MsC 304

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1940 -- 1970
120 items

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900

Posted to Internet:2001

Acquisition Note: This collection was purchased by the University of Iowa Libraries in 1974.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Photographs: Box 1

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.


Archie Alphonse Alexander was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on May 14, 1888 . He was the first African-American to graduate from the University of Iowa's College of Engineering. He earned his degree in civil engineering in 1912. While a student at Iowa, he also was a member of the varsity football team.

Alexander opened his own engineering firm of A.A. Alexander, Inc. in 1914, in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1917, Alexander and George F. Higbee entered into a partnership. Their engineering company specialized in building bridges, viaducts, and sewage systems throughout Iowa. In 1925, Higbee was killed in a construction accident. For the next several years Alexander continued the business alone. During this period he received several large construction contracts at his alma mater, including the University's power plant and tunnel system. In 1929, Maurice Repass joined him as a junior partner. They had been classmates at Iowa and had played football together. They went on to complete projects in most of the then forty-eight states. Between 1914 and 1950, Alexander's businesses completed over three hundred projects.

Alexander was also active outside of his business. He was president of the Des Moines chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He was also president of the local chapter of the Inter-racial Commission. He was a trustee of both Howard University and the Tuskeegee Institute. Alexander directed that his estate be used to establish engineering scholarships at Howard University, Tuskeegee Institute, and the University of Iowa.

A.A. Alexander was an active Republican who twice served as assistant to the chairman of Iowa's Republican State Committee. And early in 1952, he joined the "Eisenhower for President" movement. His party loyalty was rewarded with the post of Governor of the Virgin Islands. Not well suited to diplomacy, Alexander served only one year. By 1955 his health was failing. Archie A. Alexander died of a heart attack on January 4, 1958.


The papers of Archie Alexander consist of 120 items dating from 1940 to 1970. Subject files include topics which range from testimonial dinners to nomination hearings before the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and from Howard University to construction project photographs. Speeches, correspondence, and clippings complete the papers.


Hearings Before the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate, 83rd Congress, 2nd Session on the nomination of Archie A. Alexander to be governor of the Virgin Islands, March 10, 1954

Howard University materials, 1954 -- 1955

"Life's Adjustments, A Challenge for the Education of our Youth Today," an address by Archie A. Alexander at Howard University, June, 1955.

Magazine articles pertaining to Archie A. Alexander, 1949 -- 1985.

Miscellaneous items mostly relating to Mrs. Archie A. Alexander, 1940 -- 1964.

Newspaper clippings concerning Archie A. Alexander, 1945 -- 1993

Photographs of construction projects by Alexander & Repass, 1946 --1954

Testimonial dinner honoring Archie A. Alexander, April 15, 1954, including a speech by Loren Hickerson reviewing Alexander's career.

University of Iowa Centennial Commencement Award and Citation, June 1947, nomination forms for Archie A. Alexander by S. Joe Brown and Clifford V. Smith.


return to inventory

Return to Inventory

Return to Alphabetical Listing

Return to Top