There is a well-known quote flying around the internet attributed to a person named Alexandra K. Trenfor:

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.” - Alexandra K. Trenfor

But who is this person? When trying to verify that this quote is indeed hers, I find several sites, motivational images etc. referencing her as the author - but I find myself unable to find any information about her. That name never appears anywhere.

During the search I came across several other sites with similar confusion about who this person is. One site turned the mystery into a larger search by its members that has been going on since 2012; they still haven't found any clue as to who she is.

I am now asking if anyone on the Stack Exchange forum network knows about this person (who appears to be not as famous as initially assumed). Do anyone know the origin of this quote and who this person is - did she really say this?

  • 1
    Why are you assuming that this person is famous? This could be from a blog or forum post of a comparative nobody or just a made-up pen name.
    – Steve Bird
    Apr 24, 2019 at 16:23
  • 4
    Inspirational quotes are so frequently mis-attributed I don't bother even looking at the name. Apr 24, 2019 at 16:29
  • 3
    Worth reading this article in Forbes magazine. Apr 24, 2019 at 16:33
  • ...it feels like a 'five rings' quote....if you concentrate of the finger you will miss all the heavenly glory its pointg to....... Apr 23, 2020 at 13:43
  • I'm not entirely sure this is a question about history. On the other hand, it is possible that historical sources & methods may be able to shed some light.
    – MCW
    Apr 23, 2020 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


It's apparently a mystery. Cursory googling using the date tools suggests that the quote attributed to her began to appear out of nowhere in Facebook's early days, and it has been a mystery ever since. See e.g.:

https://adamnathan.com/2012/11/18/alexandra-k-trenfor-john-galt/ (which you've noted too)


There's even a journalist who tried very hard to locate her in 2014:


Google Ngram further suggests it's a pure internet thing, in that it fails to find any trace of Trenfor in books until 2000.

Someone with a bit more time might be able to track down the quote's very first appearance on the internet, and ask that post's author directly. It appeared after Google was a thing: the only references prior to 2008-ish appear to be webpages that send wrong last modified date information.

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