Robert Ames Alden

Robert Ames AldenRobert Ames Alden retired from the Washington Post in 2000 after more than 48 years as an editor, making him the longest-serving editor in the paper’s history.  As night news editor in 1963, he put together the Post's first extra edition since Pearl Harbor to cover the assassination of President Kennedy.  For more than 40 years, he was a key news editor at the Post, putting together countless newspapers on historic days from the beginning of the 1960s through the end of the 1990s -- including wars, riots, assassinations, natural disasters, elections, massive demonstrations, and many other memorable events.

As world news editor in 1974, he was the principal architect of the Post for the historic edition on the resignation of President Nixon. Culminating a personal seven-year effort in 1975, he was the principal founder of the National Press Foundation and served four terms as the Foundation's first president. He spearheaded the Foundation's efforts to improve journalism education. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was the leading male advocate for the admission of women into the National Press Club, where he served as president in 1976. he first native Washingtonian to lead the Press Club, he began his career as a sportswriter for the Cleveland Press in 1947. He helped innovate the use of more statistics in baseball coverage and was an award-winning writer. He has been a visionary community leader in planning a green, central park, library, outdoor stage, community center and theater for McLean, VA, whose Robert Ames Alden Theater carries his name. A half century ago, he proposed to state and local officials naming McLean's main street, "Dolley Madison Boulevard." The purpose was to honor the First Lady who saved from the White House the Stuart portrat of Washington, an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, and other treasures at risk when the British invaded Washington and burned the White House and most public buildings. She fled to what is now McLean over the route that bears her name, eventually meeting President James Madison in McLean.

Alden has been deeply involved in history, music and drama organizations locally and nationally. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees from the George Washington University, where he won the university's top history award as a student for 17 years in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2005, university officials bestowing a distinguished alumnus award described Alden as “a living legend” in Washington journalism.