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Archibald_Alexander

Archibald Alexander

Archibald Alexander (April 17, 1772October 22, 1851) was an American Presbyterian theologian and professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary. He served for 27 years as that institution's first principal from 1812 to 1840.

Biography

Alexander was born at South River, Rockbridge, Virginia, and raised under the tuition and ministry of Presbyterian minister William Graham (1745-1799), a man who had been trained in theology by John Witherspoon. His grandfather, of Scottish descent, came from Ireland to Pennsylvania in 1736, and after a residence of two years removed to Virginia. William, father of Archibald, was a farmer and trader. At the age of ten Archibald was sent to the academy of William Graham at Timber Ridge meetinghouse (since developed into Washington and Lee University), at Lexington. At the age of seventeen he became a tutor in the fatally of General John Posey, of The Wilderness, twelve miles west of Fredericksburg, but after a few months resumed his studies with his former teacher. At this time a remarkable movement, still spoken of as "the great revival," influenced his mind and he turned his attention to the study of divinity. He was licensed to preach October 1, 1791, ordained by the presbytery of Hanover 9 June 1794, and for seven years was an itinerant pastor in Charlotte and Prince Edward

By the time he was 21 Alexander was a preacher of the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed the president of Hampden-Sydney College and from there was called to the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. The Princeton Theological Seminary was established at Princeton, New Jersey in 1812 and Alexander was appointed its first professor, inaugurated on August 12, 1812. In 1824, he helped to found the Chi Phi Society along with Robert Baird and Charles Hodge.

Samuel Miller became the second professor at the seminary and for 37 years Alexander and Miller were considered together as pillars of the Presbyterian Church in maintaining its doctrines. Charles Hodge, a famous student and successor of Alexander, named his son Archibald Alexander Hodge after his mentor.

His eldest son, James Waddel Alexander (1804-1859) was a Princeton graduate and Presbyterian minister. He wrote the life of his father, and edited his posthumous works.

His grandson, William Alexander, was an executive with Equitable Life Assurance Society, author, and founder of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

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