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Alger, John Goldworth (bap. 1836, d. 1907), journalist and historian, born at Diss, Norfolk, and baptized on 7 August 1836, was the only son of John Alger, a corn merchant of that town, and his wife, Jemima, daughter of Salem Goldworth, yeoman, of Morningthorpe, Norfolk. was his younger sister. Educated at Diss, Alger became a journalist at the age of sixteen. At first he wrote for the Norfolk News, afterwards transferring his services to the Oxford Journal. In 1866 he joined the parliamentary reporting staff of The Times, and after eight years in that capacity was sent to Paris in 1874 to act as assistant to Henri de Blowitz, the paper's Paris correspondent. There he remained for twenty-eight years, very much the second fiddle to Blowitz's first violin.

Alger's leisure was chiefly devoted to historical research in the Bibliothèque Nationale and Archives Nationales. He made himself thoroughly familiar with the topographical history of Paris, and threw new light on byways of the French Revolution, investigating with especial thoroughness the part that Britons played in the great movement. His chief publications were Englishmen in the French Revolution (1889); Glimpses of the French Revolution (1894); Paris in 1789–94: Farewell Letters of Victims of the Guillotine (1902); and Napoleon's British Visitors and Captives (1904). He also published The Paris Sketch Book (1887)—a description of current Parisian life—contributed historical articles to several leading magazines, and was an occasional contributor to the Dictionary of National Biography. In 1902 Alger retired from The Times on a pension, and settled in London. He died from mitral disease, at 7 Holland Park Court, Addison Road, West Kensington, on 23 May 1907; he was unmarried.

S. E. Fryer, rev. H. C. G. Matthew


The Times (25 May 1907) · H. G. S. A. de Blowitz, My memories (1903)

Wealth at death  

£15,815 7s. 4d.: administration, 30 Aug 1907, CGPLA Eng. & Wales