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John B. Alexander papers

Identifier: MS0218

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of account books, journals, correspondence, memorabilia, and writings of John B. Alexander. One of the two medical journals includes detailed patient histories, primarily of women (1895-1905). Also includes Civil War-related materials, including correspondence, essays, and fictional writings.


  • Creation: 1855 - 1911
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1855 - 1905


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

John Brevard Alexander was born in Mecklenburg County, N.C., on May 27, 1834. He was the son of Robert Davidson Alexander and Abigail Bain Caldwell Alexander. He graduated from Davidson College with high honors in 1852 and from the Medical College of South Carolina at the top of his class in 1855.

He married Annie Wall Lowrie on May 18, 1858. They had six children: Robert D. (d. 1901); Dixie (d. 1909); Annie Lowrie, M.D. (1864-1929), one of the first women from the South to be graduated from the Woman's Medical College in Philadelphia and the first woman to practice medicine in the South; Lucy (d. 1919); Samuel Lowrie (d. 1887); and James Houston, a farmer in Chatham County, NC.

During the Civil War, Alexander served as a sergeant and assistant surgeon in the 37th North Carolina Infantry, Company C, out of High Point, NC. He resigned and was later appointed surgeon in the Sixty-third Battalion of the North Carolina Militia for “home defence” [see North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, vol. 9 and folder 1:1]. Following the Civil War, Alexander remained a lifelong supporter of the Confederacy and wrote numerous racist essays.

After the war, Alexander returned to Mecklenburg County to resume his medical practice. He also managed a pharmacy throughout his career. In 1890, due to his declining health, Alexander and his wife moved in with their daughter, Dr. Annie L. Alexander. He was an elder at Bethel Presbyterian Church, and after he moved to Charlotte, he became active in the First Presbyterian Church there. Alexander briefly served as a justice of the peace in Charlotte (ca. 1895; see box 1, volume 5). In 1898, he retired.

Alexander authored three books: Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers of the Hopewell Section (1898); The History of Mecklenburg County from 1740 to 1900 (1902); and Reminiscences of the Past Sixty Years (1908). He also compiled a sketch of local church history, “Presbyterianism, How and Where It Was First Planted in Mecklenburg County.” John B. Alexander died in Charlotte on June 24, 1911 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers of a Mecklenburg County physician. Includes account books, medical journals, correspondence, memorabilia, and writings. Also documents his services as a surgeon in the 37th North Carolina Regiment of the Confederate Army, as well as his general interest in the Civil War.


The collection is arranged into three series, one of which (Account Books, Ledgers and Assorted Volumes) is further divided into a subseries (Medical Journals, 1855-1871, 1895-1905). The three series are: Account Books, Ledgers and Assorted Volumes, Civil War Documents (1862-1864) and Correspondence (1860-1909).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Selby Daniels in 1995 and 2003. Some material was purchased from the estate of Selby Daniels in 2009.

Available Online

A portion of the John B. Alexander papers have been digitized and are available online:

Related Materials

Alexander and Ramsey Family Papers, Mss 162; Dr. Annie L. Alexander Papers, Mss 247.

Processing Information

Processed by Jeff Forret, Joanna Goltzman, 1998 and Robert A. McInnes, 2008.

John B. Alexander papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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(704) 687-1170
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