interesting & I would like to have a copy of it. It may be that as in most matters laterality’s truth (or unavoidability) can be over-emphasized: aren’t man’s culture & industries responsible for it being necessary to discuss it (as everything else has to be talked about) specifically?

But we will have time I hope to do the discussion of it & other things related more or less closely with it (in my opinion) when we meet in Philadelphia at Easter time or thereabout.

I had had, through your return coming to the I.A.H.P. between Dec 3rd-9th, the opportunity of addressing most of the staff on Alexander’s work during the __ing of Dec 1st & of demonstrating to them how every type of movement done in the erect posture could be done on the floor as evolving from fetal (supine & prone) positions and of emphasizing the fear-dispelling or vestibular aspect of lateral displacement of the body from these positions.

Both Doman & Delacato were present & Glenn in particular appreciated & expressed approval of what I had demonstrated; & stated openly that this foetal & phylogenetically more remote aspect of movement evolution (the piscine & transition to land or amphibious aspect) had been overlooked & must be explored & exploited.

So I hope that both you & your wife realize that it was only through your own backgrounds of music & ballet that it became possible for this linking of Alexander with Doman-Delacato to take place. Thanks! R.A.D.


The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential


Dear Joan & Alex,

Your letter of 21st March has followed me from Johannesburg so I have been able since arriving here on 30-3-68 & receiving your letter during last week end-- to enquire into into your letters to Drs. Doman, Delacato, & Henshaw. The one Dr. Henshaw he will probably be answering himself once can lay his hands on it; the other two are in Neil Harvey’s[?] files & I assume you will, once this arrives, have received Dr. Delacato’s answer to his letter; but Doman answers as few letters as possible because of the enormity of correspondence with which he has to deal. So probably you have not had one from him.

There does not appear to have been any specific offer by you for your services for the Spring Vacation in either of the two letters I have seen: they concern mostly an account of your reactions to the I.O.C. —points of agreement & divergence in opinion. But I gather from Dr. Henshaw that if you were able to be here when the Carringtons are here your presence would be most welcome. Even if there were inadequate accommodation space in the auditorium there would all the more opportunity of your meeting members of the staff & seeing what they do. But doubtless he would write to you himself.

The first of our troubles is to know when this “Spring Vacation” you mention occurs: its dates & if it coincides with May 19-24, the I.O.C. week that the Carringtons will be attending. If it does & the Carringtons have made motel reservations then Mrs. Sara Russock, my secretary here, (who has been taking Alexander lessons from Madame Wielopolska) would deem it a privilege (& will be writing herself to you about it) to entertain the Carringtons in her home (not 10 minutes from here) during the I.O.C. & perhaps you two could take over their motel reservations.

Alternatively, if your comings here do not synchronize, Mrs. Russock looks forwards to entertaining both of you in her home whenever you are able to come & the Carringtons in any event during the I.O.C. She says this is perfectly easy for her to do if forewarned as her sons are away at College & more people will be coming up to the Institutes each day as she herself in order to work.

So it looks as though we may be able to get together & have many discussions; so I will not attempt to lengthen this letter by more than to say that I was very pleased to hear from you & to have the copy of Dewey’s masterpiece; & that I hope you have been keeping a diarized record of the movements you have been exploring over the past year & the localizations of the sensations to which they have given origin (& that you have experienced). If you haven’t you should start a diary & keep it & its successors for the next 20 (or 40) years so that you can write either contemporaneously or in retrospect (say in 2000 A.D.) of the cycle of bodily & other changes through which you have gone or have experienced in the 60 (or 80 or 100) years of your life. These sensations are so varied & elusive that if you do not record some of them they will be utterly beyond even your excellent descriptive recall. So set them down in a dated way such as would be admissible in any court of law.

The teaching session about which you wrote in your letter must now be in full swing. I hope you will have been making _______ full records of it & previous ones. If not, now is the time. So I will get off the line & not impede the good work of recording.

With greetings & every kind regard to you both from all of us.

Yours sincerely
Raymond A Dart



The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential

Dear Alex,

I am sorry to have failed in remembering to give back to you the enclosed extract from SANDOZ, which you lent to me whilst here. However, you will be glad, I hope, to know that we took advantage of the mistake by making some xerox copies of it to send around to other I.A.H.P.s. & members of this one. I hope it goes back safely to you along with some other xeroxes, that you may find interesting.

Life proceeds here in its customary way. Marjorie & I hope to be in Atlanta, Georgia for the Second International P___ ieatological Congress from June 29 to July 4 & to be back in South Africa by July 14 or thereabout. If all goes to plan we should be back here in October. Meantime lot of good luck & pleasant break in Great Britain & a happy return to Michigan for yourselves.

Yours sincerely,
Raymond A Dart



The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential

Dear Alex & Joan,

Many thanks for your letter & for getting into touch with McConnel. Have a good lunch!

Iona [?] Alexandra ______ made her first public entry upon the world at about 2:40 am this morning after initiating the act somewhere around 10:00 pm last evening. Both mother & daughter were doing well when we saw them, the latter screaming her head off after ___ 10++, a typically musical offering for her day & generation.

I have given a copy of The Alexander Journal to Henshaw to imbibe first & read to him your letter. Both he & I think that an article from you about implications of music’s aero-aquatic origin upon its electronic future should be drafted as soon as possible however well or poorly informed you may feel it to be. It will be a skeleton upon which you can mould a body during the next 30 years, or more if necessary. The only person who could write it had to be a flute player as well as a swimmer & maker of music.

Thanks for the Edward Lear quotation. it is as usual most apposite & I am bound to use it sooner or later. Your memory of what you have is read is one of your strongest pieces of ammunition. I think you should try some of it out wherever it appeals in what you write for general consumption: employ it.

I am glad you had enough time to imbibe what McConnel had to say about NATURAL MOVEMENT & it will be fascinating to know what the impact of your respective personalities will be. He unquestionably has learnt much from his observations upon both primates & patients & should be persuaded to put all of what he has deemed important down in words & also, if possible in pictures—however bad—upon paper so that others can photograph, or draw them from nature.

When Henshaw has finished his study of The Alexander Journal I hope that Glen Doman will have time to read it & also Carl Delacato & other members of the staff. The autobiography of Irene Tasker will be of basic importance also to all future practitioners & purveyors of the technique.

But naturally its importance can only become manifest through the effects its teachers & developers produce upon the community of the future i.e. the extent to which it becomes integrated with all other educational & rehabilitational truth. Lots of success in all that both of you are doing & thinking.

Yours sincerely
Raymond A Dart



University of Witwatersrand

Dear Joan & Alex,

You should read Curtius & when you do, you will find how much of our speech flowed from the study (by the earliest makers of speech that was articulate) of their own bodies & functions. They had to have fixed sounds to separate and signify each part, & each function state that they isolated from the chaos of their own structure & divergences[?]; as well as from the chaos of their environment & the tools with which they were attacking it; & they had to construct that language in such a way (before the aid of writing) so that it made sense to their own ears & those ears with which they were surrounded, amids their babel of babble.


This is the sort of thing that happens when there are so many things to do & so little time in which to do them (Rhode’s disease!) It is a little difficult to pick up the train of thought. I had when I first ______ wrote to you several weeks ago; but I think it was to point out how much pleasure you are bound to find in going back to the the roots of Indo-European language with the point of view of the flautist; since Orpheus himself was a fisherman, who shaped rivers by his song! It was only by blowing up floats [?] with pipes of bone reeds, bamboo etc that man came to music; & obviously the men had to do the blowing.

Of course, music & rhythmic movement have so much affinity with one another both in their application to work as in rowing, and to play (or relaxation) as in dancing, that they were bound especially under the influence of alcoholic (fermented) beverages to deteriorate into the emotional extra Orphica, Bacchanalia & so on during classical times; still enough of restraint in its practice must have persisted for music at any rate to have been retained in the service of the Church down to the present day & of course its role in military & social affairs has been one of restrained emotion.

Maybe the musicologists of today are the forerunners of those who will show to the world of the future the nature of the equilibrium that should exist in each individual (or be striven after) between their emotional & rational (or intellectual) constitutions (or aspects of their natures). The demonstration of what part man’s mastery of his breath & its placement in the making of his speech by a musicians’s collaborative with linguists could be one of the big things we all need to have knowledge about.

R. D.


University of Witwatersrand

Dear Joan & Alex,

I have been so booked that it has been impossible to answer you letter of 8-8-68 & the enclosure dealing with Lt. Col McConnell comments. Neither he nor you should feel that lack of responses from me or from Philadelphia are due to failures to appreciate. My whole purpose in recommending you to make personal contact with him was because I felt that was the best & most practical way of showing the extent of my interest at any rate.

It is p________ that Sir Arthur Keith & he like Alexander in England & Temple Fay in Philadelphia were becoming oriented through evolutionary concepts & practical understanding of comparative anatomy & development & ideas of of treatment that are comparable without being identical. Certainly you are right too in saying that Education should take the same path whether literary, physical or musical. Doubtless that is why so many educationalists of all types come to the IOC courses. Perhaps it would be possible to do something further with primates than has already been done. Perhaps blowing a whistle would be a good start; but would it teach us anything more than what we already know. Doubtless you have both already read The Naked Ape and The Second Sex. The big thing is to be able to use the knowledge we already have more expertly.

The relative of the alimentary and respiratory system (which evolved from it) their ______ to attack is clue to their wide open approach of the extraneous world in bulk & in vapour: The rest of the body systems can only be entered by rupture of the skin or the breakdown of its protective glands. So naturally it is the inferior skin (of the gut) that has to face most of the brunt of licking[?] as well as assisting in speaking, singing & playing wind instruments.

But my space is gone & I have just been communing[?] We hope to be back in Philadelphia on 29th visit? & back here again for Xmas. We hope it will be merry time for both of you.

Yours sincerely, R.A.D.


October 7th 1968

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential

Dear Alex & Joan,

Many thanks for your sympathy; it cannot help being a distressing time for all of us, but bit by bit we will all get back into our strides.

I’m glad both of you have met Lt. Col McConnel not only for the benefits you could both appreciate in knowing him but also because of the pleasure it must have given him to have such ready & understanding listeners. Naturally too, one understands more about an individual’s writings & ideas after you have met him in person.

I could not agree with you more _____ when you say about teaching here (or anywhere else) its purpose (whether ascribed only partially or not at all) is & only can be to enable people to HELP THEMSELVES. It just doesn’t occur unless learning emerges; but how much emerges depends on many factors, the greatest number of which as the individual learning is concerned, lie in himself, his likes & dislikes & their background.

But obviously some of your teaching is making fruitful soil if two of your learners are away on pipes & reeds.; & I was fascinated with the article by Luna & have asked Mrs. Russock to send us the Penguin Psychology book on LANGUAGE.

I hear that Frank Pierce Jones has withdrawn from editing the Centenary Volume for FM. Alexander & that Edward Maisel of the American Physical Fitness Research Institute [address] is doing it & has the full collaboration of both the British and the American groups interested in proposed centenary volume for which I was asked to write a preface.

So I will be glad to have all the suggestions I receive & advice I can be given about it from yourselves or others with whom you are acquainted & especially anything useful that may emerge from those I have never met.

I think it was wise on Shwindler’s part to go to a medical school where there is a Regional Primate Research Center, it should be interesting to have his reactions to McConnel’s latest paper. It is a pity that the medical students have so much to learn that they fail to get a phylogenetic perspective but fortunately neither the geologists, physicists, chemists, or astronomers, to say nothing of the zoologists & botanists, bacteriologists, & virologists can get away from evolutionary concepts & now even the linguists may be getting them as well as the anthropologists.

Meantime, I hope you will be able to get _______ on a copy _________ & wish both all the best.

Yours sincerely,
Raymond A Dart

P.S. The only book I have of McConnel’s is Natural Movement so if you can let me have copies of his other works. I will be very grateful. RAD

1967 Dart/Murray Correspondence
1969 Dart/Murray Correspondence
1970s Dart/Murray Correspondence


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