Alden Whitman

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Alden Whitman
BornOctober 27, 1913
DiedSeptember 4, 1990
Notable worksPioneered the writing of personalized obituaries

Alden Whitman (October 27, 1913 – September 4, 1990) was an American journalist. He worked at The New York Times, where he pioneered writing personalized obituaries. He is also known for his testimony before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. He was born in New Albany, Nova Scotia, and he died on a visit to Monte Carlo, Monaco.


Whitman worked as a copy editor at the New York Herald Tribune from 1943 to 1951. He was hired as a copy editor by The New York Times in 1951.

Subpoenaed by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee during its investigation of Communists in the media in November 1955, Whitman testified before the Senate in January 1956. Whitman was implicated in Winston Burdett's testimony before the subcommittee in July 1955. Whitman refused to name other people as Communists, and he was indicted in December 1956 for contempt of Congress; the case was later dismissed.[1] Under questioning from subcommittee counsel J.G. Sourwine, Whitman admitted his own involvement with the Communist Party from 1935 to 1948. He also told Sourwine he was a member of a cell with "perhaps a half-dozen members" at the New York Herald Tribune when he worked there.

In the 1980s[edit]

In the 1980s Whitman suffered a debilitating stroke which left him blind. His wife, Joan, hired several Long Island University college students to come to their home in Southampton, New York, to engage in a daily ritual of reading Whitman stories from major newspapers and weekly magazines.[2]


1979: George Polk Awards (Career Award)


  1. ^ "Obituary; Alden Whitman Is Dead at 76; Made an Art of Times Obituaries". The New York Times. 1990-09-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  2. ^ "ALDEN WHITMAN, N.Y. TIMES OBITUARIST, DIES". The Washington Post. September 6, 1990. Retrieved 14 July 2015.

External links[edit]