LAING, ALEXANDER [KINNAN] (1903–1976). Alexander Laing was
the author of over twenty books of nautical fiction and history and a longtime librarian at Dartmouth College. Laing grew up in Great Neck, Long
Island, New York, entered Dartmouth in 1921, and left in 1925 before
completing his degree. In the fall of 1926 he found a position as a seaman
aboard S.S. Leviathan; he spent several years working at sea and on the
shore before returning to Dartmouth. After joining the faculty there in
1930, Laing earned his B.A. in 1933, as a member of the class of 1925. He
was a member of the Dartmouth Sailing Club and served as its commodore
in 1956.
Laing’s nautical fiction includes The Sea Witch (1933), a historical novel
set among the clipper ships of 1840s New York, and Jonathan Eagle (1955),
about a young New England sailor during the early republic. He also wrote
several histories, of which the best known include Clipper Ship Men (1944),
American Sail: A Pictorial History (1961), and Seafaring America (1974).