John G. Alden began his design career as an apprentice with B. B. Crowninshield (MIT Class of 1889) in 1902 and became a productive designer and experienced sailor by the time he departed to start his own Boston design office in 1909. His initial success was modest until he won his first Bermuda Race with Malabar IV in 1923. Alden’s subsequent Bermuda Race victories in 1926 with Malabar VII and Malabar X in 1932 provided his firm enduring fame and success. This long-lived design business finally closed for good in 2008.
This photographic database reflects examples of materials in the Alden Collection in addition to the large number of plans. Although a major portion of the Alden Collection was cataloged and scanned under the direction of Niels Helleberg, additional processing work is required to provide full access to this extensive and extraordinarily complete American marine design record.
In preparation for the move to a new museum facility the MIT Museum is temporarily closed. We regret that we will not be able to provide additional in-person or digital access to the Alden plan archive until Summer 2022. While we are excited about our new home, we understand that this presents serious difficulties to boat owners and researchers alike; there is no other way to pack and safely relocate this wonderful collection in its new home without this closure. We thank you for your patience and understanding.