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David Alexander Collection

Identifier: PC-0003

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The David Alexander Collection contains a wide-range of materials relating to Pomona College’s institutional history. The bulk of the collection includes materials previously housed in the Pomona College President’s Office and spans over a century in scope, from 1888 to 2001. The collection includes presidential, administrative, institutional, and faculty correspondence; student records; financial documents; articles and advertisements; building files; commencement, convocation, and other campus event materials; speeches; athletics and campus organization files; student publications; reports; meeting minutes; administration materials; campus policies; donation letters and deed of gifts; grant and scholarship information; professorship materials; and trustee files. Of particular interest are correspondence files related to Pomona College presidents Franklin La Du Ferguson, George Augustus Gates, James A. Blaisdell, Charles K. Edmunds, and David Alexander, as well as extensive coverage of campus protests and the founding of the Claremont Colleges’ Black Studies Center during the late 1960 and early 1970s.


  • Creation: 1888-2001

Language of Materials

Languages represented in collection: English.


Some items in this collection have been restricted due to their confidential nature. For more information, please contact the Pomona College Archivist.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Pomona College Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Pomona College Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

Biography / Administrative History

John David Alexander was Pomona College’s seventh president and second longest tenured (to date), serving from 1969 until 1991. Over his 22 years as president, Pomona’s endowment increased from $24 million to $296 million; the faculty grew from 130 to 156; and new construction added 15 major buildings to the campus. The geographic and ethnic diversity of the student body increased dramatically as the College made the transition from a primarily regional institution to a national liberal arts college with a majority of its students from outside California. The year after his retirement, the College named its new administration building The David Alexander Hall of Administration in his honor.

Born in 1932 in Springfield, Tennessee, David Alexander attended Southwestern at Memphis College (now Rhodes College) where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors in Greek in 1953. A classicist with a deep interest in theological history, Alexander went on to study at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where he was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar in 1954. As a Rhodes Scholar, Alexander was able to attend Oxford University and earned a D.Phil. in Theology from Oxford’s Christ Church College in 1957. After earning his doctorate, Alexander taught for eight years at the San Francisco Theological Seminary before becoming president of his alma mater Southwestern at Memphis College in 1965. Four years later, Dr. Alexander succeeded E. Wilson Lyon as Pomona College president and was appointed on October 18, 1969, which fell on both his 37th birthday and the celebration of the 82nd anniversary of the College.

From 1981 to 1998, Dr. Alexander served as American Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarship Trust, where oversaw the annual selection of 32 Americans chosen to study at Oxford. Additionally, he was the author of “The American Scholarships” in The History of the Rhodes Trust (OUP, 2001) and served as editor of the American Oxonian, magazine of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars. In 1998, David Alexander was decorated Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was named a Distinguished Friend of Oxford University in 2000.

Dr. Alexander served on several boards and was trustee of many organizations, both during and following his tenure as Pomona College president. He was a trustee of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) from 1970 to 2002, a trustee of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation from 1978 to 1999, and served on the Board of Overseers of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens from 1991 to 2010. He was also a director of KCET, the Seaver Institute, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Early in his tenure at Pomona, Dr. Alexander served as a trustee of the American Council on Education and later on of the Fellows of the Society of Phi Beta Kappa. From 2004, he served as the President of the American Friends of the National Portrait Gallery London and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006. David Alexander passed away following a battle with cancer at age 77 on July 25, 2010, at his home in Claremont.


28.6 Linear Feet (26 record cartons, 2 tall lided boxes, 1 map drawer)


The David Alexander Collection contains a wide-range of materials relating to Pomona College’s institutional history, including administrative correspondence, event materials, and building and campus organization files. The bulk of the collection includes materials previously housed in the Pomona College President’s Office and spans over a century in scope, from 1888 to 2001.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following six series:

Series 1: President's Office Papers, 1888-1926 and undated Series 2: College Buildings and Property, 1898-1997 and undated Series 3: Campus Life and Events, 1907-1991 and undated Series 4: College Administration, 1898-1998 and undated Series 5: Trustees, 1889-2001 and undated Series 6: Oversize Materials, 1913-1975

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of David Alexander, 2009; Gift of Catherine Alexander, 2017.


Additions to the collection are not anticipated.

Processing Information

Arranged and processed by Jamie Weber in 2011.

David Alexander Collection
Jamie K. Weber and Sean Stanley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the 06 - Pomona College Archives Repository

Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library
800 N. Dartmouth Avenue
Claremont CA 91711