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 collection:
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
[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 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.
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