Alexander, James Minor (1867–1954)

By: Katharyn Duff

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

James Minor Alexander, builder and physician, was born on September 18, 1867, in Spring Hill, Tennessee, to James Franklin and Elizabeth (Minor) Alexander. He attended the Kentucky School of Medicine and graduated with honors in 1889 from Louisville Medical College. Later he did postgraduate work in New York, at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and in 1913 in hospitals in London, Paris, Rome, Naples, and Berlin. In 1889 he moved to Victoria, Texas, then to Abilene, where he started a practice.

He opened Alexander Sanitarium, a hospital with eighteen beds, on June 1, 1904, in a two-story frame building. In 1918 he converted the structure into a school for nurses and moved his hospital into an adjacent three-story brick building with forty beds. He was joined in his Abilene practice by his brother, Dr. Sydney McLemore Alexander. Jim Alexander was credited with many medical firsts in West Texas, including the first Caesarean operation and the first two complete hysterectomies. He installed Abilene's first X-ray equipment. He closed his sanitarium in 1934 to join the staff of Hendrick Medical Center, where he later became chief of staff. He was a member of the Taylor-Jones County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association, and the American Medical Association.

In 1925 he constructed the Alexander Building, then the tallest building in Abilene. That same year he established the Alexander Trust Estate, which placed most of his holdings in the names of his children. After his medical career was established, he acquired ranchland in Jones, Stonewall, King, Knox, and Shackelford counties. His ranching operations continued through his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was married twice, first to Madge Quarles, then to Anna Lee Burnes. He retired from medical practice in 1949 and died on November 10, 1954. He was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Abilene.

Abilene Reporter-News, November 27, 1950, November 11, 1954, April 8, 1956. Hugh E. Cosby, The History of Abilene (Abilene, Texas, 1955). Katharyn Duff and Betty Kay Seibt, Catclaw Country: An Informal History of Abilene in West Texas (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1980).
  • Architecture
  • Architects
  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Katharyn Duff, “Alexander, James Minor,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

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