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Archibald Stevens Alexander (28 October 1906 – 4 September 1979) was an American lawyer, civil servant, and Democratic politician. He served as Under Secretary of the United States Army in the Truman Administration and as New Jersey State Treasurer.

Early life and war service

Alexander was born in New York City, New York, the son of Archibald Stevens Alexander and Helen Tracy Barney Alexander.[1]

Alexander's great-great-great-grandfather was John Stevens (c. 1715-1792), delegate in 1784 to the Continental Congress;[2] his great-great-grandfather was John Stevens (1749–1838), who developed early versions of screw-propelled steamboat and steam locomotive; one of his great-grandfathers was Brigadier General James Scollay Whitney (1811–1878), president of the Metropolitan Steamship Company; another great-grandfather was Ashbel H. Barney (1816–1886), president of Wells Fargo & Company.

Alexander received a B.A. degree from Princeton University (1928) and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School (1931). He married Susan Dimock Tilton in New York City on 24 June 1929.[3] She died in 1935. He married Jean Struthers Sears (1907–1983) at Beverly, Massachusetts, on 4 August 1937; her sister was Emily Sears, who married Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.[4]

After completing law school Alexander joined the New York firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, where he was a partner from 1940 to 1949.[5] During World War II Alexander served in the United States Army. He was commissioned as first lieutenant in 1942 and served in the European and Mediterranean Theatres. He was discharged from the Army in 1945, having risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[6]

Political and civic career

Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

In 1947 Alexander was appointed to the State Department's Foreign Service Selection Board and served as a consultant to the Atomic Energy Commission on security and personnel matters. He was Assistant Secretary of the Army from 1949 to 1950 and Under Secretary from 1950 to 1952.[6]

Alexander was active in Democratic politics in New Jersey. In 1948 he was the Democratic candidate for United States Senate but lost to Robert C. Hendrickson. He was again the Democratic nominee in 1952, losing to Howard Alexander Smith. From 1954 to 1955 he served as Treasurer of the State of New Jersey. In 1956 he was Director of Volunteers for the presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson.

Alexander was President of the Free Europe Committee from 1959 to 1963. In 1963 he was appointed Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, remaining in this position until 1969. From 1971 until his death he was president of the Arms Control Association.[5]

Alexander had a long involvement with Rutgers University. As state treasurer, he was a public member of the university's Board of Trustees. In 1956 he was appointed to the newly created Board of Governors for Rutgers and also rejoined the Board of Trustees, serving on both until 1973. Alexander chaired the Board of Governors from 1959 to 1963 and again from 1971 to 1973. The central university library is named in his honor.[5]

Alexander died at his home in Bernardsville, New Jersey after a short illness.[7]


  1. Biographical information for Archibald S. Alexander from The Political Graveyard, accessed 3 July 2008
  2. Mark M. Boatner III, Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, p. 271. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1966
  3. "Susan Tilton Weds A.S. Alexander; Members of Many Old New York Families at Wedding in St. Bartholomew's Chapel", The New York Times, 25 June 1929
  4. "Miss Jean Sears Married at Home", The New York Times, 4 August 1937.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Biographical sketch, Manuscript Collection 1190, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, accessed 8 June 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 Official bio, Former Under Secretaries, US Army, accessed 8 June 2008
  7. "Archibald Alexander, 72; Lawyer Served as Army Under Secretary", The New York Times, 6 September 1979.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Tracy Voorhees
United States Under Secretary of the Army
Succeeded by
Karl R. Bendetsen
Party political offices
Preceded by
William H. Smathers
Democratic Nominee for the U.S. Senate (Class 2) from New Jersey
Succeeded by
Charles R. Howell
Preceded by
George E. Brunner
Democratic Nominee for the U.S. Senate (Class 1) from New Jersey
Succeeded by
Harrison A. Williams

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