Scope and Contents of the Collection
Organization and Arrangement
Title: David Alexander Collection
Collection number: PC.0003
28.6 Linear Feet
(26 record cartons, 2 tall lided boxes, 1 map drawer)
Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, The Claremont
Colleges Library, Claremont, CA 91711.
Abstract: 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.
Physical Location: Please consult repository.
Language of Material: Languages represented in
Some items in this collection have been restricted due to their confidential nature. For
more information, please contact the Pomona College Archivist.
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.
[Identification of item], David Alexander Collection (PC-0003). Pomona College Archives,
Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, Claremont, California.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of David Alexander, 2009; Gift of Catherine Alexander, 2017.
Additions to the collection are not anticipated.
Arranged and processed by Jamie Weber in 2011.
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
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.
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.
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
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library’s online public access catalog.
Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.)
Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.) -- Administration
Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.) -- Faculty
Alexander, David, 1932-2010
Blaisdell, James Arnold
Edmunds, Charles K. (Charles Keyser), 1876-
Ferguson, Franklin La Du, 1861-1944
Gates, George Augustus, 1851-1912
Lyon, E. Wilson (Elijah Wilson)
Alumni and alumnae
Greek letter societies
Protests (Negotiable instruments)
Genre and Form of Materials