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John B. Alexander Papers

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Alexander (John B.) Papers

John B. Alexander papers

Summary Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte
Alexander, J. B. (John Brevard), 1834
John B. Alexander papers
Date [inclusive]
2.0 Linear feet
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.

Preferred Citation note

John B. Alexander Papers. J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Biographical/Historical 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. During the Civil War Alexander served as a sergeant and assistant surgeon in the thirty-seventh North Carolina Infantry, but he resigned on May 16, 1863 because of “a bilious attack” and “acute dysentery.” Later, on November 6, 1863, he was 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 war, he returned to Mecklenburg County to resume his medical practice. He moved into Charlotte in 1890. Throughout his career he also managed a drugstore until health required him to retire in 1898. 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. 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.” He was an elder at Bethel Presbyterian Church, and after he moved to Charlotte, he became active in the First Presbyterian Church there. Alexander apparently served briefly as a justice of the peace in Charlotte (ca. 1895; see box 1, volume 5). He died in Charlotte on June 24, 1911 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

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Scope and Contents note

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.

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Arrangement note

The John B. Alexander Papers are organized into a single volume and folder title series.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte 2008

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC, 28223

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

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

Processing Information note

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

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

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

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 37th.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Mecklenburg County (N.C.)
  • North Carolina--Civil War, 1861-1865

Personal Name(s)

  • Alexander, J. B. (John Brevard), 1834


  • Medical care--North Carolina--19th century
  • Physicians--North Carolina--19th century

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Collection Inventory

Account Books/Ledgers/Assorted Volumes   8.0 Albums

Box Volume

General Account Books 1868-1869, 1889-1907 

Scope and Contents note

Volume 4 includes newspaper clippings pasted-in by Alexander (4 volumes)

1 1-4

Justices' Civil and Criminal Docket for the Justices of North Carolina 1895 

1 5

Medical Journals 1855-71, 1895-1905 

Oversize Volume

Medical Journal 

Box 2 6
Box Volume

Medical Journal 

Scope and Contents note

Includes detailed patient histories, primarily of women; 15 pages of notes on menstrual disorders; and two pages with the heading "Chapter II" (apparently part of a story written by Alexander, remaining pages have been removed.

1 7
Box Volume

Sawmill Account Book 1883-1889 

1 8

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Box Folder

Civil War Documents 1862-1864 

Scope and Contents note

Includes J. B. Alexander's commission, furlough, and resignation papers; correspondence about the death of James B. Lowrie; and a medical report following a battle. Also includes appraisal and conscription papers for a slave named Mark, conscripted by the army to build fortifications in Halifax, owned by R. D. Alexander; and loyalty oath after the war.

1 1


Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence written during the Civil War, with depictions of camp life; reports of troop health; and information on troop movements and exercises. Letters also reveal concerns about planting, harvesting and the magangement of slaves; the operations of the Alexander farm, and insights into husband and wife relationships during wartime and postwar/reconstruction era.

Box Folder

Correspondence 1860-1861 

1 2

Correspondence--Civil War 1862 

1 3

Correspondence--Civil War 1863 

1 4

Correspondence 1867-1910 

1 5

Correspondence undated 

1 6

Correspondence 1862, 1897 

Scope and Contents note


1 6b

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Box Folder

Financial 1843-1907 

Scope and Contents note

Includes store accounts, medical accounts, and records of tax payments.

1 7

History and Politics 1901-11, undated 

Scope and Contents note

Comprised of newspaper clippings (including articles and editorial letters by Alexander) and handwritten essays. These materials demonstrate Alexander's affinity for espousing the Lost Cause, as well as his general interest in history. Among the writings are two fictional war stories (n.d.) by Alexander. (see also oversize storage)

1 8

Legal 1852-1898 

Scope and Contents note

Includes a civil docket, criminal docket, records of court cases, and deeds.

1 9

Lowrie (Alexander), Annie Wall--Album 1853-1855   1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Autograph album of Alexander's wife prior to their marriage in 1858. The majority of the entries are in the form of prose.

1 10

Lowrie, James B.--Workbook/Ledger 1870-1880   1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

This belonged to James B. Lowrie, who was Alexander's brother-in-law. Contains entries for British monarchs, calculus, translations,and dried plants. Also contains ledger entries.

1 11

Medical 1886-1888 

Scope and Contents note

Includes Alexander's writings about arthritis, birth, "insane Negroes" (this appeared in his Reminiscences of the Past Sixty Years) and histories of the medical profession. The latter includes his reflections upon the medical practice of a fifty year period.

1 13

Religion, Literature and Art-essays 1900-1907 

Scope and Contents note

Much of this material appears to be Alexander's writings for prayer meetings, which probably took place at his church, First Presbyterian.

1 14
Box Volume

Scrapbook circa 1888-1897 

2 6
Box Folder item

Photograph--Capt. John Walker   1.0 Items

Scope and Contents note

Captain Walker lived from Feb. 22, 1801-Sept. 7, 1876.

P37 2 P218/1