ALEXANDER, ARCHIBALD (1772-1851), American Presbyterian divine, was born, of Scottish-Irish descent, in that part of Augusta county which is now Rockbridge county, Virginia, on the 17th of April 1772. After completing his preliminary education in the little school at Lexington, Virginia, which later developed into Washington and Lee University, he came under the influence of the religious movement known as the "great revival" (1789-1790) and devoted himself to the study of theology. Licensed to preach in 1791, he was engaged for several years as an itinerant Presbyterian preacher in his native state, and acquired during this period the facility in extemporaneous speaking for which he was remarkable. He was president of Hampden-Sidney College from 1796 to 1807, with a short intermission (in 1801-1802), and in 1807 became pastor of Pine Street Church, Philadelphia. In 1812 he became first professor in the newly established Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, where he remained until his death at Princeton on the 22nd of October 1851, filling successively the chairs of didactic and polemic theology (1812-1840), and pastoral and polemic theology (1840-1851). He married, in 1802, Janetta Waddel, the daughter of the celebrated blind preacher, James Waddel (1739-1805), whose eloquence was described in William Wirt's Letters of a British Spy (1803). Dr Alexander wrote a considerable number of theological works, which had a large circulation. Among these may be mentioned his Brief Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion (1825), which passed through several editions, and was translated into various languages; The Canon of the Old and New Testament Ascertained; or the Bible Complete without the Apocrypha and Unwritten Traditions (1826); A History of the Israelitish Nation (1852), and Outlines of Moral Science (1852), the last two being published posthumously.
See the biography (New York, 1854) by his son James W. Alexander.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)