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Identifier: MC 1190

Archibald S. Alexander Papers


  • 1939-1979, bulk 1969-1979

Scope and Content Note

The 4.5 cubic feet of documents comprising the papers of Archibald S. Alexander, attorney and government official, span the years 1939 to 1979, although the bulk of the material dates from 1969 to 1979. For the most part, the papers document Alexander's activities after his retirement from government service. During this period, Alexander was actively involved in a number of organizations and educational institutions.

While spanning a considerable time period, Alexander's papers do not deal with his years as a practicing attorney in New York City. They also do not extensively cover his years at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Instead, the collection's research value lies in the light it sheds on Alexander's activities in public service organizations and the activities of the organizations themselves, especially those dealing with arms control.

Included in the papers are letters received, copies of letters sent, memoranda, speeches, working papers and reports, agendas and minutes, transcripts of meetings, drafts of articles, and several photographs. Various printed materials can also be found, including government documents, press clippings, journals, brochures, press releases, pamphlets, and journal articles.

General Papers, the first subgroup in Alexander's papers, consists of two series. Alexander's GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE (1954-1955 and 1963-1979) is composed largely of personal correspondence with persons he knew at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for the period from 1963 to 1969. After his retirement from the Agency, the correspondence also deals largely with personal matters: letters to and from family and friends, invitations to social events and letters pertaining to financial concerns. The material in Alexander's GENERAL FILE (1939, 1948, 1953 and 1961-1979) largely relates to his involvement in public service organizations and educational institutions. Alexander was associated with the Citizens' Research Foundation until his death in 1979. Founded in 1958, this organization works to further research in the areas of political finance and election reform. The documents also deal with Alexander's involvement in organizations such as the American Assembly, an educational association which sponsors regional, state and municipal meetings on public issues, the World Federalists Association, an organization devoted to curbing the arms race, the American Bar Association's Arms Control and Disarmament Committee, and the Task Force for the Nuclear Test Ban. Papers dealing with Alexander's association with Princeton and Drew Universities and with Princeton Theological Seminary are also found in this series.

Papers and organizational records documenting Alexander's activities with the Arms Control Association, which comprise the second subgroup, date from 1970 until his death. Dedicated to promoting public understanding of effective arms control policies, the Association pursues its objectives through publications, public education and research. This subgroup contains three series: MINUTES (1971-1978), CORRESPONDENCE (1973-1979) and a GENERAL FILE (1970-1978).

Alexander was involved with the establishment of the Gateway National Recreation Area from 1969 until 1978, but the documents in the third subgroup, for the Gateway National Recreation Area Advisory Commission, pertain only to the years 1975 to 1978. The TRANSCRIPTS OF MEETINGS for the Advisory Commission date from 1975 to 1977, but are not complete within those dates. The Advisory Commission and the Gateway Citizens Committee both produced reports, memoranda and other documents. Along with correspondence, these materials are included in the series WORKING PAPERS AND CORRESPONDENCE. (Government documents pertaining to New Jersey have been removed from this series and placed in the Sinclair New Jersey Collection.)

Although Alexander's involvement with Rutgers University, the focus of the last subgroup, dates from 1954, the only relevant documents in his papers date from 1970 to 1979. The material in the series CORRESPONDENCE (1972-1977) primarily relates to social events and programs connected with the University. Alexander's Rutgers University GENERAL FILE (1970-1979) contains documents relating to his involvement with the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees, the Rutgers University Foundation, the Friends of the Rutgers University Libraries and other groups. (Copies of minutes of meetings of the Board of Governors, Board of Trustees and Board of Overseers of the Foundation have been removed from this series and placed in the University Archives.) The GENERAL FILE also contains correspondence and University documents, 1970-1972, relating to the question of whether or not to grant college credit for Reserve Officers' Training Corps courses.


4.5 Cubic Feet (4 cartons, 2 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The subgroup "Rutgers University Papers" is restricted. The remainder of this manuscript collection carries no restrictions.


A lawyer and government official of Bernardsville, Somerset County, New Jersey, Archibald S. Alexander was graduated from Princeton University in 1928 and received a law degree from Harvard University in 1931. He worked for a New York City law firm until 1949, rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, served as Assistant Secretary of the Army, 1949-1950, and as Under Secretary of the Army, 1950-1952. Among his other activities, he was president of the Free Europe Committee, 1959-1963, before working for the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1963-1969, as its assistant director. Alexander's papers primarily relate to his involvement, after his retirement, with arms control groups, educational institutions and public service organizations, but also include scattered earlier documentation. Included are correspondence, agendas and minutes, budgets, drafts of articles, working papers and reports, memoranda, transcripts of meetings, press clippings, photographs, printed matter, and other papers. The several organizations most heavily represented are the Arms Control Association, Citizens' Research Foundation, Gateway National Recreation Area Advisory Commission and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Biographical Sketch

Archibald Stevens Alexander (1906-1979) was born in New York City. He received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1928 and a law degree from Harvard in 1931. Upon graduation from law school, he joined the firm of Carter, Ledyard and Millburn in New York City; he was a partner with the law firm from 1940 to 1949. During World War II, Alexander served in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was Assistant Secretary of the Army from 1949 to 1950 and Under Secretary from 1950 to 1952. In both 1948 and 1952, Alexander was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from New Jersey. From 1954 to 1955 he served as Treasurer of the State of New Jersey. During 1956 Alexander was Director of Volunteers for Stevenson-Kefauver. From 1959 to 1963, he served as President of the Free Europe Committee. Alexander returned to Washington, D.C., when he was appointed Assistant Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in 1963. He remained at that post until 1969.

Alexander devoted a great deal of his time to public service and held a number of posts in associations and educational institutions. He was a member of the board of directors of the Citizens' Research Foundation from 1965 until he died and actively participated in its efforts to study and reform political campaign financing. From 1971 until his death, he was president of the Arms Control Association, an organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of effective policies and programs in national arms control and disarmament. Committed to the reduction of nuclear arms, Alexander was also a member of the American Bar Association's Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, and in 1977 was appointed chair of the subcommittee on Foreign Military Aid and Arms Sales Limitations.

In addition to matters of international scope, Alexander was involved in the affairs of his region and state. He was a member of the Gateway Citizens Committee, which was affiliated with the Regional Plan Association, from 1969 until 1975 (and served at least some years as its Co-Chair from New Jersey). Briefly in 1975, and again from 1976 to 1978 (during the latter period as Vice-Chair), he served as a member of the Gateway National Recreation Area Advisory Commission. Among the state commissions on which he served were the New Jersey Tax Policy Commission (1955? to 1963) and the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (1975 to 1979). Active in community affairs, Alexander also served at one time on the Bernardsville Borough Council and on its Board of Education.

Alexander's involvement with Rutgers University began in 1954 when he became a Public Trustee by virtue of his appointment as State Treasurer. He resigned as a Trustee in late 1955, but was appointed to the newly created Board of Governors in 1956, in which year he was also inducted as a Public Trustee. Alexander served on both the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees until 1973; he was chair of the Board of Governors from 1959 to 1963 and again from 1971 to 1973. Alexander was a member of the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Overseers from 1975 until his death and was also president of the Friends of the Rutgers University Libraries from 1975 until he died. In 1973 the Board of Governors named the central university library in his honor.

A descendant of both the Rev. Archibald Alexander and the Stevens family of New Jersey, Alexander married Susanne Dimock Tilton (d. 1935) in 1929 and Jean Struthers Sears (1907-1983) in 1937. He died at his home in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and was survived by his wife and five children.

Inventory to the Archibald S. Alexander Papers
Edited Full Draft
Glen Bencivengo
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.