Collection ID: MSS014
Printable View Printable View

Collection context


Alexander, Anna Margaret Ross, 1913-1995
Anna Margaret Ross Alexander (1913-1995) was an Indianapolis civic leader, and member and president of the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1966-1970 during the period when desegregation, integration of the teaching staff, and busing was initiated. Mrs. Alexander was an active member in diverse civic organizations, but the records collected mainly reflect her tenure on the School Board.
0.4 cubic feet (1 document box)
Materials are in English .
Preferred citation:

Cite as: Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Papers, 1955-1994, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, University Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.


Biographical / Historical:

Anna Margaret Ross Alexander (1913-1995) was born in Lafayette, Indiana but lived most of her adult life in Indianapolis. She graduated from Jefferson High School in Lafayette, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1935, and an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Purdue University in 1986.

In 1935, she married John A. Alexander, whom she met at Purdue University. Her husband became a corporate lawyer, with Krieg, DeVault, Alexander and Capehart located in Indianapolis. They had two sons, David Linn and Stephen Ross Alexander.

Mrs. Alexander became involved with the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and was President of the PTA of School #80, and of the Broad Ripple High School PTA. She expressed her interest in federal aid to schools, only if it would be economically advantageous. She was concerned about the reading ability of school pupils, about the home influence, and lack of religious training of many school children. Eventually she was elected to the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners and served from 1966-1970 and was its president in 1970. During her tenure, instructional TV and hot school lunches were instituted in all elementary schools in the IPS system, and the conflict with the U.S. Department of Justice over desegregation plans was the major issue. In this same period, she also served three years on the Marion County Tax Review Board, representing all of the school systems in Marion County.

Over the years she was a member and leader of numerous civic organizations including the following:

Alpha Mu Latreian Service Organization Children's Museum Christamore House Board Community Centers of Indianapolis Community Chest (later United Way) Connor Prairie Farm Contemporary Club Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Honorary Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana Indiana Federation of Clubs, GFWC, 7th District Indiana State Symphony Society Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners Indianapolis Museum of Art John Purdue Club Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority Alumnae Association Marion County Mental Health Board Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center Morris Butler House Mother's March of Dimes for Polio Mental Health Gift Lift Mental Health National Convention, Indianapolis Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Purdue Alumni Association and Purdue President's Council Purdue Centennial Drive, Marion County Purdue Women of Indianapolis St. Paul's Episcopal Church Honors:

1968 Theta Sigma Phi (now Women in Communications) TSP Award 1970 Theta Sigma Phi Woman of the Year Award 1984 Purdue Citizenship Award 1986 Doctor of Humane Letters from Purdue University 1990 Kappa Alpha Theta Twin Star Award

Scope and Content:

The papers of Anna Margaret Ross Alexander contain newspaper clippings and speeches largely documenting her activities with the Indianapolis Public Schools.

The Newspaper Clippings, 1964-1994, consist of four scrapbooks and a folder of newspaper clippings documenting the many civic organizations and school board issues during her time as a board member. The scrapbooks and clippings are arranged chronologically. Issues highlighted in the clippings from local newspapers include:

1964-1965 IPS school board election Defacto desegregation and protest by CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) re: plans to obtain racial balance at Shortridge and other city high schools

1966-1968 School board activities Vocational and special education programs Busing Educational TV Reassignment of teachers for integration purposes, especially at Shortridge, Attucks and Broad Ripple High Schools Action on the Kerner Report ( National Advisory Commission on Civic Disorders) First graduation at IVY Tech Computers introduced to schools

1968 Indianapolis School Board study of school boundaries and removal of temporary classrooms Petition for the injunction against the school system by US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, (because of the finding of racial discrimination) was filed in Judge Dillon's Federal Court on June 1, 1968.

1969 Election of Alexander to the Presidency of the Indianapolis School Board over the Reverend Landrum Shields, the former Vice-President Highlights of teachers contract negotiations, desegregation of Crispus Attucks High School Introduction of the Middle School concept (6th, 7th and 8th grade) instead of Junior High School Hot lunch program Teachers wage dispute and further contract negotiations

1969-1970 Presidency of the school board Teacher transfers Phase-out of the present building of Crispus Attucks High School and plans for construction at a new location Academic programs at Shortridge High School Sale of Tudor Hall school building on Cold Springs Road after the merger with Park School into Park-Tudor School at North College Avenue

Speeches, 1970-1971, consist of Mrs. Alexander's speech at the end of her presidency of the School Board on June 24, 1970 and a speech delivered on April 26, 1971 about school integration. In this last speech she urged the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners to turn down the school busing program for desegregation purposes, in answer to the Supreme Court decision in the Charlotte, North Carolina case.

Acquisition information:
Presented by Stephen R. Alexander, Indianapolis, Indiana, August 18,1995. A95-47.
Rules or conventions:
DACS-Describing Archives: A Content Standard
General note:

Rights Statement: The text of this webpage is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).



This collection is open to the public without restriction.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.


Cite as: Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Papers, 1955-1994, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, University Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

University Library
755 West Michigan Street
Room 0133
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, United States