Katharyn Duff

ALEXANDER, JAMES MINOR (1867–1954). 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).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Katharyn Duff, "ALEXANDER, JAMES MINOR," accessed July 19, 2019,

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox